Best New iPad Apps: Make great presentations, quickly find documents and websites & train your brain

January 25, 2013

Haiku Deck can help you deliver slick presentations

Haiku Deck isn’t a new app — it’s been out since August of last year — but it is something we were alerted to recently and thought we’d check out. We were subsequently pretty impressed.

Haiku Deck is yet another iPad presentation app, but in fairness it delivers much more than that. Users can make really stylish and professional slides in a matter of seconds, send these out quickly to Facebook, Twitter and email. It's also free (iTunes), which is always nice.

On opening the app and creating the first deck, Haiku Deck asks users to enter text for their first slide, add images and adjust the theme and layout of the text.

One neat feature of the app is that text will automatically adjust in size, depending on how much has been written, while the selection of free and paid-for (via an in-app purchase) themes are really quite striking. Indeed, you don’t need to worry about ‘Death by PowerPoint’ by Haiku Deck.

Importing images from the web or uploading your own is easy and takes a matter of seconds, as does adding new pages or sharing out presentations.  You can preview the deck at any second with the play button, although there doesn’t appear to be a self-play mode for the slides to run by themselves.

Presentations can be viewed on any web-friendly computer, tablet or phone.

Urgently looking for a file? CloudMagic can help you out

Promising “a better life with every search” is CloudMagic, an iPad app which aims to help you discover lost documents, pictures and more faster than before

With support for Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, SkyDrive and more, CloudMagic essentially brings all your content together to one landing page.

On signing up, there are options for a free or paid-for account, with the former giving you 50 “previews” per month. These previews, unlimited on CloudMagic Pro, give a snapshot of each result and let you take actions on data without leaving the app. For example, you could replace to a Gmail message within CloudMagic.

The app (free, iTunes) won’t do everything you want in supporting apps. For instance, Evernote users will be able to create notes, notebooks and tags, but won’t be able to delete any of these or update their user account information from within CloudMagic.

Nonetheless, the CloudMagic UI is slick and easy to comprehend. A toolbar on the left indicates options for your most recent messages, contacts, files and documents, social networking updates and events.

If all of that seems too messy, then it is possible to filter down by section (Messages, People, Files and Docs, Posts and Updates, Events) and even further. As another example, you could decide to file the Files and Docs folder, and then decide that you only want to view files from Box.

The icing on the cake for CloudMagic is that searching is not only simple but really very fast. Users just have to hit the search button and results are returned across all platforms in a matter of seconds.

Fit Brains Trainer gets you thinking clearly

Keeping your brain engaged often requires more than the odd game of Sudoku or Chess, and aiming to make that process more fun is the Fit Brains Trainer app (free, iTunes).

Based on a scientifically-designed brain training program, Fit Brains Trainer aims to give your brain a “full workout” through 60 different tests and 30 different brain games, which have been played more than 75 million times according to the developer.

These test everything from short-term memory and problem solving to reaction times and spatial awareness. Such tests involve things like pairing up shapes and weighing up which box has a greater value of coins, games which prove to be fun as well as useful.

The app is free but an in-app purchasing model means you can spend up to $9.99 on an annual subscription to the Pro model, which gives you a greater array of games.

And arguably as useful as the games are, a dashboard in the app gives you a clue of how you’ve progressed in recent times and can even compare your results against people of the same age and gender.

Discover great content on the web with Futureful

Safari on iPad has never been much use when it comes to find great new content on the web, but aiming to fill that void is Finnish start-up Futureful. Backed by no other than Skype co-founder Janus Friis, the firm launched a new iPad app for U.S. users this week.

It’s hard to figure out if this app is a browser or a personalized news reader like Zite. Either way, it’s certainly not your conventional browser, with two rows of tags replacing the conventional URL browser at the top of the screen.

The first of these takes information in from your Facebook and Twitter profiles and serves up content it thinks that you will like. You can then dive into these subjects to refine them if you feel the desire to drilldown on your favorite interests.

The second bar is a little less clear, although its purpose does appear to be on housing some of the tags that you’ve selected from the first tag screen.

Futureful (free, iTunes) is a fun and intriguing way of introducing you to content you may not see elsewhere. It is, however, not always the easiest app to use, so it’s worth spending some time to learn the user interface, but hopefully this is something that improves over time.


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