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Best New iPad Apps: Share articles, edit Office documents, annotate PDFs with Skitch & collaborate with colleagues

by Doug Drinkwater

April 19 2013

Pocket aims to make reading a social experience

Read-it-later service Pocket celebrated it being one year from re-branding from Read It Later this week by pushing out a new update for its iOS app.

The biggest new feature from the update is the redesigned share tool which, as well as offering options for sending to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote or LinkedIn, now allows you to 'Send to a Friend'.

With the user interface largely unchanged, you will use the social sharing feature as you would before; by hitting the share icon in the top right-hand corner. The only difference now is the presence of the ‘Send to a Friend’ option.

On tapping this option, you’ll be presented with an email-like screen with text entry fields for recipients email addresses, a message and the content you are sharing. When using the feature for the first time you will be asked to set up a quick profile (first name, last name and picture). The share menu handily shows the friends you’ve most recently sent links to.

The social sharing feature does work two-ways, so that you can also receive articles from your Pocket-using friends. On receiving an item, you’ll be alerted by an internal ‘email’. Alternatively, you can enable push notifications within the app.

Pocket is free to download from the App Store.

hopTo makes your iPad an extension of your PC

Released on the quiet this week was a new iPad app called hopTo, and it’s certainly worth having a go with if you want to view and edit your PC files on the fly.

The app, which is currently in a public beta, works pretty simply – on downloading and opening the app, you are asked to create an account, verify the account by email and then download the hopTo software to your PC (there are options for different versions of Windows – I ran 64-bit on Windows 8).

You’ll be asked to reboot your PC but on doing this, and on signing in to your account on desktop and iPad, you'll be transported to a virtual workspace when using your iPad.

This workspace shows documents on your PC as well as favorite folders, like ‘My Documents’, ‘My Pictures’ and apps from cloud storage providers Box and Dropbox.

Crucially, finding your way around hopTo is a painless task. You view a file by simply tapping on it and sharing is possible by long-pressing on the file.

Creating Word and Excel documents is also relatively trouble-free, even if the user interface leaves a little to be desired.

There are options for adjusting the font type, font and other formatting issues with the toolbar on the bottom, and you can save a file by holding down on the file name at the top of the screen. Less impressive though was the lack of auto-correction, and I also had the occasional issue trying to delete the first few words of a document. 

HopTo for iPad is now available for free on the App Store and is expected to come soon for iPhone and Android.

Skitch now allows you to annotate and share PDFs

Evernote’s free image editing app Skitch was updated this week and now allows users to annotate and share PDFs with other Skitch users.

The app, which is available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, can be downloaded from the App Store for free, although those looking to take advantage of this new feature will need to be premium users. Users of the free app can try out the premium version for 30 days without charge, however.  

Skitch 2.5 also introduces a neat ‘stamps’ feature for quickly approving, rejecting or calling attention to certain parts of an image.                                                             

Use Kona to collaborate and communicate with your enterprise team

Kona is a handy enterprise-grade iPad app that I was alerted to in the last week, and is definitely worth taking a look at if you’re looking to improve business collaboration.

The cloud-based Kona works across desktop and mobile devices (iPad, iPhone and Android) and revolves around ‘spaces’, which are essentially virtual rooms for groups to organize, discuss and generally get things done.

For example, using the bottom right toolbar on the iPad app (or left-hand tool bar on the desktop version), you could populate one of these spaces, which can be made private or public, with a conversion, task or event. You can also share work calendars and files.

Users can assign these spaces as ‘work’ or ‘personal’, add people into the conversation and get a full history of personal and group conversations.

Furthermore, Kona users can even set which people gets notified on to-do tasks, a useful tool if you want to make sure only the right people see certain documents.

Kona Mobile is free on the App Store and on Google Play. You’ll need to register for a desktop Kona account, but this is also free of charge.

Doug Drinkwater is the International Editor of TabTimes and is based in London, England.

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