This week's lineup of new iPad apps includes a significant upgrade to the Quip collaborative word processor; Next, a nifty app for managing your expenses; and the Fit Brains: Logic Trainer app designed to improve your problem solving skills.
Quip is for mobile collaboration
In the week that Microsoft finally decided to roll-out Office for iPad (albeit with a massive caveat that most capabilities are afforded only to Office 365 subscribers), we decided to focus on the update of one productivity app that’s really shone over the last year.
Quip, which was launched back in August by former Google engineer Kevin Gibbs and ex-Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, has gathered positive reviews and for good reason.
Yes, the app lets users edit documents but with the huge bonus that it enables multiple users work on documents at the same time. You can get a real-time view of what changes have been, while the informative messager add-on is crucial to communicating with your co-workers.
Updated this week to version 1.7, Quip now adds a number of useful features, including the opportunity to ‘like’ messages and edits, highlight and add comments about specific parts of the document and restore old versions of a file – which could be important if errors have been made. Furthermore, Quip allows users to choose between five new professional themes and claims to have made the app faster in general.
The rest of the app is a cut-above too. There were limited sharing and conventional editing tools after launch, but the former has improved significantly (you can send links to documents via Twitter and Google Chrome, convert a file into PDF, and print to compatible printers, as well as import from Dropbox or Evernote accounts), while it’s navigation stands out with a split-screen view between folders and documents.
You might prefer Office, Quickoffice, CloudOn or iWork for personal document editing but few beat Quip for mobile collaboration (Quip is also available on iPhone and Android).
Next for iPad simplifies expense management
Tracking expenses is a bane, complete with paper receipts and cumbersome enterprise systems.
More recently there’s been a surge in iOS expenses apps, such as Readdle’s Scanner Pro, Expensify and Spendee, and the Next for iPad is the latest to join the group, and it promises some excellent features.
More notable of all is the ability for you to sync expenses across iOS by syncing via iCloud (meaning you could add expenses on the iPhone, or continue editing on the iPad), or to export data to Microsoft Excel and Numbers. You can further back-up your reports by email, AirDrop or iMessage.
Inputting expenses is simple and fast, and you can edit and delete expense entries across multiple categories at any time.
The developer claims it to have an ‘elegant interface’ although this is a slight exaggeration . Yes, data is split up into in a grid-like format and bar chart, but it’s not overly clear to see where your spending is going. In this respect, other apps certainly fare better in presenting a visual spending overview.
But Next for iPad is still a useful and inexpensive tool ($1.99, iTunes) which lets you dive down into spend by category and by yearly data.
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Improve problem solving with Fit Brains: Logic Trainer
There’s a ton of brain training apps on the iPad, and my experience is that the vast majority of these are excellent, often engaging and not a drain on your time. Good examples include Lumosity, Brainscape and Dots.
The latest addition is Fit Brains: Logic Trainer, which comes from Rosetta Stone – well-known for their online language courses.
The app (free, iTunes) is designed to improve your problem solving, logic thinking, ‘mental flexibility’ and more specific things like working memory, abstraction and observational skills. Like many other competitors in the market, it does by gamification – testing your knowledge through a series of games, as basic as rock paper scissors, visual Sudoku.
Created by neurologist Dr Paul Nussbaum – the same man behind the widely-acclaimed Fit Brains Trainer and Fit Brains Kids - he app enables users to set daily reminders, track performance over time and upgrade for more features by paying for a subscription to Fit Brains Pro (packages vary from three months to a lifetime membership).
In truth, the user experience – and overall feel – of the app is very similar to Fit Brains Trainer, meaning that regular users may end up swaying to preferred apps purely on which games they are after.
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