In this latest edition of Best New iPad Apps, we test Fantastical 2, Adobe Lightroom and DataMan Pro.
Organize your schedule with Fantastical 2
There are plenty of iOS calendar apps out there, but while most are limited in design and functionality, that’s certainly not true of Fantastical 2.
Available now on the App Store for $6.99, Fantastical 2 tears up the rule book on what a tablet calendar should look like. Instead of opting for either large data boxes or list views, the app brings both together in a pretty sharp “dashboard view”.
It may look, initially, like there’s too much information packaged onto one screen. There’s the DayTicker, a half-screen week view, and a full-screen week view. To the left, all activities are listed including reminders – and you can neatly scroll these manually or just peruse them as you scroll through the weekly view.
However, while the view is busy and fast, where Fantastical 2 – already a favourite on iPhone – comes into its own is on its natural language processing, search, and integration with other services.
For example, type an activity or reminder for ‘Saturday’ and the entry will automatically appear in your calendar on the desired day. Search is also very good – you can search by title, location or invitees, and there’s the chance to call, email or message meeting invitees right out the app.
Where Fantastical 2 scores highly against other calendar apps is that it fluidly exports with other web services. For example, events with addresses will display a map, showing you where to go, and you can send messages by text, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or email. There’s option for opening links in Google Chrome, or opening directions in Google Maps.
Adding new events is as easy as tapping and holding on a date, while there’s a tight integration with iOS notifications. The app has its own notifications too and neatly takes advantage of geofencing to send a reminder when near a certain location.
Fantastical 2 works with calendar services you already have on iOS, such as iCloud, Google Calendar, Yahoo and Microsoft Exchange.
(Tablets 2.0, how tablets are being used for more than consumption but also productivity, is a major theme of the Tablet Strategy conference coming to New York on May 6, 2014. If you are involved in a tablet project, you may be eligible for a free pass. Check conditions that apply on our registration page.)
Share and edit photos with Adobe Lightroom
Adobe finally brought Lightroom, its professional photo editing software, to the iPad this week. A favorite on the desktop, the new Lightroom mobile companion app is for editing photos and syncs image adjustments between your iPad and desktop computer.
The app is free but you’ll need a subscription to one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud options. Alternatively, you can have a paid subscription to Adobe’s Photoshop Photography Program, which costs $9.99 per month.
As you’d expect, it doesn’t come with all the desktop features but there’s more than enough to get you going. The Basic Panel adjustments offer some of the main tools on the desktop version, while you can use white balance, exposure, contrast, highlight and shadow control via the slider interface.
The touch controls are really simply to use - and easy to use for toggling tools and bringing up metadata - while the app can import images from the iPad's Camera Roll and sync them back to Lightroom desktop.
The key question you’re going to ask now is how does the iPad handle the big RAW files? Thankfully, this is something that Adobe has already thought of. With its Smart Preview feature, the size is 2-3 percent of the original, allowing users to work on them while retaining the properties of the original.
Check your 3G or 4G data usage with DataMan Pro
If you’re taking your cellular iPad out on the road, there’s a good chance that there will be occasions you use your tablet when you’re away from Wi-Fi.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to check your data usage and you can do that with the acclaimed DataMan Pro for iPad app, available for $4.99.
The app lets you know when, where and how you’ve used data on an hourly and daily basis – even splitting usage down by apps- and details all this in a clean and easy-to-digest user interface.
Now on version 8.2, a change which brought about landscape support for the iPad and a ‘shake’ gesture to return to the Today view, the app shows usage alerts in the Notification Center and via Smart Forecast, can predict if you’ll stay within your data cap.
It even maps where you used the data, supports all data plans from all carriers and requires no VPN or log-in.