10 best iPad reference apps

by Ray Aguilera

January 1 2013

Keep a reference library with you at all times with these smart App Store options.

Ray Aguilera is a freelance writer and editor in San Francisco, CA.
  • 1 Wolfram Alpha
    Slide 1

    Wolfram Alpha feels a bit like those omnipotent computers from science fiction movies. Using computational algorithms, Wolfram Alpha can calculate complex mathematical problems, perform data analysis, and look up tons of scientific data. If you have a question, chances are Wolfram Alpha can find an answer.

  • 2 The Elements
    Slide 2
    The Elements

    The Elements is a wonderfully visual way to reference the periodic table. The app allows users to view 360 degree images of certain materials, as well as all kinds of facts and figures. Elements can even track the latest price of materials on the market.

  • 3 TED
    Slide 3

    The annual TED (Technology, Education, Design) conference attracts thought-leaders across a wide spectrum of expertise. The TED app is a standout, showcasing TED talks from a huge variety of presenters. Browse the videos by subject, and download capabilities let you watch video offline.

  • 4 iBooks
    Slide 4

    iBooks often gets overlooked, but for sheer ease of use, it's a great app for finding, buying, and organizing reference material. You can buy content from iTunes, of course, but iBooks also lets you create and load your own collections of documents, making iBooks the perfect place to stash manuals, marketing materials, and other info you'll need on the go.

  • 5 Kindle
    Slide 5

    Amazon's Kindle app gives you access to everything in the Kindle store, including tons of books and periodicals. It also syncs with your Amazon account, so you can access your entire Kindle library. The Send To Kindle feature is also a great way to quickly email articles and large documents to your iPad.

  • 6 Evernote
    Slide 6

    Evernote is sort of like your outboard brain. Use it to store webpages, notes, photos, and more in the cloud. Folders and tags can help you stay organized, and Evernote's super-fast searching can drill down through all your data and find just what you're looking for. Using optical character recognition, Evernote can even find text in photographs and other images.

  • 7 iTranslate
    Slide 7

    iTranslate can handle translations for up to 50 different languages, and switching between them is as easy as tapping on a flag. It will also speak out loud, to help you learn unfamiliar pronunciations.

  • 8 Terminology
    Slide 8

    Terminology bills itself as a way to explore the English language. For marketers, copywriters, or anyone else who produces content Terminology is a dictionary and thesaurus on steroids. Keep track of recent searches, and use wildcard searches to find just the words you're looking for.

  • 9 XE Currency
    Slide 9

    XE Currency constantly updates its rates every minute, or you can use the most recent rate in offline mode. There are also charts for tracking historical rate data.

  • 10 Articles for iPad
    Slide 10
    Articles for iPad

    The Encyclopedia Britannica people probably don't like it, but Wikipedia's crowd-sourced knowledge has become the de facto standard. Articles offers a beautiful interface for Wikipedia with simple navigation, and customization options that the web interface can't match.


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