Choosing an App
One of the questions I’m asked most often is, “How do I know which word processing (or PDF annotating/organizing, or etc.) app to buy?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t an easy one. I suggest that you consider the following:
1. VGA compatibility: Not all apps will project out through the projectors in the multimedia rooms on campus. You must find an app that is described in the app store or appshopper.com as having “support for VGA out adapter” or something similar. Is this language always easy to find in an app description? Nope.
2. Compatibility with your favorite apps: Dropbox and Evernote are both file storage and sharing apps (this is an over-simplification, Evernote has many other capabilities, which I won’t get into here). You will discover that some apps have direct links to other apps. For example, QuickOffice, the word processing program I use most often, has direct links to Dropbox, Google docs, and other external storage spaces. Pages, which has VGA support, does not have direct links to Dropbox or Google docs. It does have direct links to other external storage spaces, I just don’t use any of them. As I’m unlikely to need VGA compatibility for my word processing program, I don’t often use Pages.
3. App functionality: Know what you need from an app, then look for those qualities in the app description in the App Store (or on appshopper.com or the appshopper app) before you buy. DocsToGo, for example, another word processing app, seems to handle encrypted Excel files well.
4. Bugginess and interface: Look at the ratings for the apps in the App Store to find out whether an app is prone to crashing. And be sure that you’re looking at the ratings for the most recent version of the app. Also look at the pictures of the app interface at the bottom of the app description in the App Store. Given a set of comparable apps, interface will likely determine which you will buy.
5. Online and offline apps: If you have not enabled the 3G on your iPad, you’ll need to consider which apps require wi-fi and which do not. And some apps require wi-fi even if you have enabled the 3G (these tend to be data heavy apps, such as Netflix).
Let me know in the comments what other factors influence your purchase of apps.