Steve’s Essential Apps

Below is a list of my most-used iPad applications. These are not all legal-specific apps, but they all help with my productivity. Please feel free to email if you have questions about these apps. I will do my best to update this list on at least a quarterly basis, but the prices are only based on App Store information on March 12, 2014.

Steve's iPad Home Screen

  • Google Chrome (free iPad/iPhone) – This is the first app I download on any new mobile device. I use it in place of Safari because it syncs information between all of my devices, and keeps a consistent user interface that I am used to.
  • Mail (free pre-installed iPad/iPhone) – I still use the built-in mail app for viewing and responding to most of my email. I like the consistency of using the same interface for accessing all my accounts, and to honest it is just easy and simple to use. This is probably the app that I use most often. I access my corporate account using the built-in Mail app, and I also use it for accessing Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook email so that I don’t have to use a different app for each account.
  • Newsify (free iPad/iPhone) – This is a RSS Reader app. For those that are not familiar with RSS, most blogs (including this one) are available as an RSS subscription. This means that you are able to access information from websites that you follow without directly opening the site. I use Newsify to view RSS feeds that I follow using a web service called Feedly. I like Newsify because it presents articles in scrollable newspaper type format.
  • Slacker Radio (free iPad/iPhone, subscription for Ad-Free listening)- I cannot accomplish anything without music playing in the background. Although I have a huge library of music that I own, it is much too tedious to make my own playlist. I subscribe to Slacker because of the size of music library, because I have an option of getting ABC News headlines played every hour, and because they have options to create  your own station or listen to pre-programmed stations. It also uses much less bandwidth than competing services like iTUnes Radio, Spotify, and Pandora.
  • TiVo Remote (free iPad/iPhone, requires TiVo) – When you work long hours, you have to have a way to relax and unwind when not at work. I own several TiVo’s and the TiVo remote lets me schedule and manage my recordings. The app will also control my TiVo when I am home. In addition to scheduling recordings, the iOS version also allows me to remotely stream shows I have recorded on my TiVo.
  • Audible/Kindle (free iPhone/iPad, content purchased through Amazon Web Interface) – both apps that are offered by Amazon. Although you cannot purchase books through either app, they both let you access your previously purchased materials. They sync your purchases between devices, and allow you start listening or reading on one device, and finish on another. Additional books can be purchased using Safari or Chrome to access the Amazon or Audible website.
  • Google Maps (free iPad/iPhone) – although Apple has a very good Maps product, I am more used to using the Google alternative. I use this to search for addresses before traveling, for directions when traveling, and more importantly for finding dining options when I am away from home. I like using Google Maps because it also syncs my searches across devices and quickly brings up favorite locations.
  • Amazon (free iPad/iPhone) – I have an Amazon Prime membership, which means that almost all my online shopping is done through Amazon. I like to use the app because it is formated for iPad and it is easier to navigate than using Amazon through the web browser.
  • Dropbox (free iPad/iPhone, 2GB for free, more storage available for purchase) – Although I am concerned about using this for confidential materials, Dropbox is great for sharing non-client materials between devices. In addition to the convenience of having documents available to me without necessarily wasting space of the device, DropBox has built-in viewers for most document types.
  • iPhoto (iPad/iPhone, free with new iOS device purchase, $4.99 for owners of device before iOS 7)/Snapseed (free iPad/iPhone) – great photo editing apps available from Apple and Google. I use these to clean up photos that are taken from my cell phone. Both apps are great for adjusting color, adding detail and making my pictures look nicer. They are simple to use, and the high resolution screen of my iPad is great for editing.
  • Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal (free iPad/iPhone) – I use this to track my diet. MyFitnessPal has great options for saving meals that you eat frequently, has a searchable database of almost all chain restaurants and commercially available food, and even has a barcode scanner to save you time. I like the charts and graphs that MyFitnessPal creates based on your daily intake.
  • Yelp/Foursquare (free iPad/iPhone) – If you travel, in addition to Google Maps, both of these apps help you discover restaurants that you may like. They also have a great rating/review database that helps you decide if a place is worth trying.
  • Fastcase (free iPad/iPhone) – A free app that lets you do legal research directly on your iPad. If you do not have a subscription to Lexis or Westlaw, this app works great for finding caselaw quickly.
  • Black’s Law Dictionary ($54.99 for iPad/iPhone) – A great resource for looking up legal terms. There is a pronounciation guide for more common words, and all the entries are available without an internet connection.
  • Wolfram Alpha Lawyer Professional Assistant ($4.99 for iPad/iPhone) – A great app for finding information that may be necessary for your day to day legal duties. This app makes it easy to find life expectancies, to compute dates on a calendar, to determine damages and find other historical information.
  • Nest (app free for iPad/iPhone, Nest Thermostat $249.00) – If your thermostat cannot be controlled by your iPad, you need a new thermostat. The Nest app is used to control my thermostat in my house. The app is great because it allows you to set schedules, but even better it allows you to change the thermostat without getting up. It is also nice to have when you are on your way home, and want to remotely set your temperature to be more comfortable when you get there.
  • Notes (included with iPad/iPhone) – I use the built-in notes app across all my devices (including my Android Phone). I love this app for making quick unformated notes or list that I can refer back to later. With iCloud, I am even able to access information in my notes using a web browser on my desktop computer.
  • iAnnotate ($9.99 for iPad only) – My favorite PDF Viewer. I like the way that I can customize the toolbars on iAnnotate based on my workflow. This is the app that I use for reviewing all my client files when I am away from my desktop.
  • PDF Expert ($9.99 for iPad version, $9.99 for iPhone version) – A close second to iAnnotate, I keep PDF Expert because I like the way it handles some actions better than iAnnotate. At times I have used this as my primary PDF viewer, but iAnnotate currently tops my list.
  • Netflix (free for iPad/iPhone, Subscription to Netflix $7.99/month) – A great app for viewing TV Shows and Movies without the interruption of commercials. Great for travel, or if you are in a room without a TV and you feel like relaxing. Unfortunately a monthly subscription to Netflix is required, but the app is free!
  • Amazon Instant Video (free for iPad/iPhone, some free content for all, Amazon Prime Streaming with Amazon Prime Membership, other videos can be purchased from Amazon.com) – This app is for viewing content that is included free with an Amazon Prime membership, or for viewing video content you have purchased through Amazon. Although I use Netflix the majority of the time, there are some shows that I am catching up on that are only available on Amazon Instant Video. Since Amazon is not currently available on the AppleTV, I also use this app for AirPlaying content onto my AppleTV.
  • Infuse (free for iPad/iPhone, upgrade to Pro for $6.99 in-app purchase)- A great app for viewing videos on the iPad that are not supported by the built-in video app. I have converted the majority of my DVD collection to digital files, but the format I used will not work in the Videos app. This app has played every video format that I have thrown at it.
  • Google+ (free iPad/iPhone, store 15GB photos for free) – Google’s version of Facebook. I use this app mainly for backing up my Photos. Google will make a full-size copies of your photos in the cloud, and gives you 15GB of free space for the back-up. I use this in addition to iCloud and Dropbox to make sure that none of my important moments are lost. Even cooler, Google has Auto-Awesome features that will enhance your photos. For example, during the holiday season, Google would add falling snowflakes to some photos.
  • Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter (free iPad/iPhone) – Although I rarely find the time for any of these services, the apps are great for managing your accounts or keeping up with friends. If you have corporate pages, you are also able to use these apps to update your feeds.
  • Calendar (included with iPad/iPhone) – I automatically sync all of my calendar events from my practice management software to my Exchange Server. The built-in calendar app lets me check my schedule when I am away from the office and to set new appointments.
  • RingCentral (free iPad/iPhone, subscription to RingCentral Required)- I use RingCentral for my corporate phone system. This app lets me manage my account, listen to voicemails, check call logs, change options, and even make and receive work telephone calls on my iPad when I have internet access.
  • LogMeIn Ignition (free iPad/iPhone, subscription to LogMeIn required) – This app allows me to remotely access my desktop computers. If there is something that simply cannot be completed using the iPad, I am able to login to my Windows/Mac desktops using this app and complete the task.
  • GoToMeeting/WebEx (free iPad/iPhone, subscription required to host meetings, free to attend) – Unfortunately I have way too many remote meetings these days. Although I normally prefer to use a desktop to participate or host one of these meetings, if I am away from the office, these apps allow me to participate from the comfort of anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Lync 2013 (free iPad/iPhone, requires subscription to Office 365) – This is the instant messaging app that is used in my office. It is part of the our Microsoft 365 Subscription. Having this on my iPad allows me to instantly send messages to co-workers even when out of the office, and when a phone call would not be practical.
  • Pages (included with new iPhone/iPad purchases, $9.99 if purchased prior to iOS 7) – Although this app doesn’t do a good job of viewing complex Word documents, I use it for note-taking or quick document drafting when formatting is important. There are other apps like DocsToGo, QuickOffice and Office2HD that work better with native Microsoft Word Documents, but this is the easiest to use when you need a pretty document. I also like that I can export in PDF or Word Format, and I can access all my documents in any web browser using iCloud.
  • Keynote (included with new iPhone/iPad purchases, $9.99 if purchased prior to iOS 7) – I was never much of a Microsoft PowerPoint user. Since most of my presentations involve using Mobile Technology, it is important for me to have a presentation app on my iPad so I can create presentations when away from my desktop. I like that Keynote has a built-in remote option that allows other iOS devices to control a slide show while giving a presentation, and as is the case with Pages and Notes, I can also work on my presentations on any web browser using iCloud.

Some of these apps are only useful based on my specific needs (for example Nest and Tivo), but many of the rest are useful for any legal professional. It is likely that if you do a search for the specific area of law that your practice in, that you can also find apps that are specific to your area of practice. If you have suggestions of apps to try, or would like more information about the apps that I use, please email me at steve@ssalaw.us.

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