Shortages occur for just about everything made or modified by humankind, but I don’t believe we’ll ever suffer from a lack iPad or iPhone apps. With so many apps to weed through, how do you choose the right ones for you?
Here I picked 12 great apps that you might not see in your typical roundup of business apps (or I highlight lesser-known features in popular apps). And I chose those that were highly rated by users—not selected by iTunes as "popular," because that doesn’t always mean that users like them.
Dragon Dictation. Let’s be real: You cannot type for a long time on the iPad even if you have one of those nifty external Bluetooth keyboards. That's why you need Dragon. With just a little bit of time invested to train it, you can speak your way through e-mails, documents and more.
SayHi Translate. If you travel internationally this app is a great resource. You speak a phrase and it translates and speaks it back in another language.
Notability. If you completely love to use the iPad keyboard or prefer to write with your finger, then you will adore Notability. It lets you work on notes the way you want. You can annotate PDF files, too.
SketchBook Pro for iPad. Autodesk shines with this app. It is a powerful full-scale paint and drawing application. Whether you just like to doodle or are a serious illustrator, this app is elegant and worth the small fee. If you want to test your hand at 3D, look at their 123D Catch app. With it, you can take up to 40 photos of a real object and upload them. The service stitches them together to give you a 3D model of the person or object.
Calculator. The iPad simply doesn’t have one. Amazing. Maybe Steve only did math in his head. The rest of us occasionally need an abacus or a calculator. This one rocks.
Evernote. I covered 11 useful Evernote apps back in March on OPEN, but one of my favorite aspects is really useful via their iPad app: Audio notes. Anytime you are connected, your audio notes will upload to your account.
iMovie. If you’ve ever wanted to use your hands to make a movie, this is your app. This robust app will allow you to create a polished version of your marketing videos and publish them directly to YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook.
Concur Travel, Receipts and Expense Reports. There are plenty of accounting and receipt scanners out there, but Concur is a pretty amazing Web-based solution that has a great iPad app, too. It will simplify your travel receipts and itinerary management.
ParkMobile. This parking spot finder and payment app says it is compatible for the iPad, but I think that is really just to let you access the Web-version. I include it here because the ability to pay for public parking in major U.S. metro areas seems especially useful to me. Use it with your iPhone, Android-powered phone or regular cell phone instead.
Weather HD. If you can imagine your weather in 3D (just like real-life when you don’t have a weather report), then you’ll want to check out this highly rated and reviewed app. The New York Times and AllThingsD have proclaimed its wonders.
Here are three more ways to gather great apps:
Basic office apps. If you need a big list of basic office apps, then the best list I’ve seen is from Intuit where they round up 50 of the best apps by three categories: Sales and Marketing; Document Creation and Management; and Productivity, Organization, Financial and News.
Sales apps. If you need sales productivity tools, then read my Mobile Salesforce article.
Business app tips. 4 Ways to Optimize Your iPad for Business by Lauren Hockenson from Mashable makes several useful suggestions, but the one I think is the most important to remember when choosing business apps is: “Make sure you can go offline” with the app or tool you download. That can be important if you’re not always connected and need to work.