Great apps for work and play on the iPhone, iPad and Mac

Mar 18, 2011
Tech

While consumers are clamoring to get their hands on a new iPad 2 and developers are optimizing apps to take advantage of the tablet’s new speed and features, we shouldn’t neglect great titles that are available to download right now on the small screen (iPhone and iPod touch), 9.7-inch screen (iPad and iPad 2) and […]

While consumers are clamoring to get their hands on a new iPad 2 and developers are optimizing apps to take advantage of the tablet’s new speed and features, we shouldn’t neglect great titles that are available to download right now on the small screen (iPhone and iPod touch), 9.7-inch screen (iPad and iPad 2) and larger screen (Macs in all varieties).

So what are the best multi-platform Apple apps worth downloading right now?

Apple apps for getting things done

Evernote (free across all platforms)

This is the gold standard among free productivity apps for iOS and Apple devices. Users who are addicted to this cloud-based note-taking app on their mobile devices couldn’t wait to download a version of the app to the Mac.

On January 6, the first day of the Mac App Store, the Evernote Mac app generated more than 40,000 downloads. The beauty of the cross-platform Evernote app is that it gives users the ability to tap in notes on one device and reference later on another.

Things ($9.99 for iPhone, $19.99 for iPad, $49.99 for the Mac App Store)

This is the productivity app worth paying for on any device. Like most Getting Things Done apps available across platforms, the beauty with having Things on your desktop as well as on the go is that tasks are shared and synced between any device you use. The color-coded checklists translate well however you interface with the app. Even with the graduated price points, if you use Things on the iPhone and/or iPad, it is a worthy investment to make on the Mac as well.

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OmniFocus ($19.99 for iPhone, $39.99 for iPad, $79.99 for the Mac App Store)

This personal task manager really means business. And for the hardcore users, getting everything done is all about context. This pioneering app, which was recognized in the early days of the iTunes App Store for its utility and design, lets you categorize tasks by function so you can blitz through calls you need to make, groceries you need to pick up, or apps that you need to download. If you are addicted to this app on the iPhone and iPad, it pays to invest in the mother ship version and enjoy access from your Mac.

Apps for play in every way

Because the iPhone and iPad are revolutionizing mobile gaming, it is easy to forget how powerful (and fun) the Mac platform can be for games and entertainment. Here are three titles available on all three platforms.

Angry Birds (99 cents for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad and Mac App Store)

A hit on any platform, Angry Birds is just as addictive whether you are playing it while waiting for the bus on your iPhone, sitting on the couch with your iPad or at a desktop on your Mac. Now you can feed your addiction wherever you are.

Osmos (99 cents for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad, $9.99 for Mac App Store)

This hall-of-fame physics game features new dimensions no matter what device you are playing. On the Mac, the funky soundtrack and state-of-the-art graphics really stand out.

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The Incident ($1.99 universal iOS app for iPhone and iPad, $2.99 for the Mac App Store)

While this action game is all about being Retro, its tone, graphics and sensibility make it a more compelling option to Oregon Trail. And it’s hard to beat the price.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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