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blog_ipad_apps Whether you’re a longtime iPad user or you just got one as a holiday gift, you’re probably quite familiar with the tablet’s entertainment options. There are, after all, a bevy of apps and platforms – from games like Angry Birds to media services like the iTunes Store – that make the iPad an entertainment powerhouse.

But Apple’s tablet isn’t useful only for whiling away a long flight or keeping a toddler occupied. Productivity apps abound on iOS, as well. Here are five of our favorites.

1) Mercury browser

The Safari web browser that ships with iOS devices is fine, insofar as it gets the job done. But if you’ve upgraded to Google Chrome on a PC, you know how great a well-designed browser can be. It’s for this reason that we recommend Mercury.

Much like Chrome, Mercury features tabbed browsing. Plus, it’s fast. We didn’t clock it, but it certainly seems speedier than Safari. And the icing on the cake? Mercury is totally free. Try it in tandem with Safari and see which one you prefer; we think Mercury has the edge.

2) Evernote

We’ve recommended Evernote in the past on these pages. We’ve also held it up as a brilliant example of cloud services done right. Yet we’re happy to talk up Evernote again.

Why? Because, quite simply, it provides a single web-based platform for managing your thoughts, to-do lists and plans. Maybe we’ll all have smartphones embedded in our brains within a couple decades, but until we do, Evernote is the tool for bringing some digital-age order to what’s in your head.

3) Brainshark

Brainshark isn’t for everyone. But anyone who makes presentations – whether to coworkers, external partners, customers or leads – should check it out.

Brainshark’s app is free to download, and all it requires to work is a profile on the Brainshark website. You simply upload your PowerPoint presentations to your profile, and Brainshark’s platform lets you annotate them or add audio clips.

The finished product looks highly professional. Plus, it can be shared easily with anyone to whom you’re presenting – a prospective customer at a trade show, perhaps, or your seatmate on the train.

4) Paper

The idea behind Paper is that an iPad’s 9.7-inch screen is perfect for drawing. Paper includes a number of colorization and drawing-tool options, and the most recent version of the app has been optimized for the iPad’s high-resolution “Retina” display. That means your Paper illustrations will look just as real as if you drew them in a sketchbook (minus the art supplies and the mess).

Want to add some pizzazz to your marketing materials, or jot down your ideas in full color? Paper is just what you need.

5) RingCentral

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention RingCentral’s iOS app here. Yes, we’re biased in its favor. But we also hear time and again how helpful it is for businesspeople on the go.

With the RingCentral app, you can not only place and receive calls over VoIP – you can send and receive text messages, too. And we recently optimized our iOS app for the iPad’s display, so you can use it in landscape mode. The RingCentral app brings the power of RingCentral Office to your iPad, so you can have your entire business phone system in your bag or briefcase.

Are there any good apps we left out? Please share them with us in the comments!

Originally published Mar 21, 2013, updated Aug 11, 2020

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