There are already a lot of very nifty iPad apps, from Entertainment Weekly‘s cool, interactive “Must List” to the show-me-the-radar greatness of Weatherbug to Amazon’s simple yet invaluable Kindle app. But so far, only one app has blown my mind: Shakespeare Pro (iTunes web link). It cost $19.99 but it’s probably worth $199.99 if you are a big fan of the bard.
Obviously, the app includes everything Shakespeare wrote from Macbeth and Hamlet to All’s Well That Ends Well plus all his sonnets and other poetry. There’s also a Charles & Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare synopsizing the plays for younger readers as fairy tales.
The user interface is simple and self-evident. Tap a play, go to the text. At the bottom of the text screen you can navigate between acts and scenes. Press the dictionary icon at the top right and all Shakespearean vocab gets a dotted underline. Tap any underlined word and get a pop-up definition. Insanely useful. A searchable concordance is also handy.
There’s a bunch of additional content, as well, ranging from biographical info to reproductions of a dozen or so famous paintings of the author. You can choose from among seven basic fonts and seven font sizes. You can also get white text on a black background or choose from among a couple of other color schemes.
The most fun feature is of course the quotations section. Open it and get a random famous quote — Frailty, thy name is woman! just popped in. There’s a direct link to the quote’s place in its text. Shake your iPad or hit the refresh button to get a new quote.
Overall, a model of what an iPad app should be. Highly recommended.
p.s. I notice Shakespeare Pro developer Readdle has simple collected works apps for Aristotle and Plato. I hope more enhanced “Pro” apps are on the way.
What if you could collect, in one well-organized, searchable, private digital repository, all the notes you create, clips from Web pages and emails you want to recall, dictated audio memos, photos, key documents, and more? And what if that repository was constantly synchronized, so it was accessible through a Web browser and through apps on your various computers and smart phones?
Well, such a service exists. And it’s free. It’s called Evernote. I’ve been testing it for about a week on a multiplicity of computers and phones, and found that it works very well. Evernote is an excellent example of hybrid computing—using the “cloud” online to store data and perform tasks, while still taking advantage of the power and offline ability of local devices.
I’ve been testing Evernote since May and have accumulated some 500-odd notes so far. Search is lightening fast and the synchronization across platforms works like a charm. I wish there was an easier way to clip web articles on the iPhone and get them into the Evernote app but that may be due to Apple’s policies more than any failing of Evernote. Highly recommended.
There’s plenty to love already in Apple’s app store for iPhones and iPods Touch but I’m chomping at the bit for a few “coming soon” programs that can’t get here soon enough. First and foremost, as I mentioned the other day, I’m looking for a blogging app to write entries for this blog (which runs on WordPress). Both WordPress and outside developer Daniel Jalkut (of Mars Edit fame) say they’ll have an app real soon now.
Next, I’d love to have an encrypted password, PIN code and serial number manager app. I use Waterfall Software’s awesome Wallet on my Macs and they’re promising to have an app version out “this summer.” Fellahs, it’s hot and sweaty here – definitely summer. Key feature, without which it’s not worth having: synchronization from Mac to my iPod Touch and back.
Also, while the New York Times and Bloomberg (via Download.com) have pretty good news apps, how about the Wall Street Journal? I pay good money to subscribe online and I’d like to get better access than the mini-web page version. Both the Times and Bloomberg have good user interfaces and access to lots of stories and data. What else? What apps are you waiting for?