If you are going to get the most out of your iPad, chances are you are going to end up spending a little money in the app store. But lurking between the iWork suite and cool apps like Things are a whole host of free productivity apps that will let you squeeze out the most from your iPad without squeezing your wallet.
Apple made the iWork suite of productivity apps free to anyone buying a new iPad or iPhone, which instantly makes them the best free apps for getting something done on the iPad. The iWork suite includes Pages, a word processor, Numbers, a spreadsheet, and Keynote, which is great for creating and viewing presentations. Together, they make up the best office suite on the iPad, and are definitely must-have apps.
Easily the best note taking app on the app store, Evernote will not only store out the notes you tap onto the onscreen keyboard, but also the notes you record with your voice. You can even store photos and synchronize your notes to your Mac or Windows-based PC. You can even geotag notes to make them location-based.
If you find yourself often needing to spit out a lot of words, but don't do as well with the iPad's keyboard, you'll find a free alternative in Dragon Dictation. The speech-to-text app can be used for "typing" up a quick e-mail, "writing" a chapter in your novel or just telling everyone what you are up to on Facebook or Twitter.
A conventional calculator is great for doing quick arithmetic, but what if you want to multiple 26 by 42, divide the answer by 8 and then add 4? You can do it on a calculator, but it's much easier to just write out the entire calculation at one time rather than calculating it one piece at a time. That's what MyScript Calculator does: it takes a handwritten calculation and does the math for you.
Scribbling in a quick note not enough? If you need a full-fledged task manager capable of creating to-do lists, Remember the Milk is the app for you. The easy-to-use interface makes note-taking easy, and the cloud-based design means you can type up the note on your PC and then view it on your iPad.
If you are going to be productive with your iPad, you will probably need to get some files from your PC or Mac onto your iPad. That's where Dropbox comes into the picture. Perhaps the easiest ways to gain access to your word processor documents and spreadsheets, Dropbox gives you up to 2 GB of free space before you need to upgrade to a premium account.
Speech-to-text isn't the only quick and easy way to leave yourself a note on the iPad. You can also go the old fashioned route and just write it by hand. Use Your Handwriting puts those kindergarten years of painstakingly drawing out capitol and little-case ABCs to good use by letting you scribble in a quick note to yourself. And with Use Your Handwriting's ability to note when you are getting close to the edge and moving over to give you more space to write, you'll actually find yourself getting the word out a lot quicker than you might think.
If you want to get a handle on your personal finance, Mint is a great place to start. Mint grabs financial data from sites like your bank and your credit cards, arranges it into categories and puts it all into one place. This makes it a great way to set a budget for certain activities such as going out to eat or making finance goals like saving a certain amount of money each month. Best of all, the service is free. And as a cloud service, you can log in via the web or via your device, which makes it easy to check your finances from your PC or your tablet.
Whether you need a little bit of multiplication and simple division or you are trying to turn 248 into a binary number, TouchCalc has you covered. This simple productivity app can be a life saver if you need access to scientific functions, and programmers will like the different logical operators like AND, OR, XOR, etc. TouchCalc even has a statistics mode that will calculate mean, median, variance, standard deviation and range.
If your job entails doing research, you probably get a lot of mileage out of Wikipedia. But as great of a quick resource as Wikipedia can be, it's not always quick and easy to find the information. That's where Wikipanion can help. A great search tool for Wikipedia, this app will also let you quickly navigate the page to get to the information you need.