Author: Thord D. Hedengren

Author, designer, developer, and editor of Switch to iPad, among other things.

These are our favorite apps of 2021 (#79)

The 79th issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter outlines our eleven favorite apps of 2021.

It’s 2022, and you just know you’ll mistype that as 2021 for a couple of months. This issue is still in 2021, though because I wanted to share my favorite apps of last year. That’s not to say that all of these apps were actually launched last year, rather the ones I’ve used, and enjoyed, the most. There are no games on this list, and I’ve also decided to cut out streaming services like Netflix and Apple Music, for example, as well as default apps. I’ve also limited this list to eleven apps because why not?

📧 Switch to iPad issue 79 is a paid issue. Do consider signing up for the complete list, with our reasoning for each app. (And if you don’t, we’ll be tweeting the list on the @switchtoipad account later this week.)

Matt Waller built ToDon’t in Swift Playgrounds on his iPad

Folks, we’ve reached a milestone. People have been wanting to build apps on their iPads for a long time, and Apple delivered with the recent update to Swift Playgrounds. This update lets you design, build, test, and even publish full apps to the App Store. There are caveats, obviously, but this works so well that Matt Waller of Cephalopod Studio managed to release his new app ToDon’t.

This is a really big deal, so let’s hear from Matt himself.

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How did that iPad mini holiday work out in the end? (#78)

The first issue of Switch to iPad in 2022 has just reached subscribers. It’s all about how that iPad mini holiday worked out for yours truly, something you might recall that I wrote about in #77.

It’s been a slow couple of weeks for me. I didn’t put in many knots until after New Years, and then it was mostly client things that (still) requires a Mac to work. Some of these even require an Intel Mac, due to stupid IT reasons, but that’s the life of a digital consultant.

Anyway, these are the things I’ve used my iPad mini for during the holidays.

1. Writing.

2. Reading.

3. Gaming.

4. Light communication.

5. Note-taking.

📧 Switch to iPad #78 requires a paid subscription (currently $5/month or $50/year). You can read it, and sign up, here.

See you in 2022

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year. For me, the days between Christmas and the New Year celebrations, are ideally spent contemplating, resting up, and making plans for the future. That’s not possible every year, for me, due to client work, but this year it is, and I’m going to enjoy it. Chances are that means I’ll end up writing, or even building, something when I get bored, but that’s fine. It’s the freedom of not doing things that I love the most.

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It’s iPad mini for me this holiday (#77)

This year’s last full-length newsletter tells the story about how I’m going iPad mini only this holiday season. There’s a reason for this, obviously, and it isn’t that I’ve sold all my iPads, if anyone thought this.

I’m doing a little experiment this holiday season. You see, I’ve left my iPad Pros and their Magic Keyboards at home, and decided to just bring my iPad mini to the cabin. I’m going to call it a cabin, but it’s really a small house, there’s a sauna, Wi-Fi, and everything. This is where we go on holidays, and when we want to get out of Stockholm.

Anyway, I left my professional iPads behind. I did this for two reasons:

1. I want to know how far I can get on just the smallest iPad in Apple’s lineup.

2. This holiday season, I’m going to try not to work so much, with no agency work planned at all.

Granted, you can get everything done on any iPad, as I’ve talked about before. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy, especially if you’re used to that beautiful 12.9” screen from the M1 iPad Pro.

📧 Switch to iPad #77 is for paid subscribers only. I would be oh so happy if you’d consider a subscription. Thank you!

I’m back to using Pocket

This is not a review, but rather, a follow-up on Switch to iPad #70, where I wrote about read it later services. There, I mentioned upstart Matter, which has some pretty compelling features, and is, by far, the best read it later app to store Twitter threads. I’ve been using Matter since before #70, and I liked it, except for this:

What’s worse, Matter is by far the lesser reading experience on an iPad, even the new iPad mini, which is pretty much perfect for reading text on. It’s not that they parse the text bad, it’s just not a very readable layout.

I’m confident this’ll change. This layout works perfectly well on an iPhone. They’ll surely add typographic settings as well, something that both Pocket and Instapaper has, which means you can tailor your reading experience as you see fit. Even Safari’s Reader feature has some basic options there, so I’m sure Matter will add it.

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Read the Switch to iPad gift guide (#76)

It’s that time of yeah, and that means figuring out what to give the iPad lovers. That’s what Switch to iPad #76 is all about.

Have you picked out your Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate, yet? I’ve mostly done so, surprising myself. If you’re in a bind, here are some gift ideas for the iPad lover.

And no, this list won’t contain iPads, Apple Pencils, Magic Keyboards, or any other official accessory. I think that’s been done.

📧 Switch to iPad #76 is free for all to read. My gift to you, if you will.

How I wrote a book on my iPad (Switch to iPad #75)

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter is close to my heart, and the result of months of writing. You see, I recently wrote, edited, and sent a book to a publisher, using nothing but my iPad, as you’d expect from yours truly.

You might not know this, but when I’m not going on and on about the benefits of the iPad as your primary computing platform, or working at my digital agency, I write books. Those books used to be of a technical nature, about things like WordPress and other digital stuff, but I actually write fiction too. If you’re interested, you can find short stories by me in two anthologies, Cthulhu Lies Dreaming and Haunted Futures, as well as on some other places. 

I write novels too. If you’ve been following me on Twitter this Autumn, you probably noticed me doing some sporadic updates with the #amwriting (and later, #amediting) hashtags, as well as some dedicated hotel writing sessions. I’ve been working on a manuscript, in Swedish, so I won’t be sharing any excerpts, for a publisher’s call. It’s done, it’s edited, and it’s been sent in. Yay me, and all that jazz.

Naturally, this whole thing was done on an iPad, and I’d like to tell you about it.

🆓 Switch to iPad #75 is free for all to read, so no subscription needed. I’d very much appreciate it if you considered one anyway, obviously. Thank you!

Yoink – a review

There was a time when iOS and iPadOS was less evolved, and you needed something commonly called file drawer apps to bounce files around. If you wanted to upload an edited image to a web interface, but you had your edited photo in Pixelmator, you were kind of stuck. It was a mess, filled with workarounds and the like, before the Files app we have today, but honestly, afterwards too because even though it’s getting better, Files isn’t what it should or could be.

So, you installed a file drawer app, and shared (using the share sheet) your files to said app, and hoped that whatever app you wanted to move the file to would support importing it. I’ve written about that in the past, in one of the earliest issues of the Switch to iPad newsletter (please subscribe).

Fast-forward to today, and the Files app will actually do for most people. You can easily get to the most recent files added, which means that downloading and/or saving a file of any kind to Files will make it easy to find. And the Files app has the benefit of being tightly integrated into iPadOS, meaning that it’s easy to, say, upload a file in a web interface from the Downloads folder.

Does that mean that there’s no room for file drawer apps anymore?

Oh, no, there definitely is.

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The 2021 App Store Award winners

Every year, Apple announces the App Store Award winners. These aren’t necessary the most successful or downloaded apps, but apps that Apple feel stand out.

The 2021 iPad app of the year is LumaFusion, a video editing app that definitely stands out. It’s a great choice, so well done, Apple.

The 2021 iPad game of the year is Marvel Future Revolution. It’s a freemium game that I haven’t tried yet, but I guess I should, given the fact that it won this award.

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