iPhone Life magazine

5 Top iPad (and iPhone) Utilities

These apps set the quality bar high for future utility apps

Air Video

AirVideo$2.99 (iPad and iPhone/iPod touch version), app2.me/2604; Free versions, app2.me/2605

This remarkable utility allows iPad and iPhone users to view video over a Wi-Fi network, regardless of format. Running on either a Mac or PC, Air Video's server application (free, inmethod.com/air-video/download.html) transcodes videos on the fly and transmits them wirelessly to the Air Video app. Video quality can be dialed up or down depending on transmission speed. Air Video supports a broad variety of video formats including mp4, m4v, mov, avi, wmv, asf, mpg, mpeg, mkv, 3gp, dmf, divx, and Flash-formatted flv files. The app is very easy to navigate and remembers which videos you've viewed so you quickly return to the last one watched. There's an iPhone version of this app, but the iPad is a better viewing platform. If you love watching video, you will love using Air Video.

1Password Pro

1passwordpro$14.99 (iPad and iPhone/iPod touch version), app2.me/2606

This excellent utility keeps all of your sensitive password, account information, credit card details, and other highly confidential information under virtual lock and key. The Pro edition includes versions iPad and iPhone/iPod touch. Its layout is smart, intuitive, and well organized. Most importantly, your data is protected with AES 128-bit encryption.

1Password Pro is also available for the Mac ($39.95, agile.ws/products/1Password), and a Windows version is in beta development. If you have a lot of passwords to manage, the desktop versions are a must, allowing you to quickly enter and store information on your desktop and seamlessly synchronize it with the apps on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

PrintCentral

PrintCentral$9.99 (iPad version), app2.me/2607, $7.99 (iPhone/iPod touch version), app2.me/2608.

Before the arrival of EuroSmartz' PrintCentral, direct printing from an iOS device was only a dream. PrintCentral users can print various document and image types from the iPad and other iOS devices directly to Wi-Fi enabled printers. They can also print to printers tethered to a Mac or PC using EuroSmartz' desktop-based WePrint application (free, mobile.eurosmartz.com/downloads/downloads_index.html).

Since the Apple iOS currently does not allow applications access to other application file stores, documents need to be copied into PrintCentral's local file folder before they can be printed. Fortunately, most files can be easily imported via e-mail attachment, text copy/paste, or copying files from a desktop computer running the WePrint software mentioned earlier. PrintCentral is a staple part of my daily iPad usage and one app I couldn't imagine working without.

iCase

iCase$4.99 (iPad/iPhone), app2.me/2609

iCase lets you copy/synchronize files and folders between your iOS device and a Mac or Windows desktop equipped with Ymind's client software (free, yminds.com/icase.html). Like other file management apps, files are stored in the iCase file folder. But what makes iCase unique is its seamless file synchronization abilities without having to rely on a separate Internet storage service like Apple's MobileMe. It also makes file transfers and synchronizations lightning fast, which is especially useful for busy people.

MaxiVista

$9.99 (iPad only), app2.me/2610

MaxiVistaMaxiVista turns your iPad into a second screen for your Windows desktop or laptop PC. Simply install the app on your iPad, install the driver software on your PC, connect the two devices with the sync cable, and you're ready to go. There can be a minor time lag, and frame tearing can occur, especially with elaborate user interface objects. Even so, MaxiVista is an excellent and relatively inexpensive way to take advantage of the additional screen real estate of your iPad when you're working on your PC.

Honorable Mentions

emerald observatoryEmerald Observatory (iPad only, $0.99, app2.me/2611) turns your iPad into a large, beautiful clock. It's a great use for your iPad when it's sitting idle on your desk.

ucamprouCamPro (iPad version, $9.99, app2.me/2612; iPhone version, $6.99, app2.me/2613)

uNetCams (iPad version, $24.99, app2.me/2614;  iPhone version, $19.99, app2.me/2615)

uCamPro is an iPad-optimized video streaming viewer for network cameras and webcams.

uNetCams is a version of uCamPro that allows simultaneous viewing of several network cameras. Both apps have an attractive, easy-to-use interface.

monkeywrench1Monkey Wrench Source Code Editor FTP (iPad only, $6.99, app2.me/2616) is a text editor geared towards writing source code. Programmers and Web developers will appreciate the tab key on the onscreen keypad.

SYSTEM Manager (iPad version, $1.99, app2.me/2617; iPhone version, $0.99, app2.me/2618) is a multi-tabbed system monitor that makes it easy to check on your battery and memory usage, programs running in background, network details, and other system resources.

iHome (iPad and iPhone versions, $5.99, app2.me/2619) is an optimized user interface that allows automated home enthusiasts to turn on or off and monitor various lights and appliances connected to PowerHome X10 modules (lmyx10.com)