LINE Is Finally Here On iPad!

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It wasn’t that long ago that I was lamenting the absence of LINE Messenger on the iPad. It’s the one app that my family uses for group chatting, and it was one of the few things that tethered me to my iPhone at home or at coffee shops, when I would rather have just replied from the iPad.

However, unbeknownst to me, LINE for iPad was released almost a week ago. It’s not as full-fledged as the iPhone LINE app, but that’s really okay by me. That app has far too much going on inside of it anyway. I don’t need timelines or games or extra editing suites built into my messaging app. I just want to talk to my family and send stupid stickers (but not through the Facebook Messenger app, because my dad isn’t on Facebook at all).

LINE for iPad doesn’t do anything terribly original. It’s got an extra-wide sidebar that can look a little strange when you’ve only got one chat going (as I do), but that doesn’t matter much. I just turn the window to full-screen and revel in the glory of stickers and stupidity that is my family chat.

There is one other way in which LINE for iPad is optimized for the tablet, though: the option to have the Enter key become the “Send” button. This is a godsend if you use an external keyboard often, and it’s something I’m surprised that iMessage still has absolutely no option for.

But, in truth, the only thing I’m really trying to say is that my main complaint is gone. LINE is now truly cross-platform support as far as I’m concerned. It was out for the Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, and now, at long last, the iPad.

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iWork Suite for iPad Updated: Adds iCloud Drive Support & More

iOS iWork apps

The iWork suite for iPad – Keynote, Numbers, and Pages – has been updated this week. Each of the apps is now at Version 2.5 following this latest update.

This update brings support for iCloud Drive, a major part of Apple’s upgrade to iCloud in iOS 8. It also makes it easier to share documents from Keynote, Numbers, and Pages to other services like Dropbox and Gmail.

Here’s the full list of what’s new in the update to Pages, the list is similar for Keynote and Numbers:

Support for iCloud Drive
• Support for third-party storage providers
• Updated file format makes it easier to send documents via services like Gmail and Dropbox
• Instantly switch between iPad, Mac, and iPhone with Handoff
• More color options including new custom color mixer on iPad
• Use the color picker to sample and apply any color available in your document
• Take photos and videos right from the app
• Insert inline images in tables, headers, and footers
• Inter-table alignment guides
• Column and row labels in tables
• Usability improvements for resizing and positioning charts
• Improved accessibility
• Improved bi-directional language support
• Export ePub files with video

I’m sure we’ll soon be writing more about iCloud Drive once we’ve spent some time using it.

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Writer Pro 1.4 for iPad

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Writer Pro was updated once again this past week, and it now makes a lot more sense to use. Folder support was added in the last patch, but it was confusing because I couldn’t actually create any folders from the iPad (only take advantage of folders I’d created on the Mac). However, as of Writer Pro 1.4, I can now swipe on individual files to move them into folders, or even create new folders. The Recents tab — which should probably just be called “Documents” now — shows all of my files and folders in one place.

There are also two other cool tweaks I’ve noticed. The arrow keys on the extended keyboard can now be used to expand a text selection, which makes it much easier to quickly cut text out of a paragraph.

The final change was mentioned very subtly in the update notes, but it’s probably my favourite new feature in Writer Pro thus far. The “Sentence” syntax view will now subtly blur all other on-screen text, leaving the current sentence looking razor sharp. It’s a really delightful little change and a good reminder of why I like iA’s software in the first place.

Writer Pro did get off to a rocky start. It was missing Dropbox search and iCloud folders when it launched, and I think it still needs to differentiate the Note mode from the other modes, but as of v1.4, I’m having a lot of fun using this app again.

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Drafts 4 for iPad

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Drafts 4 is a paid upgrade to the excellent Drafts app (which was on version 3.x before iOS 8). Drafts has long been famous for its lightning fast load times and excellent set of built-in actions for sharing text with other apps and services. For text nerds frustrated with the siloed nature of iOS apps, Drafts has always been a breath of fresh air.

Version 4 was rebuilt from the ground up, and even though the interface is still quite familiar, there are all sorts of little signs of polish that make the upgrade feel worth it:

  • The clean, sleek icon with a flash of blue is a definite improvement. The precious icon for iOS 7 just felt flat and dry, whereas the current icon has a bit more personality and looks more unique.
  • Animations within the app are now consistent across the iPhone and iPad versions, but they can feel a little too slippery. Deleting drafts and actions is actually a little difficult because you need to wait for the animation to finish before you can act.
  • Markdown now shows with live previews as you type
  • Drafts 4 uses iCloud for syncing files across the iPad and iPhone. I find this a welcome change because, as fast as Simperium (the previous sync engine) was, there were significant glitches with the system. It’s too early to tell how iCloud will fare in its place, but I’m optimistic.

I don’t regret my impulsive $5 purchase of Drafts 4 one bit. Drafts is a wonderfully powerful app for iPad power users; it can get quick notes into Evernote so much faster than the official app, and that alone is worth the price of purchase in my book.

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Giving Up On Evernote For Task Management

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I just finished my major trial run of Evernote as a task manager. The service is really great, but I learned that there are downsides to having all of your notes and tasks in the same place. Evernote doesn’t make it easy to filter tasks by date, and I found it cumbersome to re-schedule tasks once I’d set the dates. The biggest takeaway, however, was that I don’t tend to choose the same kinds of titles for notes as I do for tasks. That’s because Evernote doesn’t actually create tasks in the same way as other apps (like the iOS Reminders app). Reminders in Evernote are simply notes that have reminders grafted onto them.

I might name a task “get signoff for iPad Insight budget”, whereas a note title would simply be “iPad Insight Budget”. I was finding that a lot of my finished tasks were still useful as notes, but it was a bit of a pain to remember to re-name them once I was finished acting on them.

Evernote was fantastic for allowing me to have sub-tasks and files right within the task, but moving away from the service for task management won’t mean I’ll lose those advantages. Instead, I actually think of Evernote in much the same way as the company is marketing itself: as a workspace. It’s where I go for adding quick job notes, referencing files on-the-go, and it’s a remarkably reliable archive for pulling up invoices when my boss is asking me how much we’ve spent in the past month.

As for tasks, I’ve headed back to dedicated task managers. I’m currently deciding between Wunderlist and 2Do. I’d prefer to use 2Do, but it’s missing a PC client, and its option for manual-only syncing with Toodledo is a bit too limiting. Wunderlist has a lead simply because of its cross-platform support, but I’m also really impressed with the level of polish in the app. I’ve tested every major version of Wunderlist, and Wunderlist 3 is really something else. It’s got great animations, sub-tasks, comments, and even Dropbox integration (although this doesn’t feel fully baked in iOS yet).

One thing that’s common to both 2Do and Wunderlist is that they’re both genuinely fun to interact with. Evernote always lacked that spark in its approach to task management. It was a definitely efficient, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying to tick off the boxes.

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App Store Featured Collection: Zombies

Never let it be said that the App Store doesn’t do its best to highlight topical and trendy subjects in its Featured section. This week one of the notable featured app collections is Zombies. I’d say we could almost call this a celebration of Zombie Season – what with Halloween a few weeks away and, […]

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Writer Pro For iPad Gets An iOS 8 Update

Writer Pro was updated for iOS 8 this week, adding support for Dropbox, Handoff, Document Picker, basic folder support, and a significant change to the way the app handles its four different views. The Dropbox integration is straightforward and very useful. You can link your Dropbox to the app and open any files from any […]

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App & Game Bundles Hit the App Store

One of the nice new features of the App Store in iOS 8 is Bundles. Bundles are sets of multiple apps from the same developer, on offer to download together at special, discounted prices. If you already own any of the apps in a particular bundle, you can rest of the bundle for a reduced […]

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