academiPad’s mission is to share ideas about how to use iPad, Mac and the web for research, teaching and learning… and to save you time and money by showing you the best discounted and free apps for iPad, iPhone and Mac.
New technology is fundamentally changing the ways in which we teach and learn, how we collaborate with colleagues and peers, and how we appropriate, communicate and share information. And there is no shortage on apps out there in Apple’s app stores and the web that help us to increase our productivity and efficiency. But what are the good ones?
HINT: Scroll down to Recent Discounts to see the latest savings.
Save time and money with academiPad
academiPad is your guide to the best workflows and apps. Its articles and reviews are a helpful resource to overcome two of the biggest disadvantages of a rapidly growing app marketplace: There are often too many apps to choose from, and few apps can be tried out before buying.
academiPad saves you time and money, but you can save even more cash by checking out AppShopper.com.
AppShopper tracks price changes for all iPad, iPhone and Mac apps. These changes occur more frequent than you might think: Some developers repeatedly discount their apps for a couple of days or even weeks in order to improve their position in the app store rankings. Sometimes, paid apps are even made free for a few days, which is the ultimate bargain.
Free apps that normally cost money? That is like free pizza in grad school!
Find discounted and free apps with academiPad and AppShopper
I highly recommend to check out AppShopper every time before you want to buy an app, especially when you don’t need the app right away. Imagine, for example, that you read on academiPad about an app you think might be helpful in your own workflow. If you look it up on AppShopper, you can get an idea of whether this app varies in price a lot, and whether it is relatively highly or lowly priced at the moment.
Now, some apps never or hardly change their price (the graph on AppShopper will tell you which ones), and those apps you can buy right away. Others, however, change quite often (sometimes timed with holidays such as Thanksgiving), and unless you need them right away, you can add these apps to your wishlist on AppShopper. Once they are discounted, you will get an automatic notification into your email inbox.
I am using AppShopper for years, and I got quite a few free apps out of it.
Follow academiPad on twitter for great free apps
To make things even easier, academiPad will from time to time tweet when quality apps go free or are heavily reduced (50% or more, to avoid spam).
So follow academiPad on twitter to get the best savings. You can do this in the upper right corner of this post, or right in the tweet below.
— Joachim Scholz (@academiPad) August 5, 2012
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Below you will find the most recent discounts that academiPad has tweeted about. (Note: I cannot guarantee that these apps will be still reduced by the time you click on the links.)
April 17, 2013 – 9to5mac brought out a really interesting bundle: For about $8 you can get 10 Mac apps (worth $399). Its a pay-as-much-as-you-like bundle, and in order to get all 10 apps you have to spend more than the average (which currently lies at $7.21). There are a couple of apps that are great additions to your workflow: Paperless from software powerhouse Mariner helps you in keeping your office paperless, Crossover lets you open SPSS and other Windows applications on your Mac (without needing a Windows licence!), Snapz Pro X lets you do screencasts of your presentations that you can put online, HoudahSpot supports you in your information management workflow (a better Spotlight and Finder), DiskTools Pro keeps your OS X and harddrive clean, and PhotoBulk helps you in watermarking and batch-resizing photos for putting them online. So a really great bundle, for a fraction of the price. Check it out here, it runs until April 25.
April 17, 2013 – Papers, the reference management software for Mac, iOS and Windows, has a spring sale going on this week and drops its prices by 30%. Get Papers for iOS ($15 to $10, iTunes link) from the Appstore and visit the app’s webpage to get a copy of the Mac or Windows version.
April 2, 2013 – Reeder for iPad and Mac (formerly $5) are now free until the V2.0 rolls around sometimes in the next few months. Yes, Google Reader is dead, but that doesn’t mean that the world has come to an end. While the guys at Reeder figure out how to keep syncing after Google and also add some features that had been missing on iPad and Mac, Reeder for iPad and Reeder for Mac (iTunes / App Store links) are free! Reeder is one of academiPad’s favourite RSS apps (see Reeder article here), so grab them now and hope for a bright future for these stellar apps. Note: Reeder for iPhone (iTunes link) still comes with its $3 price tag.
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February 2, 2013 – 1Password apps are 50% off. These Mac and iOS apps securely store your important information and can automatically log you into websites with a single tap. Great if you have too many user names and passwords than you can remember. 1Password for iPad and iPhone (universal app) went from $18 to $9, iTunes link), and 1Password for Mac went from $50 to $25 (App Store link). Still expensive, but check them out – these apps have won pretty much every award that is out there.
February 2, 2013 – EndNote for iPad ($10 to $1): Endnote is a reference management software for PCs, and this is their new iPad companion app. It syncs with the desktop version of EndNote, but also with the free EndNote Web account. The iPad version lets you do freehand annotations. The sale lasts until February 11. If you are using EndNote for your workflow, this is a no-brainer.
February 2, 2013 – Mac App Store Getting Things Done promo: Until next Friday (February 7), a couple of apps for organizing your information are reduced on the Mac App store. For example, Together is a journaling app to write down class notes or research ideas, and MindNote is my all-time favourite mind mapping app. Here’s a full list of this week’s sale apps along with pricing information:
- Gemini: Finding duplicate files ($4.99 down from $9.99)
- Unclutter: Storing short notes and other info nuggets ($1.99 down from $2.99)
- Delicious Library 2: Catalogue and browse through your books and other media ($17.99 down from $34.99)
- Together: Pull together text, images, videos, browser bookmarks and web pages to organize your research ($19.99 down from $39.99)
- Tree: Organize your thoughts and structure your projects in a horizontal task list ($6.99 down from $14.99)
- Mindnode Pro: The best mind mapping app out there if you want to do ultra fast mind maps and want to sync between Mac and iPad ($9.99 down from $19.99)
- Compartments: Organize your belongings – or research artifacts ($6.99 down from $14.99)
- DaisyDisk: Clean up your hard drive by identifying what files take up the most space ($4.99 down from $9.99)
- Home Inventory: Similar to Compartments, different style ($9.99 down from $19.99)
December 30, 2012 – Outline+ ($15 to $2, iTunes link): Outline+ is a super-stylish, feature packed iPad companion app for Microsoft’s OneNote. Sync via your dropbox or box account, or use it as a stand-alone iPad app to capture your class notes and project ideas. Mac apps to read and edit your notebooks are in the works.
November 28, 2012 – Office2 HD ($8 to $3, iTunes link): Office² HD is a decent office document editor for iPad that lets you open, view, create and edit Word (DOC & DOCX), Excel (XLS & XLSX), and PowerPoint (PPT & PPTX) files right from your iPad. You can see Office² HD in action here.
November 23, 2012 – Black Friday Sales: A tons of good apps are reduced today. Grab them before they go up in price again.
- Calendars by Readdle ($7 to $2). This app is included in my Top 30 list of iPad apps for academics.
- Doc Scan HD Pro ($4 to $1): Scan documents with your iPhone.
- Scanner Pro by Readdle ($7 to $2): Another scanning app. I like Readdle apps a lot, but compare with the one above and get the one that you like most.
- Prizmo($10 to $5): Another great scanning app that is worth checking out. It might be one of the more powerful, but it is still quite expensive, even after a 50% cut.
- Readdle Docs for iPad ($5 to $2) and Readdle Docs for iPhone ($5 to $2): Manage documents on your iPad. Described below in this post.
- PDF Expert ($10 to $5): One of the best PDF reading and annotating apps for iPad.
- CalenMob Pro ($7 to $1): Another Google calendar app that looks very nice.
- Planner Plus ($5 to $1): A planning and organizing app for iPad.
- IM Pro+ ($10 to $3): An instant messaging app that works across pretty every instant messaging platform (Facebook, Skype, twitter, MSN, ICQ,…) you can think of.
- iStudiez Pro for Mac ($10 to $5): Organize your classes and assignments with this app. The iPad counterpart is featured in my Top 30 list of iPad apps for academics.
November 21, 2012 – SmartPad Organizer ($20 to $10, iTunes link): This is another Calendar and Task Managing app which probably only makes sense to spend money on when you are really into planning and time management. The selling point of this app is that SmartPad can schedule your tasks into the free time between your appointments. You can access your tasks on the Mac and PC via a browser-based interface. Task management in overkill mode for me, but if you are into that, this is a good price.
November 21, 2012 – Quickoffice Pro HD ($20 to $5, iTunes link): Quickoffice Pro HD is a comprehensive productivity suit that is compatible with Microsoft Office. Ideal if your other machine is a PC or you need to handle Microsoft Office docs to collaborate with others. But even if you are not bound to Microsoft Office, this app is cheaper than buying Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote individually – especially at this rock-bottom price! From the developer: “Ditch your laptop and still create and edit ALL Microsoft® Office document, spreadsheet, and presentation formats, as well as view PDF files, on the go. Our advanced file manager lets you manage local files, access Google Drive or other cloud accounts, and works with your iPad email attachments so you can work anywhere, anytime – online and offline.” Five bucks is the lowest price ever for this app so far, so I wouldn’t wait long.
November 21, 2012 – 1Password Pro ($15 to $10, iTunes link): Not exactly a 50%+ discount, but this app is so popular that it is worth pointing it out here. 1Password securely stores your important information and can automatically log you into websites with a single tap. Great if you have too many user names and passwords than you can remember. The Pro version is a universal app that runs on both iPad and iPhone. The individual apps for iPad ($10 to $7) and iPhone ($10 to $7) are also reduced. And you guessed it: the Mac version ($50 to $35, Appstore link) went down in price, too. Still expensive, you think? You bet! But the ratings and awards these apps reap speak for themselves. Go check them out…
November 20, 2012 – Outline+ ($15 to $1, iTunes link): Outline+ is a super-stylish, feature packed iPad companion app for Microsoft’s OneNote. Sync via your dropbox or box account, or use it as a stand-alone iPad app to capture your class notes and project ideas. I wish there was an app that good to link up with a Mac version of OneNote (Circusponies Notebook is aging, and their iPad app is far from being recommendable!). But I am straying from the point: If you are using a PC, you should get this app at this price. If this make you start using OneNote on the PC, even better! EDIT: I just saw that a Mac Reader app for OneNote files is in the works! Lets hope that one day it will add edit functionalities. EDIT 2: I just asked – it will!
November 15, 2012 – DocScanner ($5 to $1, iTunes link): With DocScanner, you can turn any document or white board session into a PDF by simply snapping a photo. Good for integrating your analog and digital workflows, and very handy if you want to copy just a few pages in the library. It has Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and iOS iCloud support.
November 12, 2012 – Printer Pro for iPhone ($5 to free): If you want to print of files from your iPhone, or even webpages, this app might be for you. Its highly praised and free for a short time, so give it a try. There is also an iPad version ($7) you can get if you find this app useful (lets hope it will go on sale some day too – join academiPad’s twitter feed to find out Follow @academiPad).
November 8, 2012 – PDF Reader Pro ($6 to $2): This is one of the more popular PDF reading and annotation apps for the iPad (and iPhone). It describes itself as a “comprehensive business helper that enables you to fill forms, sign documents, highlight text, [and] add comments to PDFs.” There is also a scan to PDF function, but I haven’t tried it myself. My tip: Wait for a few days and see whether other PDF reading apps are coming down in price as well (watch academiPad’s twitter feed for that). The competition is fierce, and price wars can break out easily.
November 7, 2012 – Clips ($8 to free): This Mac app extends your clipboard with style. It positions itself as the “time machine for your clipboard”, offering a neat graphical way to display everything you have ever copied into your clipboard (with Clips running). This app is handy if you are coding or if your research workflow relies on copy&paste a lot.
November 7, 2012 – PhotoScan PDF Pro ($4 to free): More and more apps for repurposing your iPhone as a scanner are popping up every month. This one, specifically for the iPad, is one of the latest to jump on the bandwagon. It can scan and convert images into PDF. If you don’t have a scanner app yet, give this a try while it is free to see whether it saves you a way to the xerox machine.
November 07, 2012 – Student TA Pro ($3 to free, iTunes link): Student TA Pro is another app for students to manage their class assignments and other aspects of student life. It is similar to the more familiar iStudiez Pro, but it boasts a more modern design and also integrates with your iTunes library. There is no iPad app though. I haven’t tried it, but it is FREE for now, so give it a spin of you are a student.
September 25, 2012 – SmartPad Organizer ($20 to $10, iTunes link): SmartPad organizes your calendar events, projects, tasks and notes all in one view. There are two thing which make this app worth checking out: First, it is able to schedule task in the free time of your calendar. Second, it also has a browser-based interfaced, so you can access your task and notes and such from your Mac or PC as well. If you are not big on organizing, then this app is likely overkill for you. However, it might be useful if task management is your thing. The sale runs until end of September.
September 20, 2012 – iDisplay ($5 to $2, iTunes link): iDisplay lets you use your iPad or iPhone/iPod touch as a secondary display for your Mac or Windows PC. I am using a similar app (AirDisplay) for that purpose, and my experience with using the iPad as a screen are very positive. The refresh rate is pretty good, almost unbelievably good for a cable less display. And you can still use the iPad as a touch input device, so you can control Mac apps through finger taps.
September 19, 2012 – TeX Writer ($10 to $5, iTunes link): TeX is a LaTeX editor and compiler that lets you write, compile and preview TeX documents right on your iPad. Compilation happens on your device, no internet connection is required. I don’t write in LaTeX, but I was asked by a couple of people for an app for it, so I am throwing it out here without having it tested myself (or knowing what to look for).
September 18, 2012 - ReaddleDocs for iPhone ($5 to free, iTunes link): ReaddleDocs is all-in-one document manager and reader. It can catch documents from any source you can imagine: PC or Mac computers, web sites, email attachments, iDisk, Dropbox and other online file storages and even iPhones. It lets you read all MS Office and iWork files, and you can even use it for some (very basic) PDF annotation. Its FREE for now, so try it out whether it has value for you.
September 13, 2012 – Task ($1 to free, iTunes link): Task is another todo list manager for the iPhone. Similar to Clear, Task’s user interface is heavily gesture based. I didn’t find Clear very powerful, but Task seems to do a better job of adding features while keeping the workflow very simple. As much as I can tell Task still doesn’t sync your tasks with a cloud server, but since it is free for today, grab it and give it a spin.
September 10, 2012 - Smart Office 2 ($10 to free, iTunes link) “makes creating, editing and sharing Microsoft Office and other documents on the move even easier through a contextual interface, drag and drop editing and sharing to email in original or PDF format and sharing to Drop box or Google Docs.” Judging from the looks of the screenshots I rather stay with Pages and Keynote, but hey, its free for two days, so I put it out here.
September 9, 2012 – Pinnacle Studio (Free for introduction, iTunes link): Pinnacle Studio, the next version of Avid Studio, is a new but already highly acclaimed app for editing your self-made movies on the iPad. It is like iMovie on steroids, so get it for sure while it is free (until September 18).
September 3, 2012 – iA Writer for Mac ($9 to $5, Mac Appstore link): iA Writer is a distraction free writing app. The iOS version has been discounted for quite a while now ($5 to $1, see entry from August 15 below), and now the Mac version followed suit. Mac and iOS apps are linked together through iCloud, making iA Writer a really great writing solution. I have written a detailed post about iA Writer here, so check it out and get the iOS and Mac versions of iA Writer before the price goes up again.
September 3, 2012 – Papers for iOS ($15 to $10, iTunes link): This is not a 50% bargain, but Papers is such a core app for academics that I have to put it up here. Papers is a PDF management system that allows you to organize, read and annotate journal articles. It syncs with its Mac and Windows “parent app” via WiFi. I have written extensively about Papers for iOS, Papers for Mac, and a comparison between the Papers and Sente ecosystems (its closest competitor). If you are not using a PDF management system yet, check out these links (seriously!) and start winning the battle against your PDF folder.
August 28, 2012 - ReaddleDocs for iPhone ($5 to free, iTunes link): ReaddleDocs is all-in-one document manager and reader. It can catch documents from any source you can imagine: PC or Mac computers, web sites, email attachments, iDisk, Dropbox and other online file storages and even iPhones. It lets you read all MS Office and iWork files, and you can even use it for some (very basic) PDF annotation. Its FREE for now, so try it out whether it has value for you. And if it does, go get ReaddleDocs for iPad as long as it is only $2 instead of $5. Readdle says the sale lasts until September 10.
August 28, 2012 – Video Camera ($8 to free, iTunes link): Shooting a video might be a good way to capture research ideas, field notes or discussion starters for your class. Your iPhone comes with one, but this one everybody says is much better and powerful. Is it true? Find out yourself with this free app.
August 23, 2012 – GrandView ($14 to free, Mac Appstore link): GrandView is a totally minimalistic writing app for the Mac. It is so minimalistic that it only shows you one word on the screen while typing. When you close a sentence, the full sentence appears on the screen until you start the next sentence. It takes a little time to get used to this, and I don’t like much how the font size is constantly changing when you are writing. However, for FREE means that you should try out this app for sure. Who knows, maybe it will help you to do your best writing ever.
August 20, 2012 – iAnnotate ($10 to $5, iTunes link): iAnnotate is another PDF reader that dropped in price today (until August 31). I am using iAnnotate myself, for all PDF that are not journal articles, and I like it. I don’t know whether PDFpen or iAnnotate is better on the iPad, but iAnnotate does not have an own Mac app, in case this is important for you. You can sync it via dropbox, of course, and you can make your notes from the iPad visible in any standard PDF viewer.
August 20, 2012 – PDFpen ($15 to $7, iTunes link): PDFpen is a highly acclaimed PDF reader for the iPad. The good thing is that there is a Mac app by the same developer, and both apps are linked with each other via iCloud. I haven’t tried it out myself yet, but I always thought it looked like a neat thing. Go check it out if you are not interested in PDF management systems, but you want to integrate your Mac with the iPad.
August 15, 2012 – iA Writer ($5 to $1, iTunes link): iA Writer is one of the best distraction free writing apps out there. It syncs via the cloud with your other iOS devices (its a universal app) and also its Mac app ($9). I have written a detailed post about iA Writer here. While I personally like ByWord more, iA Writer is a very solid app, and for this price it is really a steal.
August 12, 2012 – Presentation Link ($5 to free, iTunes link): This app lets you create and present non-linear presentations, which could make your talk or lecture more interactive. I am not a big fan of it, but try it out for yourself while it is free. Here is the developer’s description: “Presentation Link is a powerful tool to show interactive presentations on your iPad: Import existing presentations as a pdf or images, integrate videos and set hyperlinks for a truly touch-enabled, mobile presentation experience.”
August 10, 2012 – UX Write ($15 to $6, iTunes link): A new writing app on the block. I haven’t tried it yet, but they seem to focus on the academic market. This is their product description: “UX Write is a powerful word processor designed for working with large, complex documents such as reports, research papers, theses, technical documentation, and books. It allows you to focus on the content and structure of your writing, treating presentation as a separate concern.” Sale lasts until August 27.
August 8, 2012 – xPlan ($30 to free, iTunes link): This is a project planning app for the iPad complete with Gantt charts, resources, milestones, and so on. This is the developer’s description: “With xPlan, creating, tracking and managing your projects will be much easier than ever! xPlan is designed to keep track of tasks and calculate a project’s cost.” It is free because they messed up the latest update so bad that they call it a beta version. You can get this beta version for free, and you are encouraged to send in bug reports (which you don’t have to). Get it today, and enjoy it when they ironed out all the bugs (you will be able to keep this).
August 6, 2012 – OmniFocus for iPad ($40 to $20, iTunes link): A little while ago, OmniFocus dropped 50% for the first time in almost two years. It is a task manager that integrates iPad with Mac. Here is the official description: “OmniFocus for iPad combines the in-depth task management features of a desktop app with the advanced mobile experience of the iPad. With flexible viewing options, location-aware task lists, and on-the-fly task entry with voice notes and image attachments, OmniFocus for iPad is the trusted system you need for managing everything in your busy life.”
August 5, 2012 – DocScanner ($4 to free, iTunes link): With DocScanner, you can turn any document or white board session into a PDF by simply snapping a photo. Good for integrating your analog and digital workflows, and very handy if you want to copy just a few pages in the library. Note: It seems like that the developer made this app free to make good for a badly received update. Its free, so no risk here.
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