The Hytech Lawyer’s updated iPad Application recommendations for Winter 2014 have just been released. Many of the favorites return, a few drop off, and eight Apps debut on the list for the first time. The basic criteria for inclusion are that the App be practical, useful for lawyers, easy to use, and among the best in class. If you think there is a great App that we are overlooking, please let me know- firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
DOCUMENT EDITING AND MANAGEMENT
Goodreader ($4.99 App Store)
One of the all time best selling non-Apple apps for iPad. This App allows you read and in most cases mark-up PDFs and many other varieties of documents. Also has a well designed document management system which permits multi-level document files (i.e., organizing documents by case/matter). Integrates well with Dropbox, email and many other applications. Aggressive development team constantly refines and updates the application. A must have for the serious iPad lawyer.
Documents To Go Premium ($ 16.99 App Store)
Another must have application for the serious iPad lawyer. Allows you to open, edit, save, email and create documents in the most popular word processing and spreadsheet applications to include MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and WordPerfect. The “Swiss Army Knife” of iPad document apps.
Pages ($9.99 App Store)
Apple’s proprietary word processing program. Most robust word processing App for the iPad. Converts Word documents for editing and then can convert them back to Word or PDF. Documents created in Pages can be converted to MSWord or PDF and shared by various means. If you plan to draft documents on the iPad, you will want this App.
FULL FUNCTION BUSINESS CALCULATOR
Digits ($. 99 App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION
Full function business calculator that keeps a running “register tape” of all inputs and results. Customizable. Great practical App.
FILE STORAGE AND TRANSFER
SpiderOak (Free up to 2 GB App Store)
SpiderOak does everything that Dropbox does, and more, but is much more secure. Your files are encrypted and SpiderOak does not have a key. SO DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD. To start out, you install the desktop app and select folders you want to backup. Once backed up, you can sync them to other computers/devices or create “Share Rooms” to share files with other users. Use SpiderOak for cloud storage (after 2 GB charges based on storage size), file transfers and collaboration with others. Last year SpiderOak introduced SpiderOak Hive that works just like Dropbox—only much more secure. In my opinion, a “must have” App.
Dropbox (Free up to 2 GB APP Store)—NON-CONFIDENTIAL FILE USE ONLY
In some respects, Dropbox is a fantastic App. It allows cloud storage and sharing of files between computers, smart phones, iPads, you name it. With this App, you can make a file available to all your devices by moving it to the Dropbox on any of your other computers/devices. It is incredibly easy to use. The problem—there are lingering questions about the security of files stored in Dropbox and access to them. Further, the terms of service are such that Dropbox can pretty much do what it wants to with your files. In my opinion Dropbox is not suitable for storing or transferring confidential and/or privileged materials. However, it is probably true that using Dropbox to simply transfer files, and then deleting the files from Dropbox post transfer presents minimal risk. I use it frequently for transferring nonconfidential files because it is easy and many applications are designed with Dropbox capability.
HANDWRITTEN NOTE TAKING
UPAD (4.99 App Store) (most natural handwriting and note taking)
UPAD allows you to use your iPad as a notepad for handwritten notes. I use it every day (with a stylus) in place of my yellow legal pad (although UPAD has yellow legal pad templates for those who wish to honor tradition). I have tested most of the popular handwriting Application (Penultimate (old #1 choice), Note Taker HD, Noteability, PaperDesk, PhatPad 7Notes HD Premium) and have found UPAD to be the easiest to use with the best file storage functionality and most natural writing feel.
Audio Note ($ 4.99 The App Store) (syncs audio with your handwritten or typed notes)
This is a particularly useful app that allows you to take handwritten or typed notes and audio record at the same time. The recording is synced with your notes. On playback select a word from your notes and the audio occurring at the time the note was taken is played back, with the corresponding text being highlighted. Great for witness interviews, depositions, meetings and classes. Caution:—remember the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.
Smart Writing Tool- 7Notes HD Premium (App Store 9.99) (Best handwriting to text conversion)
7Notes is reasonably capable at converting handwriting to text. This App has been updated multiple times and has evolved into a practical note-taking tool. My handwriting is horrific, yet 7Notes converts almost every word correctly. It does this by using a predictive language engine, which while generally accurate, struggles with proper names.
You have the option of having your text converted as you write, making corrections along the way, or converting to text later. In our testing, the text conversion was much more accurate in the “convert as you go” mode as compared to using the “convert later” feature.
7Notes allows for the exporting of documents by Email, DropBox (under the print function) or direct upload to Twitter or Facebook. Right now the export is in text, image, or PDF file formats, but the developer is reportedly working on an export to Word feature that could be useful. The App also integrates with Evernote with in App purchase. This integration was not tested.
Twisted Wave ($ 9.99 The App Store) (Best pure audio recorder)
Twisted wave is a professional quality audio recorder app that provides surprisingly clear sound recordings. It has an intuitive interface, which is easy to use and full of powerful exporting and editing features. Caution:—remember the ethical issues related to recording others without their knowledge.
PC TO IPAD MIRRORED SCREEN
Air Display ($9.99 App Store)
In my office, I have a dual monitor set-up I find to be very useful. You purchase the iPad App and download the PC host software for free. When on the road, I carry my laptop PC and an iPad2. Air Display allows me to use my iPad as a dual monitor for my laptop over a common WiFi network or via an ad hoc network. You can have an extended screen (screen view) or a duplicate screen. The iPad functions as a touch screen for your Windows PC. This gives you the option of using your iPad as a remote control for your PC or vice versa.
The duplicate screen mode could be also be used to display documents to a witness in deposition prep. The Lawyer on the PC and the witness with the iPad.
IPAD TO PC/MAC MIRRORED SCREEN
Reflector ($12.99 PC/Mac Application)– NEW RECOMMENDATION
Reflector is an application that you install on your PC or Mac. It allows you to use the Apple Airplay WiFi feature to mirror your iPad to your PC or Mac screen. This in turn allows you to wirelessly present from your iPad by connecting the PC or Mac to a monitor or projector. No need for an Apple TV. Great for teachers and presenters who may need to move around while presenting.
MEETING AND HEARING PRESENTATION APPLICATIONS
Keynote ($ 9.99 The App Store)
Apple’s answer to PowerPoint for the iPad. You can create presentations from scratch on the iPad, but I have found it more practical to prepare presentations in PowerPoint and then email them to my iPad. Keynote will convert PowerPoint presentations to Keynote, usually with only minimal tweaking required. As you might expect from Apple, Keynote has some neat effects for transitions, etc. If you want to spice up your presentation with animations, effects, cool transitions, and video/audio, then Keynote is the App to use.
SlideShark (Free. The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION
SlideShark is the #1 selling app for showing PowerPoints from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch the way it was meant to be seen – with animations, fonts, colors, graphics, videos & hyperlinks intact. Not quite as full functioned as Keynote—more focused on hassle free conversion from PowerPoint than adding bells and whistles.
TRIAL PRESENTATION APPLICATIONS
Trialpad ($89.99 The App Store)
In my opinion, Trialpad is the best trial presentation application available for the iPad. It is also the most expensive (although cheap compared to the cost of preparing even one foam board exhibit). Trialpad allows you to organize documents and display them via a projector or monitor system. You can highlight, redact, mark, and enlarge documents on the fly. It also has the capability to organize and share video and has a whiteboard feature. Documents are transferred to the iPad via Dropbox, e-mail, or iTunes sync. Trialpad is intuitively designed and easy to use.
Exhibit A ($14.99 The App Store)
Exhibit A has been improved over the years. It has the basic trial presentation functions (callout, highlight, marker and laser pointer). If you are not willing to shell out the dollars for top in class TrialPad, then Exhibit A is distant second choice trial presentation App for the iPad.
Explain Everything ($ 2.99 The App Store)
Originally designed for educators, “Explain Everything” is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere.
Create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer. Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, clone, and lock any object added to the stage. Add new or existing photos and videos. Import PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and RTF files from Evernote, Dropbox, Box, GDrive, WebDAV, Email, iTunes, and any app that allows you to open these files types using “Open In…”. Export MP4 movies, PDF documents, PNG images, or XPL project files directly from your iPad.
Explain Everything records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone. Import Photos, PDF, PPT, and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Email, iPad photo roll and camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration.
The potential uses for this app are only limited by your imagination. You can create an animation showing the direction of travel of automobile involved in an accident. You can import and crop photographs, add graphics such as arrows, shapes, etc. You can also introduce typewritten text or handwriting. In a nutshell, with the app, you can put most anything on the screen and manipulate it in real-time, while the same time recording it for later presentation in movie format. The animations can be displayed from the app or uploaded into Keynote or PowerPoint.
BEST TIMELINE APPLICATION FOR IPAD
Timeline 3D ($19.99 App Store)
When it comes time present a time line or chronology, creating a compelling and comprehensible exhibit can be a challenge. Recently, I was consulted on a high dollar commercial dispute submitted to binding arbitration. The lawyers, being cutting edge types, wanted to use iPads in their presentation. There were about 200 key documents, and key dates were critical to the disputed issues. I recommended they use the Timeline 3D App for iPad to display their key dates and documents.
Fastcase HD (Free. The App Store)
Fastcase HD is a free legal research application, putting the American law library in the palm of your hand. Fastcase contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and from the federal government. You can search by citation, keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections. You cannot print or copy in this free version, but great for on the fly research.
WestlawNext (Free, but need a WestlawNext account. The App Store)
Access WestlawNext features including, WestSearch™, KeyCite™, Folders, History, document notes and highlighting, browse database content and more — all redesigned for the iPad multi-touch screen.
LawStack (Free. The App Store)
LawStack is a portable rules library. It comes preloaded with :
- US Constitution
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
- Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
- Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
- Federal Rules of Evidence
- Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
You can buy additional references for a fee, e.g., USC Code.
FedCtRecords ($9.99 The App. Store)
This application that allows you to easily navigate the Federal Court Pacer system on your iPad. The application allows you to select the court you are interested in from a menu. All you need is your Pacer ID and either the case name or civil action number. You can pull up all general Pacer information and filed documents. Documents can be viewed and emailed from the Application. Once entered a case can be stored for future menu shortcut access. This App is easy to use and well designed.
Scanner Pro by readdle (Free. The App. Store) NEW RECOMENDATION
There are numerous scanner applications for all the various operating systems. They essentially make your smart phone or tablet a mobile scanner. My favorite is Scanner Pro by readdle. With this app you can easily scan receipts, whiteboards, paper notes, or any multipage document. Scanned documents can be emailed and printed, uploaded to Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote, or simply saved on the iPhone/iPad.
Business Card Scanning
CamCard (Free. The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION
CamCard accurately scans and reads business cards and saves the contact information in your iPhone/iPad Contacts. It syncs all your cards across smartphones, tablets, computers and the web app.
Skype for iPad (Free. The App Store)
The iPad App for use with the popular video calling service Skype. Call, video call, or instant message anyone on Skype for free. Plus, you can purchase Skype Credit enabling you to call landlines and mobiles at really low rates.
GoToMeeting (Free App iPad Store—requires subscription)
This is my favorite iPad application for video teleconferences. This is a subscription based service from Citrix. Very intuitive. Allows for control of the meeting to be transferred among the participants. Now possible to host a meeting from an iPad.
Teleprompt+ ($14.99. The App Store)
Teleprompt+ is a simple yet powerful professional grade teleprompter for the iPad. Perfect for speeches and presentations where you have a fixed script. You control the speed of the scrolling. Has a video/audio capture feature that records your presentation as you make it.
TripIt (Free. The App Store)
Allows you to manage and share your travel itineraries. Upgrade available by subscription that provides real time flight change, travel advisory and gate information. However, the free version is very useful.
PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO, CREATIVETY
Whether for fun or for work, there are several iPad applications that allow the creative minded attorney to produce high quality photographs, videos, audio, slide presentations and art work that a few years ago would have required sophisticated equipment and help from experienced engineers and/or graphic artists. Here are a number of my current favorites I have used and can wholeheartedly recommend:
AutoStitch Panorama ($1.99. The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION
AutoStitch is an amazing App that uses you high quality overlapping photographs to generate beautiful wide-angle panoramas with no visible seams. Easy to use and you can share your creations by email, facebook or twitter. Truly amazing.
360 Panorama (App Store $ .99)—
This App is incredible– allows you to create an interactive 360 degree photograph with your iPhone or iPad. This could be an invaluable tool for mapping out an accident site or crime scene. You can see an example photograph of a cul-de-sac I created in about five minutes using my iPhone. These images can be shared, flattened, etc. One of the Apps I use when demonstrating the “amazing wonders” of the iPad/iPhone.
Video Downloader Pro (App Store- $ 3.99) –
Allows you to capture download videos from the web and save in your iPad or iPhone photos folder. Once downloaded the video files can be edited in iMovie or Pinnacle Studio. I use the App to download copies of offending advertisements in my false advertising practice.
Snapseed (App. Store $ 4.99) –My favorite photo editing suite for iPhone and iPad. Allows the basic editing and enhancement of photographs and applying limited special effects. Easy to use and great for basic photo touch-up.
Lapse It (App Store – Free) –”Lapse It” is an award-winning full featured app for capturing amazing time lapse and stop motion videos (Available for iPhone, iPad and Android). It is easy, fast and intuitive. I have had lots of fun with this App, capturing cloud movements, traffic patterns, an ice cube melting, etc. Could be useful for a litigator seeking to demonstrate movement patterns over time.
Slo-Pro (App Store – Free) –SloPro captures footage at 720p 60fps, giving you twice as many HD frames to work with. You can toggle slow motion on and off while shooting for engaging fast/slow effects. You can also edit the fast/slow points after shooting. The app allows sharing directly to Facebook and YouTube. Upgrade to export to your camera roll and email. Pro users can also export raw 60fps footage via iTunes. This is great for capturing sporting events, analyzing golf swings and studying batting posture.
Pinnacle Studio (App Store– $12.99) –Pinnacle Studio is an intuitive video/audio App for the iPad. The app allows editing of audio and sound, transitions, titles and special effects. You can share your completed project directly to YouTube, Facebook and Dropbox. For video editing two separate audio tracks are available allowing for a music track and a voiceover track. I have used the App in my litigation practice to create quick and dirty deposition highlight reels.
Zite (Free The App Store). The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION
Like Pandora but for news. Design your own magazine to suit your interests. As the Wall Street Journal stated—”Great way to deal with information overload.” I use it everyday.
feedly reader (Free- The App Store). The App Store) NEW RECOMMENDATION–Feedly is a convenient and efficient way to browse and share the content of your favorite news sites, feeds, blogs and youtube channels. Instead of having to hunt down for news, feedly uses RSS to aggregate the contents of the news sites and blogs you like and deliver them as a fast mobile-optimized experience. I also use this App everyday.