I’ve been traveling quite a bit this year, and I’ve come to rely heavily on a few different apps on my iPad and/or iPhone. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites that I haven’t touched on here already. (If you want to check out my previous recommendations, you can check them out here).
You’ll notice these apps are for productivity and travel than actual music-related apps, but for the traveling musician, you’ll need more than a slick looking metronome to keep you on your game. I no longer travel with a laptop, so I really rely on my iPhone, iPad and bluetooth keyboard thanks to these and other apps that make it possible. And hey, that reduces the weight of my bag, which is a very good thing.
I’ve tried many of the apps in the travel category and have come to love TripIt (universal). I actually pay for the premium service, which offers a few extra perks. I simply forward any travel itineraries to TripIt, and they automatically decipher and update my travel plans in the app and online. They’ll also monitor for price changes and send an alert if the price drops (so you can ask for a refund of the difference).
I love the way my itineraries are displayed in FlightTrack, plus I find the information available through the app quite comprehensive. I also like that it backs everything up to iCloud and adds all of flights to my calendar automatically, in a very intelligent way. This app integrates nicely with TripIt, as it constantly scans the TripIt site and adds new travel plans automatically. If you have TripIt, no other steps are necessary to keep you updated.
iUnarchive app has eliminated my last remaining issue with solely traveling with an iPad: the inability to deal with .zip files or certain email attachments or download links from places like YouSendIt. Previously, I was just out of luck until I got home to my computer for some of these things, which can be a real drag.
iUnarchive allows me to unzip files, store files, open them in other apps (like unzipping a large audio file and then open it in iTunes). And you can reverse it by creating .zip archives and emailing them from the iPad too. It also integrates with any cloud storage services, allowing you to download or upload files pre or post zipping. This is an extremely handy app while traveling without a “real” computer.
Atomic Web (Universal)
While I find the built in Safari browser to be just fine for everyday browsing, there are times when I’d like to save a web page for offline use (say, when writing one of these articles from a plane without Wi-Fi). Atomic Web is a great browser with the ability to fully download webpages for offline use (and organize them). You’ll be glad you have it next time you’re without web access.
PDF Expert (iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch Versions)
I was thrilled to discover this app one day when scrambling to find a way to sign a PDF contract and email it back. Not only does the app handle that, it also allows you to reorder pages of a PDF and add other annotations (not just your signature) to any PDF document and share it in a number of ways.
What are your go to apps for staying productive on the road (or any others that you find useful for life as a musician)? Tell us in the comments below.