The jury might well be out on whether it is "actually" a computer, but what cannot be doubted is that with the right apps (and a handy accessory or two), Apple's iPad Pro can indeed do a lot of tasks that were earlier the preserve of notebooks and even desktops.
It might do them a little differently, thanks to its very different interface (iOS is very unlike Windows and Mac OS, which you find on most computers, but do most of them, it will. So if you have invested in an iPad Pro and are looking to replace your trusty computer with it, here are some apps that will make it do just that:
1. Microsoft Office
Yes, you can get Apple's very good office suite of applications - Pages, Numbers and Spotlight - totally free of cost, but at the end of the day, most people in the world still use Microsoft's suite of applications for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Which is why we would recommend shelling out the fees for Office365 (an annual subscription) and getting access to the iOS versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
They might not have as many features as their desktop counterparts, especially when it comes to graphics, but most of the basics ranging from word count and spellcheck in Word to formulas in Excel are well in place, as are community tools for sharing comments, changes and revisions. And of course, you can also easily open any file sent in those formats to your iPad.
2. Chrome browser
The iPad Pro does come with a very capable web browser of its own, Safari, but well, most people use Google's Chrome browser for making their way around the Web. Fortunately, there is a version of the browser for the iPad as well, although you cannot make it your default browser (this being Apple's Walled Garden). But there are functions aplenty here, including of course, some very speedy Web browsing across a number of tabs (and you can open dozens of them without the iPad Pro slowing down even a bit) and a familiar interface. You can also synchronise bookmarks across devices, auto fill forms and passwords, and even use Google Translate to translate the content of entire web pages. Basically you can carry your desktop browsing experience to your iPad, with minimum fuss.
3. MyScript Nebo
The Apple Pencil is a very powerful tool for those who like scribbling and drawing on the iPad Pro. However, one feature that it lacks is handwriting recognition - the ability to transform handwritten text into typed text. This is where apps like MyScript Nebo come into the fray. The app is a very good word processor and note taking application in its own right but its very special skill is handwriting recognition, so you can actually write away on the device and not worry about people being able to read your handwriting, because the app converts it into typed text.
And the app is not just about writing - you can also use it to draw or sketch diagrams. You can also export your document as a MS Word, PDF or HTML file, making your work compatible across all platforms. There is a catch, of course, all this does not come cheap - it will set you back by Rs 599. But it does bring the Apple Pencil on to the write path like no other app does.
Download MyScript Nebo
4. Adobe Acrobat Reader
It might not be as easy to use as Microsoft Word but there is little doubt that when it comes to official documentation, Adobe's PDF format is among the most popular. Quite simply because perhaps no format comes as close to mimicking the appearance of real paper as a PDF does. So it is hardly surprising that most professionals use PDF files for legal documentation. And well, while there are a number of apps that out that can let you view PDF files on your iPad and even sign and annotate them, we would recommend not going beyond the official one. It might not throw in as many bells and whistles as some of the other PDF reader apps that you will read about, but it does the basics brilliantly - you can type entries into PDF forms, add notes and sign documents using your finger or the Apple Pencil. It simply works smoothly, almost never has problems handling any PDFs and last but not least, is free.
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
For many people, video editing remains the ultimate productivity test for any device. And this is where perhaps the iPad Pro comes into its own, for not only can it edit videos, but also enables users to do them with almost no effort and at no cost. Of course, there is an app that makes this happen and it is Apple's own - iMovie. What's more, it is totally free of cost. Features include the options to trim videos, move frames, add credits and even add effects slow motion and picture in picture. You can also add a soundtrack using the music on the phone or even add your own commentary.
And because the interface is totally designed for touch, there is no need to fiddle around with a mouse - you literally can select and drag clips from one part of the film to another using your fingers. You can also see your work on a larger display by connecting your iPad Pro to it. Apple has also thrown in filters and themes for good measure. Editing movies was never this easy or so much fun!
6. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Express
Yes, a full fledged "proper" edition of Photoshop is scheduled to arrive on the iPad Pro soon. But even while we are waiting, Adobe has a complete set of image editing apps for iPad users. And perhaps the best of these are Lightroom and Photoshop's lightweight iPad cousin, Photoshop Express. In combination, both these applications allow users to do most image editing tasks from simple crops and brightness and contrast adjustments to editing RAW data files. And best of all, most of the feature available on both the applications come free of cost - you just need to register (which is free as well).
7. Google Drive
The iPad Pro might be a wonderful device but one area where it tends to lag behind a conventional computer is in storage space. Which is it perhaps makes sense to store files and data online. And while there are a number of services that let you keep your information in the cloud, Google Drive is perhaps the most useful. You can not only store up to 15 GB of data on it (and an additional 100 GB at USD 1.99 per month) and create and share folders and directories, but thanks to the file manager like interface can even use the application to rename files. Sharing a file (which can be headache at times given the absence of a memory card slot in the iPad Pro) can be as simple as just sending a link to a person and letting them view and/or edit the file. Download Google Docs and you can even carry out basic editing on documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
Download Google Drive