Mark your calendars! Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 today and revealed that the next generation tablet will begin shipping on March 11. The latest iPad is 33% thinner than its predecessor with many new features like front and rear video cameras, dual-core processors that make graphics nine times faster, 1080p HDMI video output... and the best part: the iPad will remain the same price.
It's been nearly a year since the first generation iPad was launched by Apple, offering 65,000 apps that are revolutionizing the way we consume information, conduct business and interact with each other. In 2010 alone, an estimated 15 million tablets were sold in the nine months it was on the market. With eco-friendly attributes like a 10-hour battery life, a recycled aluminum and glass exterior, and a mercury-free LED display, the iPad has proven itself to be a product both greenies and techies can salivate over.
So, what time like the present to spotlight some fun and innovative apps that will decrease the amount of paper you have to use for both business and pleasure. Remember, each American is responsible for blowing through about 800 pounds of paper every year (though there's still debate over the environmental benefits of tablet computing).
With that, we offer some of our favorite ways to make the iPad more eco-friendly, namely by using it rather than paper-based alternatives.
Send sweet nothings to the one you love or simply cheer a friend up who is having a bad day. This creative app allows you to personalize greetings with your own digital photos and even contains a special algorithm to give you the exact wording if you're not exactly a natural poet. You can also choose from different word themes like Love, Sadness and Passion, as well as a variety of font styles and colors. When you're all done, you can directly email your masterpiece to instantly brighten that special someone's day.
Get rid of those clunky cookbooks taking up space in your kitchen and prop your iPad up on the kitchen counter the next time you want to put on your chef's hat. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman has over 2,000 recipes and 400 how-to illustrations available in this digital adaptation of his bestselling cookbook. You'll also find handy built-in timers placed throughout recipe steps and well organized shopping lists that make it easy to see what you need to buy or scan for in your cabinets. Bittman also offers a nice range of cooking options like Quick Dinners for that on-the-go person who is balancing a hectic schedule.
This digital bookshelf allows you to download everything from current bestsellers like Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy to classics like Herman Melville's Moby Dick. You're free to add bookmarks or notes to your favorite passages and can sample any book for free before deciding to give it a permanent place in your collection. A complimentary copy of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Mine comes included and is perfect for parents who want to build a children's section for their little ones. There's even a convenient option to adjust screen brightness when reading before bedtime. High school and college students will benefit for any English Lit classes requiring a lot of reading and writing, this certainly lightens the load of books that need to be carried around.
We also recommend checking out the list of 23,469 Classics To Go, which gives users the ability to download free copies of works in the public domain, including plays by the great William Shakespeare!
Perfect for the professional who is constantly wasting paper printing out a new contract to sign by the minute or the Average Joe who has to give the occasional initial and John Hancock to seal the deal. Sign My Pad can load PDF's straight from your email, giving you the ability to add on text, dates and of course that all-important signature. This app provides a simple way to go green, whether you're getting a few documents signed for the year or a hundred each month.
Are you one of those people who find yourself making lists for everything and going through notebooks faster than it takes to cut a tree down? With this nifty app you can type up lists for that shopping trip to the mall or grocery store, brainstorm gift ideas for birthdays and holidays, or simply keep track of errands to do before that next vacation. To keep up with progress, one cool feature is the ability to check off tasks as you complete them so you never lose track of how close you are to accomplishing your goals. You can send lists out via email to anyone else who may need reminding, and you also have the option of backing up your lists via email or transferring them to an iPhone or iPod Touch. The clean and elegant interface keeps things stress free and without the messiness of digging through a planner full of scribbles.
You can still read your favorite magazine or newspaper, but now you can do it without buying the print editions and trashing them the minute you're done flipping through. Read daily editions of The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times during your morning coffee without getting ink-stained hands or check out your favorite magazines like Esquire and Cosmopolitan, which have cool interactive features unique to each digital edition. Plus, you can save favorite issues just as easily without having stacks of magazines and article clippings piling up in your spare rooms or closets.
Whether you're in a meeting, two-hour lecture or conducting an interview, this app tracks what you type or draw while recording audio so you don't miss out on any of the important details. To playback, simply tap a word and Sound Note will skip to that moment in the audio recording giving you the playback you need to fill in any gapsthis could be especially useful for students who have a propensity to fall asleep in class and need that extra safety net (although we recommend staying awake!). For those who do lots of interviews, you have the ability to jump right to a preferred piece of audio by simply tapping a word from the quote you want. The combination of writing and recording not only cuts down on everything you have to carry around, but your writing and recordings also transfer seamlessly to your Mac or PC for convenient storage.
Now, you may think we're stretching here, but do you remember what the money in Monopoly is made with? Paper! So, go digital, go green, and relive your childhood with this interactive edition of America's favorite board game. You can play with up to three other players or by yourself on four levels of difficulty from Very Easy to Hard. To make things even more interesting, you could also connect multiple devices to play with up to four players via WiFi or Head-to-Head Bluetooth. Maybe you'll finally get that Boardwalk, after all.
Keep track of all those bills you do with this slick app, which keeps you organized with customizable lists. You can organize your expenditures into categories, sub-categories and payment typesallowing you to sort by date, category, payment type or client. Another plus is the ability to email and export expense files with accompanying photo receipts (captured easily with a cell phone) to your desktop. If you travel often, Xpense Tracker backs you up by downloading daily exchange rates and will even do the calculations for you so you can stay on top of the latest conversions, giving you the knowledge to spend responsibly. In addition, there is a mileage log for those business people who are constantly on the road and need to keep track of distance in an easy, effective manner.
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