I find I review a lot of productivity apps for my iPhone and iPad and make lots of suggestions for others. I often get questions like, "why should I use this one over that one?" or "what does this app have that this one doesn't?" I find that it isn't so much how one is better than the other but rather how I use each app for different uses in my day to day life. I recently wrote up an example of how Evernote, Drop Box, Papers, and Instapaper work together for me that I wanted to share with blog readers. Enjoy!
"Productivity Apps- similar yet different"
There are many similarities to many of the GTD (Getting things done) apps rested in the storing of files and information. I think I use 5 or 6 on a regular basis but all for different reasons. The best apps, in my opinion are the ones that integrate with others so you don't have to reproduce things. For example, I use Evernote on my laptop to take notes (in class, etc.) and store longer text items (e.g. frequent flier information, etc.). I use Evernote on my phone to take quick pics that I want shared right to my laptop, out and about things like grocery lists, etc. that I want mobile in my pocket. Evernote on the iPad I use to review all those notes I've taken on my laptop, add to them or take notes in meetings (because all apps are in sync on the cloud). I use something like Drop Box for storing files that I'm working on (such as word and pdf docs for the current semester or things like my dissertation research) and I can open these docs in all kinds of apps on the iPad for different purposes- viewing online and off and editing and sharing. I use Papers (review coming soon!) for storing and reading journal articles that I plan to keep and reference for months or years- it's a Mac desktop app that syncs with the iPad and iPhone- if and when they expand to PC it's amazing and awesome and makes the iPad invaluable for graduate students.Something like Instapaper is cool for the in between things of reading on the web, email, newsletters, all this consumption we do with text from others and bookmarking it to read later or decide what to do with it (so we can close it from an open tab in our browser or delete an email newsletter, or clean up our desktop bookmarks- keep it all in one place). I don't know about you but I always find myself bookmarking articles in my browser that I don't really want to keep in a bookmark and forget it's there later but lack a place to put it (because we might want it later, right?). Instapaper allows you to do that reading on the web and bookmark it/ catalog to read later, or share with others all in a mobile way (i.e on the bus, sitting in class, etc.) I really like the "sharability" across people and all my devices.
So, they all yes can do similar things but they all do it a bit differently. Our motivation for blogging about all of these tools is that we want to put out there as much as we can about all the apps we use (because there are a ton and we're addicted) and hopefully people will try them out and see what works for them and what doesn't so we can be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of apps with others. If certain apps don't work for you, that's always totally fine, but it would be great to know the ways they don't work and ways other apps work better for you to engage in discussion around apps, iPads, iPods, Kindles, what have you. Looking forward to your own thoughts on this topic.