iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads abound on college campuses, and for good reason. iOS devices are great anyway, but for college students, there are myriad ways in which an iOS device can make life easier. When it comes to studying textbooks, taking notes in lecture, or even waking up to start the day—chances are there's an app for that. There are far too many useful apps to count, but here I'd like to list just a few apps sure to help college students manage their busy lives.
Paper textbooks may still be king, but e-readers are increasingly creating a presence in college classrooms. Digital versions are not only cheaper, but more portable, making e-textbooks an attractive option for many students.
For iOS, there are a couple of dedicated textbook readers, as well as more traditional e-reader apps. On the iPad, Kno and Inkling are both dedicated textbook apps. They have slight differences (Kno allows textbook rentals, for example, while Inkling allows single-chapter purchases) but both offer rich digital textbook experiences, with embedded quizzes and integrated video and images in certain textbooks. Meanwhile, the Kindle and other ebook apps also offer some textbooks.
By files, I mean having access to and editing documents, PowerPoints, photos, and whatever else. On today's college campus, the average student has a lot of different files to juggle, be they assignments or lecture slides, and being able to handle them on the go is important.
Dropbox is my personal favorite for sheer ease-of-use: drop a file into your Dropbox folder on your computer, and then have access to it from your iPhone or iPod Touch. Or upload photos and videos from your iPhone and watch them appear on your computer. When it comes to always having access to files, regardless of which device one's using, Dropbox is king. (Don't forget to mark files for offline viewing from within the app.) I've also used Dropbox's shared folder feature extensively when collaborating on projects with other students.
Other apps to consider include Pages, the iOS version of Apple's word processor, and ReaddleDocs, a document viewer with support for lots of different file types. Meanwhile, Papers is a great app for managing and reading hundreds of academic articles from popular sources such as JSTOR and Google Scholar.
This is just a small sampling of useful file-management type apps, of course. An iPad might not be a computer, but it can still be eminently useful.
In a similar vein, there are also a lot of really useful note-taking apps, each with their own strengths. Some apps focus on syncing, like the ever-popular Evernote, which is available on just about every platform a student could need and supports notes in just about every format out there. Other apps like Awesome Note include to-do lists. inClass keeps track of courses and tasks along with notes. And for Dropbox lovers, there are plenty of apps that offer syncing, such as Write 2, a relatively simple app that focuses on functionality.
Obviously, the iPad has more options than the iPhone when it comes to taking notes. Check out Noteshelf, a gorgeous app that features handwritten notes, a lovely interface, and plenty of features.
Sleeping (Aka alarm clocks)
If there's one thing college students never have enough of, it's sleep. So, making the most of what little time is available is paramount, as is managing to wake up on time. I therefore have to recommend Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock uses the iPhone's accelerometer to detect the user's movement in bed and analyze their sleep cycle, and then wakes the user up at the lightest point in their sleep cycle within a given half-hour window. Sound too good to be true? While I'm not sure that it produces magical results, it certainly does go a long way towards making the user feel more refreshed upon waking. And any college student knows how valuable that is.
Some sort of calendar app goes a long way towards keeping a hectic schedule organized. Personally I use Calengoo, a robust app with many features that syncs with Google Calendar.
Why shouldn't an iPad be able to print files? Check out Printer Pro, another app by Readdle, that helps iOS devices find printers in the area and print to them. Another app to help students leave that heavy laptop back in the dorm room.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Don't forget to add some fun! Facebook, Skype, Pandora, Netflix...there are a whole host of entertaining apps, even without delving into the App Store's massive library of games. I'm not going to bother citing more specific examples (though our Editor's Choice section may be of interest) just because this category is so mind-numbingly massive, but remember that the iPad is far from just a work device.
These are, again, just a taste of some great apps for students in the App Store. Feel free to share your favorites in the comment section below!