In my iOS 11 wish list for iPad and concept video, I focused on system-wide drag & drop – a feature that could reshape how iPad users move documents and data between apps. Readdle, makers of the popular Spark and PDF Expert, aren't waiting for Apple to add a native drag & drop framework to iOS, though. Today, in addition to the release of Documents 6, the company is updating most of their iPad apps with a custom drag & drop feature that simplifies the transfer of documents between two apps in Split View. I've been testing this functionality for the past week, and, even if it's not system-wide iOS drag & drop, it's been enough to pull me back into Spark and PDF Expert – at least for now.
Posts tagged with "readdle"
PDF Expert launched on the Mac last November, and in my initial review I was pretty effusive, impressed at the level of functionality, polish, and speed for an initial release. At the time I even called it "a better Preview for PDFs", and had made PDF Expert the default application for viewing PDFs on my Mac. Nine months later, and it all still rings true. Better yet, Readdle is today launching a big version 2 update for PDF Expert which makes it an even better and more powerful app. Now you can now edit text, images, and outlines in PDFs, as well as password-protect your PDFs in PDF Expert 2.
Since my original review in May 2015, Readdle has been steadily improving their email client for iPhone, Spark, with changes that addressed many of my initial complaints. Over the past 10 months, Spark has received support for HTML signatures, the ability to select multiple messages and send multiple attachments; it's even been updated with customizable swipe gestures and better handling of attachments from cloud services. And in the aftermath of Mailbox's demise, Readdle (cleverly) rushed to update Spark with full-featured snooze options reminiscent of Dropbox's email client.
What Spark hasn't gained over the past year is a clear business model and an iPad version. The good news is that at least one of these omissions is being rectified today with the launch of Spark for iPad, an expansion to the bigger screen that I've been testing on my iPad for the past month.
Documents is a good file manager for iOS: its options aren't overwhelming, it lets you organize files in folders with decent search filters (unlike others), and now it can be used alongside other apps thanks to Slide Over and Split View. More importantly, it comes with a built-in web browser that, upon tapping download links, will bring up a downloader UI to start a download, choose where to save it, and monitor its progress.
Since releasing our eBook version of my iOS 9 review yesterday, the question I'm being asked the most is how to download the .zip archive containing two EPUB files directly on iOS. The problem is twofold: readers need to download a .zip file and expand it, then choose to open one of the EPUBs in iBooks for iPhone or iPad.
The main issue is that Safari seems to do nothing when tapping a download link (such as a link to a .zip file) in a webpage. In reality, Safari starts the download invisibly in the background (something I mentioned in the past) without showing any indicator or progress bar: if you leave the tab open long enough, the download will eventually complete and show you an outdated Open In menu to send the downloaded file to another app. In our case, because the .zip archive is well over 100 MB, tapping its download link in Safari may result in nothing showing in the browser for several minutes while the download is actually happening in the background, without the user knowing.
For this reason – and this goes beyond our eBook – I recommend using Readdle's Documents app to download and manage files on iOS 9: it's been updated for iOS 9 multitasking and search, it has a web browser with a downloader feature, and it's free on the App Store.
With iOS 8, Readdle updated their PDF Converter app for iPad with an action extension to quickly convert any webpage to PDF. While the same can be done with Workflow now, I like that PDF Converter saves documents automatically into the app, which can store them in iCloud Drive (and thus on all your devices) without even launching the app after a PDF has been generated.
PDF Converter was updated to version 2.2 yesterday with iPhone support – you can now “print” a webpage to PDF directly from Safari with the tap of a button without having to decide where you want to save the file. In the app, you can tap an iCloud Drive button to open the iOS 8 document picker and switch it to other document storage extensions, and you can also convert the contents of your clipboard or files from Dropbox.
If you don't want to convert webpages or files, PDF Converter's action extension shows up in the Photos app, which will let you convert images to PDF documents (handy if you, say, want to annotate screenshots with full-featured apps like PDF Expert).
PDF Converter 2.2 is available on the App Store at $2.99.
With Documents 5, released today on the App Store as a free update, Readdle is seeking to build its own ecosystem of interconnected apps on iOS. By leveraging inter-app communication features currently available on iOS but mostly ignored by Apple's apps, Readdle is turning Documents into a centralized location for files, which can be sent to other Readdle apps and modified without creating duplicate entries.
Released today on the App Store, PDF Expert 5 is Readdle’s new version of the popular PDF Expert for iPad, a feature-rich PDF manager and reader that I’ve been using on my iPad for years. PDF Expert 5, a separate app sold at $9.99 on the App Store, brings a cleaner design for iOS 7 and, more importantly, new functionalities such as better document management, an improved sidebar and document viewer, Review mode, and more.
Last month, I reviewed Readdle's Calendars 5 and noted how, in spite of getting many things right with event presentation and Reminders integration, the app had been released with some dubious choices for Reminders management, date settings, and task creation. In particular, I noted how the way Readdle supposedly "enhanced" Reminders with a Today list led to more confusion than actual benefits. I concluded that Calendars 5 was a great calendar and reminders client with dozens of nice features and a good set of views, but that needed a more streamlined implementation of Reminders and reliable sync.
...for the professional who runs a small business, or individuals who do scan documents, just not so many every day, I’d seriously suggest considering Scanner Pro on the new iPad. The device’s camera will give you decent images — especially with good lightning and background — and the app works with the services many are already using for document storage and archival.
I have been experimenting with different paperless systems (I still haven't settled on a specific one), but Scanner Pro was and will remain at the core of my mobile scanning workflow. Every day when I get home, I fire up Readdle's app on my iPhone/iPad, take the receipts and paper documents I've collected during the day, scan them using Scanner Pro, and send them to one of the services built into the app (such as personal favorites Evernote and Dropbox). With today's 4.5 update, which I have been testing, Scanner Pro gets even faster and more intuitive thanks to real-time border detection.
It used to be that Scanner Pro let you take a photo and adjust borders for cropping a document by manually moving a series of controls around the area you wanted to scan. Scanner Pro did a decent job at guessing where it should place the borders, but they still needed tweaking most of the time. In version 4.5, the Readdle team has completely reworked the algorithm behind border detection to make it smarter and bringing it into the camera view as well.
When taking a picture of a document, Scanner Pro 4.5 will overlay borders directly on top of the object, with impressive results. In my tests (a screenshot of which you can see above) Scanner Pro capably recognized borders of paper documents against dark and light backgrounds, in both normal and low-light conditions. Because borders are detected in real time, you can move objects or place other items in the shot and view borders update within a fraction of a second without leaving the camera view. It's incredibly cool – but, fortunately considering the app's utilitarian goal, also efficient.
While Scanner Pro tries to automatically detect borders and offer its best take in the Save screen, you can still tap Back to adjust borders manually. This is a welcome option – the app now defaults to the Save screen after a picture has been taken and processed, but you still want to retain manual control in case the new border detection algorithm doesn't work properly.
It's not a replacement for full-featured hardware such as Fujitsu's ScanSnap, but for people who, like me, don't have exorbitant amounts of paper to digitize every day, Readdle's Scanner Pro remains a reliable, powerful iOS scanner app with tons of useful options. The new automatic border detection is a simple feature – but a handy one that's uniquely suited for the iOS camera.
Scanner Pro 4.5 is available on the App Store.