From Desktop to Tablet: Four Apps Making the Transition Easier

Published On March 4, 2013 | App & Software

Since the iPad’s release in 2010, tablet devices have only grown in popularity and are now taking over the PC market. For the first time in more than a decade, year-over-year PC sales fell by 8.6 percent in the third quarter of 2012, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Comparatively, tablet sales saw a year-over-year increase of nearly 50 percent, as reported by research and advisory firm International Data Corporation.

Reimagining the PC

Despite the numbers, it’s still hard to believe that PCs are a dying product given their practicality in offices, schools and homes. A more logical argument would be that personal computers are undergoing an existential transformation to emerge as an ecosystem of connected devices.

Instead of a single desktop computer in your office, your PC system will consist of a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet and a smartphone, all of which are connected and constantly updating and synchronizing data via the cloud.

The Transition

Currently, one of the biggest obstacles to this new ecosystem is the lack of reliable applications with both a desktop and mobile version. If we’re to achieve a new system of personal computing, the transition from a desktop computer to a mobile device must be a smooth one for the end user.

For its part, Apple can be considered a veteran of this new market with its mobile app store and now the Mac App Store. Developers of iOS and OS X applications understand the need for simultaneous mobile and desktop applications and have been working to provide users with quality products. In fact, there are already a few options worth mentioning.

iA Writer

If you’re a writer, you understand the importance of having the right tools to work, namely the perfect word processor. iA Writer is an app that’s designed to create the perfect clutter-free experience with a simple layout of black text on a white screen. With versions available for the iPhone, iPad and OS X, users can begin a project on their phone, save to iCloud or Dropbox and resume work on their Mac. The best part is that the app’s design remains the same on all three platforms.

Chrome Web Browser

A Web browser might seem like an odd addition to this list, but Google’s efforts at creating the same user experience regardless of the device is worth celebrating. The desktop version is one of the simplest, lightest browsers available and the mobile version is equally impressive.

Like Safari, users have the option of syncing the desktop and mobile browsers. Unlike Safari, Chrome’s mobile version uses the same window for URLs and Web queries, has a nifty “request desktop site” feature and a more attractive incognito mode. Of all the browsers with iOS and OS X versions, Chrome offers the most seamless transition between the two platforms.

Microsoft Office and Documents to Go

iOS users commonly complain about Microsoft’s unwillingness to create a mobile version of its popular Office package. With the release of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, it seems even less likely that the company ever will.

Luckily, independent app developers have worked to create compatible iOS apps and Documents to Go stands out as one of the best. Completely compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, this app also works with Google Docs and automatically syncs data via the cloud. The biggest draw of this is app are the features that offer extensive editing and formatting options as they appear on the original desktop programs.


Apple’s entry-level video editing software is one of the simplest tools on the market. While the desktop version requires just a few clicks and drags of the mouse to produce a finished product, the mobile version is designed for equally simple multi-touch commands. Users of the mobile app also have the option to include audio and photos, add text and insert transitions. When it comes to basic video editing, iMovie is optimized for both mobile and desktop use.

— By Editor



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