11 Top iPad Engineering Apps

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Netbooks do the same job at half the price
ScotCan   11/29/2011 9:58:23 AM
We do a lot of concept work using RhinoCad which can be "translated" into all the high end CAD systems. A scaled 3D model is copied from the laptop into a netbook together with notes, spreadsheets, sketches AND RhinoCad itself. We then go along to the client and either connect the netbook to a borrowed monitor or project it to a large screen and carry out the design audit in house. Any changes requested by the client are added directly to the CAD model using the annotation facility in RhinoCad with the objects requiring revision transferred to another layer. Moreover, if the client wants a CAD copy of what has been done it can be transferred to the inhouse CAD system via the IGES or STEP facility built into RhinoCad. The netbook capabilities and portability and the keyboard are vastly superior for design work...maybe when the I-pad comes down to the price of the netbooks we'll give it another look.

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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Dave   11/29/2011 10:00:13 AM
I have to agree with Jim. After using my 24 or 25.5" monitor for design work most of the time, it is somewhat frustrating to use a 15" laptop when I travel, let alone a 10" tablet. For engineering apps like conversion programs and even language translators, my Windows phone 7.5 fits the bill very nicely and is small enough to clip onto my belt (much like my HP-21 calculator did in the 70s).

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How do Tablets fit into an Engineers world?
EdBolz   11/29/2011 10:16:23 AM
I'd love to get a tablet - but I just can't figure out what it would do for me, besides be very cool to have.  The App list illustrates that the only real function is viewing drawings, which could be very useful, but a laptop can do that better - even a relatively small one.  All the other Apps are available on the web, so even my Android phone can do them.  As someone mentioned, a keyboard is a must if I wanted to use it for taking notes, so there, again, a laptop would be better.  I saw a note about an engineer getting an Android tablet - is there an advantage to Android vs. iPad?  When I can get an iPad II for $500 vs. the MUCH less capable Android based Kindle Fire for $200, it seems I'd forever regret not spending the extra $300.  But, I haven't done either yet, because I just don't see it as anything more than a toy. An awesome toy.

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11 Top iPad engineering Apps
Stirwelder   11/29/2011 11:15:52 AM
I've acquired an IPad for use in my airplane as an electronic flight bag displaying charts and other data, and it is wonderful at that. I have come to value it as away to access the internet without all the flapdoodle associated with booting a computer. It is a great device foer consuming information, but not so great at creating information.

My personal favorite engineering app for the IPad (and IPhone!) is the HP calcualtor RPN emulating PCalc app. Many of us who embraced (in the 1970's)the HP calculator logic have always been uncomfortable using those addled "regular" calculators. I do not use a handheld calculator for extended engineering calculations much anymore, as I prefer the record and re-usability of a spreadsheet, but it is nice to have a serious calculator in my pocket or on my desk when it is appropriate.  

Curt Carpenter
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Instrumentation Display
Curt Carpenter   11/29/2011 11:33:59 AM
I can see a lot of applications for a tablet in field maintenance and on the test bench.

On the bench, the tablet could serve as the virtual display and control panel for a whole range of instruments connected via usb or wireless.  In the field, it could be used to interface to systems with embedded test and maintenance capabilities (like JTAG).  


I'd love to have one to start working on apps like this, but it will have to wait 'til they become a little more affordable.  Meanwhile, I already have a range of instruments that interface to my laptop, and their a big plus.


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Phone vs Tablet vs PC
brett_cgb   11/29/2011 2:01:27 PM
When you say "mobile", I think mobile as in a tablet, and very mobile as in a phone.

I always have my phone with me wherever I go, so whatever I use would have to be usable on the phone. If I needed an app that required a tablet or keyboard, I would use a computer instead - a tablet would still be too limiting to be usefull. Exceptions to that would be the touch interface really added value, a viewer that allowed me to rotate/zoom objects, or a virtual control panel using sliders/knobs/buttons/switches.

(I do not have a tablet, but I do have an android phone.)

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Re: How do Tablets fit into an Engineers world?
brett_cgb   11/29/2011 2:22:35 PM
The Kindle Fire is a limited capability Android platform, and may be a poor comparison to a more complete android device. My Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S) also includes TWO cameras, accelerometers, and a magnetometer, all of which the Kindle appears to lack.

(Why isn't there a spell checker and previewer for these forum posts?)

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Android phone apps
brett_cgb   11/29/2011 2:34:05 PM
Consider RealCalc (try before buy, $3.49). This is a virtual scientific calculator that also support decimal/binary/octal/hex conversions and operations, RPN entry, customizable constants, and customizable conversions (ie, add your own constants and conversions).

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Phone vs Tablet vs PC
Alexander Wolfe   11/29/2011 3:48:03 PM
Good point about mobile, Brett. The definition is/has become fungible. Mobile no longer means just a smartphone, which is what is still my default thought. In the real world, though, the def now includes tablets, and basically actually refers more to a mode of working than to the platform upon which you're doing the work -- the latter (that platform) being almost irrevelant. The one exception I would say is the (lack of a) hard keyboard, which limits input capability on tablets.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
TJ McDermott   11/29/2011 10:33:49 PM
I agree that the netbook would be better for creation, but I think the price comparison is a bit low.

One wonders why the convertible notebook computers (where the screen can be rotated 180 degrees then closed again to make a tablet) never caught on.  You have the best of both worlds (easy presentation like an I-Pad, full notebook when needed without an extra piece of hardware like external keyboard).

Maybe we'll see a resurgence of such a device.

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