App Review Tue: PDFPen 2 for iOS

Smile Software just released a massive update to their iOS app PDFPen. In fact, it's not really an update but rather a whole new app...PDFPen 2 for iOS. The new application is universal, so if you buy it once it will work for both your iPhone and your iPad. The previous iOS versions of this app were separate purchases, an iPhone only app and an iPad only app. So now there is just a single app,but there is something else really nice here about the new app. If you had previously bought either the iPhone or the iPad version of the original iOS apps then you can get the new PDFPen 2 for a discount. How? Smile is offering the new PDFPen 2 as a bundle and it is bundled with the previous version of PDFPen. The Bundle is priced the same as the full price of the new PDFPen 2 except you get both the original app and PDFPen 2. There are two bundles:

  1. PDFPen 2 Pack for iPad
  2. PDFPen 2 Pack for iPhone

So how is this a reduced price? If you had previously purchased either the iPhone or iPad versions then the price you paid for that app is applied to the price of the bundle. So in my case I had purchased both the iPhone and the iPad versions of the original PDFPen. The iPad version was more expensive, so I got a greater discount by purchasing the PDFPen 2 Pack for iPad bundle. So get the iPad bundle if you previously bought the original version of the iPad app, it will save you more money.

So what is PDFPen 2 for iOS? It is a very powerful PDF viewer and editor and all around great productivity tool if you find yourself doing ANY kind of work with PDFs. Some of the powerful new feature of PDFPen 2 are:

  • New iOS 8 interface
  • iCloud Drive support
  • Palm/Wrist protection
  • Ability to apply encryption to PDFs

So why might you need PDFPen 2 for your iOS devices? I can't answer that for you, but I can tell you how I use PDFPen. My biggest use-case right now for a PDF tool is for supporting my classwork. I am spending a lot of time on writing papers and doing research projects and in doing so I need to read a lot of materials. So here is my workflow:

  1. Perform web-based research and convert anything I find to PDF
  2. Save PDFs to PDFPen Pro on my Mac
  3. All versions of PDFPen I own use the iCloud sync option, so everything I just added to PDFPen Pro on my Mac is now on my iOS devices
  4. Read the PDFs on the go (generally while on travel), marking up the PDFs with highlights and notes as I go
  5. When I am done reading a PDF I append (*Read) to the beggining of the title so I know the PDF has been read
  6. As I am reading the PDFs I also make a mindmap in iThoughts of what I find while reading so I can use that map when I outline my paper or project
  7. When completely done reading my research I move all PDFs into Scrivener to begin outlining and working there

Is this the best PDF software out there for iOS? Maybe, maybe not. What I can tell you is that Smile Software is a great company with excellent customer support ever since buying their software I have had no reason to look elsewhere.

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