Since the Apple iPad officially launched earlier this year, developers have been busy creating mind mapping apps for it. Like me, they view the iPad as a game-changing platform for mobile mind mapping.
Because several of these apps were early in development at the time of the iPad’s launch, I couldn’t talk about them in this blog. They have now been released, which means I can give you a more complete picture of the universe of iPad-capable mind mapping applications. I have divided them into 3 categories:
- Totally new apps developed specifically for the iPad,
- iPhone mind mapping apps that have been rewritten to take full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen and user interface improvements (such as popover windows), and
- Existing iPhone mind mapping apps that seem to play well on the iPad’s larger screen in their native form.
New mind mapping app for iPad
CrowdMap is a new mind mapping application for the iPad that enables you to to real-time map sharing and co-editing with other CrowdMap users. In other words, as your coworkers add content to a shared map, it appears instantly on your iPad. It supports colored branches, drag and drop for rearranging maps topics, panning/zooming, multi-touch gestures and landscape and portrait views. What it doesn’t say is whether or not it supports other important (and in my mind, basic) functionality, such as notes, hyperlinks and icons/symbols.
Desktop mind mapping developer XMind says it has an app under development but no other details have been released.
iPhone mind mapping apps rewritten for the iPad
iThoughtsHD is the iPad version of the popular iThoughts app for the iPhone, one of the best mind mapping apps for this wildly popular platform. Craig Scott, the developer of iThoughts, was the first to aggressively embrace Apple’s larger mobile form factor, as I told you earlier this year. A video on the iThoughtsHD website reveals that this new app contains a lot of valuable functionality in a well-designed package. You can easily add notes to topics, apply topic formatting to child topics, create relationships between topics, align child and sibling topics in a number of ways, and create tasks from topics and monitor their progress. iThoughtsHD makes excellent use of tap menus. A “keep organized” setting ensures that your mind maps are as compact as possible. The app also offers extensive options for exporting (via e-mail, wi-fi transfer and box.net) and importing (from Freemind, XMind, Novamind, MindManager, MindView and iMindmap). This looks like the app to beat, based on everything I’ve seen so far.
SimpleMind for the iPad was just released to the Apple AppStore, so there isn’t a lot of information available about it on their website. It appears to offer basic mind mapping functionality. One unique feature is cross-linking, which enables you to link any two topics in your visual maps. Developer SimpleApps has also announced desktop versions of SimpleMind for the Mac and PC, which I wasn’t aware of before. I’ll check them out and let you know what I discover!
MindMeister has been an innovator in the area of web-based mind mapping, and last year released an iPhone version of its popular application that can synchronize with and download maps from your MindMeister account. According to its developer, the iPad version of MindMeister is now undergoing final tests and should be submitted to the AppStore in a few days. Watch for it hopefully in about a week.
iMindMap released an iPhone version of its popular desktop mind mapping software last year, which offered the same organic experience of creating visual maps that adhere to Tony Buzan’s principles of mind mapping. Because you use your finger to create new topics, it’s closer to a hand-drawn mind map than any other app for the iPhone. ThinkBuzan has announced that it is developing an iPad version of iMindMap. Watch for an announcement in the near future about this promising new application.
Existing iPhone app, compatible with iPad
As of release 2.2.1, MindNode (touch), originally developed for the iPhone, is a universal binary application. That means it will work as a native application on the iPad, iPhone and iPad touch, according to developer Markus Müller.
iBlueSky – The developer of this popular, full-featured mind mapping app for the iPhone hasn’t announced any plans to release an iPad version. But according to several people on Twitter, it runs fine on the iPad.