iThoughts

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Minds Maps have recently exploded to become a major method of revision for students of all ages. They’re specifically thought in schools as a great way to organise different revision topics.  If you don’t know, Mind Maps is a diagram used to represent ideas, topics, words, concepts or tasks, all based around a central idea. iThoughts and iThoughts HD offer a powerful set of features, but are also perfect for students who just want to create simple, yet functional Mind Maps.

You would think that Mind Mapping just doesn’t work on iPhone, but it does. The interface on the iPhone works really well, with the menus disappearing when you are creating the Mind Map, while only being a touch of a button away. This means that’s it easy to use, and doesn’t become frustrating.  While the use of the keyboard might get a bit tedious in the long run, it’s still perfectly fine to do a bit of editing or for just reading the map. On the other hand, the iPad is the perfect content creation tool, and as a result, lends itself to creating Mind Maps. Again, the interface is great, as it’s even easier to access the menus, and the large screen is the perfect way to scroll and zoom through your creations.  On both devices, creating a Mind Map is easy. Even with all of it’s features, this is still one of the most well designed Mind Mapping apps available in the App Store.

It’s impossible to fault the app in terms of it’s support for import, export and other apps. This is because iThoughts supports almost every file format available for import, from both conventional Mind Mapping software to having the ability to take an outline from a text and turn it into a Mind Map, by simply pasting it into the application. I love this, as it means that I can take my notes and turn them into a Mind Map in seconds, without having to do any extra work. At the same time, the app supports a lot of export formats, and it’s great to be able to get an image or PDF of your created Mind Map, so that you can share it. It’s also nice to see that you can send the Mind Maps to other apps. I was able to send one to “Printer Pro” which then meant that I could print the Mind Map, all from my iPad!

For students, it’s really good to be able to display your creations on the big screen, via Apple’s HDMI Adapter, or AppleTV. It really could be the future of education. Instead of passing around paper copies, they could be shared and then uploaded for everyone to enjoy. It’s just a shame that we aren’t there yet, as the world is missing out.

There are plenty of syncing options, and all work well.  Sadly however, it’s missing iCloud.  This isn’t much of an issue as there are plenty of other places that you can use, such as Dropbox or Box.net. I also like how you can browse iThoughts on a PC/Mac when connected to the same WiFi network as you iPad. This makes moving Mind Maps to and from the computer a breeze. Unlike other apps, I didn’t find that the process was slow and there were no dropouts. But, for simplicity, and because it wouldn’t require any extra accounts, it would be superb if iCloud was added as an option. However, it is worth noting that iCloud wouldn’t be the perfect solution, as it would only enable you to sync between the apps, and you would have to use the existing options to transfer to a computer. I for one wouldn’t mind that, as they would be the only Mind Mapping apps that I would use, so I would be happy to just export as a PDF or image to my Mac.

When looking at iThoughts, one thing stands out to me, and that’s the developer’s dedication. Time and time again, he has added the newest features, which means the product is constantly evolving. Something might not be there now, but it probably will be in the future.

If there is only one thing that lets down iThoughts, it is the price. Purchasing both versions separately becomes quite expensive, and there isn’t a universal version. Even so, the level of sophistication and features that are contained in the apps make it worth it.  You sometimes have to pay for quality, and that’s the case here. If anything, it’s worth the purchase price just to help pay the developer back for his dedication, constantly adding new features and keeping iThoughts at the cutting edge of Mind Mapping software.

Overall, this is by far the best Mind Mapping application in the App Store. The amount of features that it has, along with the way that they are implemented is breathtaking. You might think you want the basics, but after using the app, you won’t want to be without the more advanced features ever again. It might seem expensive, but if you buy it, you’ll never regret it.

Rating: 5/5

– iThoughts HD: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ithoughtshd-mindmapping/id369020033

– iThoughts: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ithoughts-mindmapping/id294144368

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