Converting paper to magic on the iPad

One of the first things I did after upgrading from the iPad 1 to the new iPad was dash to the App Store to find a scanning app. I had already been using my iPhone to create PDFs from photos of documents, and I wanted to do the same with the new iPad.

I came up empty. I think that because the iPad 2’s camera was so poor, no one cared enough to create iPad-optimized versions of scanning apps.

But now, several weeks after the dawn of the the new iPad, things seem to be changing. Scanner Pro ($7), my favorite iPhone scanning app, is now iPad-ready. Version 4.0 is fantastic.

I really like the simple, intuitive interface for cropping pages. I can’t really describe it in words, but the cropping area just naturally moves with your finger. Very fast, fluid, and efficient.

Building multi-page PDFs is also very easy:

  1. Take photo
  2. Crop
  3. Tap done
  4. Repeat for each page

You can file the resulting PDFs into folders, email them, or send them to Dropbox, Evernote, and more.

Scanner Pro is blazingly fast on the new iPad. The camera launches almost instantly, takes photos quickly, and PDF processing happens in split seconds.[1]

Now that the new iPad has an iPhone 4S-grade camera, it functions remarkably well as a portable scanner. There’s just something right about being able to preview my scans on the iPad’s larger, Retina screen. It almost feels like I’m lifting a piece of paper off the table and into the digital world.

And this is just the beginning

I'm more smitten with the iPad every day. Just think: you can turn a paper page into PDF in seconds, open it in an app like PDFpen for iPad to annotate and sign it, then send it to someone. All without touching a PC.

I’m pretty sure even non-geeks could get excited about that, though I would need to observe one in the wild to be sure. I wonder if Chris Pirillo’s father is available.


  1. The makers of Scanner Pro also rebuilt the PDF processing engine in the iPhone version. Version 4.0 is noticeably faster on the iPhone as well.