There have been a number of blog posts written over the past year or so reviewing mobile apps for AEC. These get broken down into various categories.
There are a ton of apps for viewing 3D files. GoBIM, iRhino, and Sightspace 3D for Sketchup. Somewhat of a standard around 3D navigation has begun to emerge: pinch to zoom and two finger orbit. Apps like AutoCAD WS are also adding annotation features.
In the drawing space, Sketchbook Mobile has really taken the lead. This thing is everywhere! The experience is really satisfying and even people who do not normally draw can start to immediately feel a sense of mastery. GraphPad provides a more CAD-like experience. Not as satisfying as Sketchbook, but it has dimensions!
Architactile inception: A really cool name and a LOT of features. It fills a gap in the early design work-flow. But what about the mobile form factor does this leverage? And really? $500 for an app? The combination of high cost, rich feature set and minimal advantages to being mobile make this better suited for a desktop or web app, IMHO.
This is another area where I have not seen that many useful apps. Two in particular seem promising: Sun Seeker and See Breeze display the current and historical sun and wind data for the location you select (or your current location.) They have a really nice augmented reality view that overlays the sun path or wind direction onto your view using the camera (if available.) Both of these demonstrate an integrative approach to the device's features: GPS, gyroscope and camera.
3D Modeling is a strange beast. One would assume that innovative hardware + 3D = a plethora of great apps. But that has not happened? Why? I can take a stab: A tablet is no different than a mouse in terms of interaction. It is still the 2D mapping (screen) to 3D space. Actually, it is worse because although you are “directly” manipulating the object on the screen via touch, your big, fat finger is less precise and your big fat hand blocks about 1/3 of the screen.
I recently blogged about Autodesk 123d Sculpt. This app handles 3D manipulation well. However, it is an imprecise modeler (by design), which lends itself to the "fat finger" phenomenon. Trying to model geometry precisely, even for sketchy concept models? That is going to be a whole other ball of wax.
So which apps have you used in your practice? And by “used” I mean really used. That is, ranging from multiple times a week to cannot-live-without. Also where are the gaps in mobile work-flows for BIM? Where do you find yourself saying “I wish there was an app for that!”