The first thing most people do after buying an Apple iPad$629.00 at Apple Store or iPad mini$329.00 at Apple Store is head to iTunes and start downloading apps. But with hundreds of thousands to choose from, where do you start? Apple makes recommendations, but who knows how they create their list. (If there was any logic or justice to it, the PC Magazine Digital Edition would top every list.) Apple also makes it pretty easy to see what is most popular, but does anyone really need three different versions of Angry Birds? For that matter, I think you can find the low-hanging fruit, like YouTube, Skype, and (ahem) Fruit Ninja HD on your own. Genius is great, but only if you already have apps to profile. If you want essential apps that improve almost everything you do with your iPad, start with this list of 10 killer apps.
Before I continue, I should say that this is my personal list. Although I solicited suggestions from the PCMag staff, there was no way we could all agree on the same 10. To make it concise, I had to make it personal. So any omissions are entirely my fault. That said, I think the list is pretty killer.
I had just a couple of requirements for this list. The apps had to have wide appeal among average users. Sketch for the iPad is certainly a killer app, but if your artistic abilities are like mine—the word "limited" comes to mind—it is useless to you. Likewise, the Bloomberg iPad App is the best way to track your investments, but, after a couple years of serious unemployment, precious few of us have those anymore. When I say these apps are essential for every man, woman and child, I mean it.
Before we get to the new winners, I should mention the Apps that are getting bumped from the list. They are all still great apps, but they just can't keep their spots the top ten. Instapaper is the foundation for all time-shifted content and a hugely important app. That said, Pocket just works better and is a lot more visual. Others, like Amazon's excellent-but-staid Kindle app, just seem routine at this point. There is nothing wrong with Adobe Photoshop for iPad, but Snapseed is both more fun and more social.
Of course, you are probably going to download and install many more than these 10 apps. Consider these apps an excellent and well-informed start. Click on the image below to start the slideshow and get my picks.
Snapseed (For iPad)
When you think about editing photos, you probably think Photoshop, and Adobe does offer a great version of Photoshop for the iPad. But I think you will get more value—and more fun—from Snapseed for the iPad. The app offers slick integration with Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, and it also makes post photos online easy. And Snapseed's filters and effects put Instagram's to shame. At $5 it is a bargain.
Pocket used to be called ReadItLater, and both services are based on the Instapaper platform for capturing and storing articles for later reading. Pocket is the latest incarnation and it is easily one of the most important apps on my iPad. There is way too much out there to read, and with Pocket I know I will always be able to, well, read Hp Hstnn-db42 Battery later. Deleting stories is a tad onerous, but it has plug-ins for all major browsers and works with both iOS and Android. It just makes life better.
You have probably heard about Flipboard, but I would instead steer you toward Zite. Instead of picking up content from its publishing partners, Zite looks at your Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader subscriptions and creates a compelling visual magazine for you. The pictures look great, the content is easy to read and easy to share. Best of all, the app is totally free.
Whereas Zite makes the most of your social connections and favorite sites, StumbleUpon helps you discover entirely new ones. You will have to set up an account (although you can use Facebook if you want to) and from then on StumbleUpon will bring you stories you would not have found any other way. And you can share your own as well. Think of it as a more mainstream Digg, before, you know, Digg imploded.
Packed with more than 25,000 recipes and some stunning photography, the Epicurious app makes for mouthwatering browsing. Just type in whatever you have in your fridge and the app will give you some ideas for dinner and create a shopping list for any ingredients you don’t have. What, you don’t cook? But you have to eat, right?
I will preface by saying handwriting on the iPad is not what you expect. The screen was built to respond to your finger, not a stylus, and you can't expect it to magically transform your poor handwriting. Even so, there are millions of people who use it with a stylus every day and are quite happy with it. The fastest way to find out if it is for you is to download the excellent Penultimate for iPad, buy a stylus, and start making your mark.
Free with $8.99/Month Subscription
Most of the iPad’s video watching experience revolves around iTunes, but NetFlix makes a great alternative. If you subscribe to the service, you can down the app for free and access the thousands of videos in their online catalog. You will need a strong WiFi connection, but after that you will have hours of low-cost movie watching before you.
OK, so I cheated here, iWork is really three applications in one: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, but they are all worth downloading. Even if you don’t think you will ever build a presentation on your iPad at some point you are going to want to open one and edit it. And page sis simply the best word processor on the iPad so far. Get Numbers just because you never know when accounting is going to send you an urgent spreadsheet that needs work. This will help you get work done wherever you go.
Download this $5 app, and you can turn your iPad into a side monitor for any Mac or even Windows 7 PC. The connection between devices is made using WiFi, so rendering HD video can be a bit sketchy at times, but it is fine for basic computing. Just create another window for IM, Twitter, or whatever and drag it onto your new virtual display. It is also a great way to get around that pesky “no-Flash-Video-on-the-iPad” problem.
Facebook and Twitter have great clients for the iPad, but Tweetdeck gives you one app to rule them all. Tweetdeck lets you view and update all of your accounts from one dashboard.