So, after a tense few days pacing up and down, your beautiful new iPad has arrived! Life will never be the same again, and as a proud parent you’ll want to do the best by your little one, so stop by after the ‘read more’ to find our list of essential iPad apps to help get you through those first few weeks.
Whether you’re a budding Masterchef or a complete novice in the kitchen, the Epicurious app for iPad is an absolute meal-time essential. You can search for specific recipes, browse categories for inspiration, shuffle through suggestions for seasonal events or even tell it what ingredients you’ve got and it will suggest a meal. The required ingredients can be organised into shopping lists, and photos and reviews are provided to help you choose the right dish. This is a beautiful app that turns your iPad into the ultimate cookbook.
File system? Who needs a file system?! Dropbox for iPad allows you to view, open and even edit the files you have stored in your Dropbox folders. Files such as PDFs and Word documents can either be viewed within the app itself (which makes use of the screen real estate wonderfully) or can be opened in a more functional app – for example, PDFs can be opened in iBooks and Word documents can be opened in Pages. If you’re planning on traveling with your iPad then this is the perfect way for you to be able to access your important documents remotely.
Real Racing HD
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? So it’s important that your iPad is loaded with at least a few good games. The library of iPad-specific apps is growing steadily and the quality of many if them rivals what you might expect on a desktop machine or even a games console. One of the definite must-haves that is both fun and amazing to show off to your friends is Real Racing HD. This racing game, like many on the iPhone, uses the accelerometer as the controls, but on a screen this large the feeling of actually racing really comes across well. Heaps of fun!
If you’ve got kids, you need this fantastic interactive book from Disney. The illustrations are gorgeous and come to life with animation, music and a read-along voice. Along the way there are activities for the kids like colouring in, some simple logic games, as well as video clips and songs from the movie. If you like this free app and want more, a new Toy Story 3 version is available as a paid app. Your kids will love it, but you’ll love the joy on their faces more I guarantee it!
New Zealand Herald
Want a sumptuous news app for your iPad that isn’t from New York or London? Look no further – the New Zealand Herald app is here and it’s truly world class. Beautiful to look at, wonderful to hold, it’s great to see local content making the most of the iPad. For more details, check out our full review here but hey, its free – what have you got to lose?
If you need to get some serious work done on your iPad, iWork is a re-imagining of Apple’s productivity suite that has been adapted for touch-screen input and done well. If you’re a Windows user, you may not have come across iWork before, but think Microsoft Office with a much-more-Mac interface and you’re about there. The three components of iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) are sold separately at $13.99 each and while that may seem expensive it’s a fair price compared to their Mac counterparts. Files can be saved in either their native formats or exported in MS Office or PDF formats for maximum versatility.
Photo Frame for Flickr
The iPad’s screen is gorgeous, and pictures look stunning on it. So when you’re not actively using it, why not put it to good use as the ultimate digital picture frame? Using your Flickr account, Photo Frame will cycle through your Photostream, your contacts’ pictures, pictures that have been flagged as ‘interesting’ or even pictures that have been taken near your current physical location (determined via GPS). On the right stand in the right place, this can be a really neat touch to any room and a real talking point.
iPad User Guide (for iBooks)
A little-advertised fact is that a free iPad user guide is available from the iBooks store. True, the iPad is so easy to use that a user guide is barely necessary, but even the most seasoned iOS user could learn a trick or two from the guide. This is especially useful if the iPad belongs to somebody, erm… less intuitive. Like your wife. Or your mum.
Strangely, the iPad does not come with the iPhone’s weather app on-board, so it’s down to picking one from the App Store. Our personal favourite is Weather HD. This app is somewhat light on detail, but it’s so gorgeous! The weather at your chosen location is represented by one of several pre-loaded, beautiful full-screen video clips of clouds or fields or rain or… well, you get the picture. It may not win any awards for originality, but it takes the crown for looks.
If you’ve got a Mac or PC that you’d like to be able ‘use’ via your iPad, look no further. Logmein is an amazing remote-access program that will allow you to connect to any of your computers whether they’re on the same LAN or in another country. Check out our full review here.
Smule Magic Piano
Fancy yourself as a bit of a maestro on the ivories? Want to impress your family and friends by appearing to be the next Richard Clayderman? Well, Smule Piano is the best of both worlds. The app transforms your iPad into a piano with scalable key size, incredibly realistic sound and the ability to either play it ‘properly’ or have the music magically play for you as you tap the screen just about anywhere you like it. The effect is very convincing, as you’ll see here:
If ever there was a platform made for a great pinball game, it’s the iPad. Given that fact, it’s surprising that while there are a bucket-load of racing apps for the iPad, there are very fewpinball ones — however once you’ve played Pinball HD you won’t need another! There are several amazing tables with themes ranging from the Wild West to the jungle, and the graphics and physics are fantastic. Easy to control, hard to put down – you’ll want this!