iPad 2s were one of the most wished for items this holiday season, and I’m betting that there are many of you out there who were lucky enough to find a shiny new iPad 2 under the tree on Christmas morning.
If you’re new to the iPad, you’re probably wondering what you should download right about now. You’ll find some great choices in Apple’s own Apps Starter Kit, but we wanted to point out a few more apps that are worth downloading. Get these, and we guarantee you’ll fall in love with your iPad in no time. Be warned, though: You may not be able to put it down once you’ve loaded it up with these fantastic apps.
If your looking for great games to add to your iPad, be sure to check out our list of must have iPad games.
Instapaper ($4.99) – Even if you don’t own an iDevice, you may have already heard of Instapaper. It’s an app that allows you to save any web page to read later without internet connectivity. This is a great feature for those of you with Wi-Fi only iPads, and if you have a 3G iPad, use this app to save articles and strip them of annoying ad images and other extraneous content. Over 150 iPad and iPhone apps support Instapaper, allowing you to save articles in many popular news apps right to Instapaper for reading at a time that is convenient to you.
Zite (Free) – You’ll find Flipboard in Apple’s list of recommend apps, and while it’s a great web-to-magazine reader, Zite is even better in a lot of ways. You can select site categories that you’re interested in and explore new content that is offered by Zite based on other things that you’ve liked. The more you use it, the smarter it gets, leading to better, more personalized content every time you open it up. This is a great way to discover fresh new sites and stories that you may not come across otherwise. Also of note: Pulse, Reeder, Editions.
WolframAlpha ($2.99) – WolframAlpha is an app that you can use to find information on almost any subject. Sure, there’s always Wikipedia, but can Wikipedia tell you the number of calories in an M&M or calculate complex math problems for you? This computational knowledge engine can deliver expert knowledge and computations in mere seconds. Parts of the WolframAlpha engine are even used by Apple’s Siri, and with this app, you can access Siri’s knowledge and more in thousands of domains like algebra, calculus, quantum physics, aeronautics, life sciences, measurements, and history.
1Password Pro ($8.99) – Nearly every single website and service requires a password and login for access nowadays, and we all know that using the same password in multiple places is a big no-no. Keeping track of several different passwords can be a difficult task, especially if you’re using secure passwords with letters, numbers, and symbols. 1Password Pro is able to safely store all of your important information and even log you into websites with just one tap. Save passwords, credit card numbers, bank accounts, membership numbers, and more with no hassle.
Air Display ($9.99) – When using a laptop or desktop computer, it can often be handy to have a second monitor to work with. With Air Display, you can turn your iPad into a wireless display that extends your computer desktop. Watch a movie or browse the web on your computer while keeping an eye on Twitter, Facebook, or the stock market. The iPad’s display is able to nearly double the screen real estate of most laptops and netbooks, making this an invaluable app for those of you who have smaller computers and want to multi-task.
Dropbox (Free) – You probably already use Dropbox on your computer and your smartphone, so this is one app that you will want to download right away so that you can have access to all of your important files, photos, and videos anywhere you are as long as you have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. If you don’t currently use Dropbox, once you get this app, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. You can even use it to share photos, documents, and videos with friends and clients, no matter where they’re located.
FX Photo Studio HD ($1.99) – There are a lot of powerful photo editors available in the App Store that are able to turn your iPad into a portable photo editing device that’s almost as good as applications like Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom. FX Photo Studio allows you to add over 190 photo effects and filters to pictures, including vintage, graffiti, tilt-shift, grunge, sketches, pixelate, and more. Every effect is fully customizable and can be painted on any area of your photographs. Get this app and turn your pictures into works of art. Also of note: Snapseed, Photogene.
AVPlayerHD ($2.99) – The iPad is amazing, but one shortcoming is that it doesn’t have native support for video formats beyond the standard MP4, MOV, and M4V. With AVPlayerHD, you won’t have to worry about content that can’t be played on the iPad or hassle with converting files, because the app can play all of the major file formats like XVID, AVI, WMV, RMVB, H.264, and MKV. It’s also compatible with external subtitle file formats like SMI, SRT, and TXT. If you plan to use your iPad for serious video watching, this is an app you will want to have in your arsenal.
These are just a few apps to get you started. We’ll be following up with a list of the must have games and apps that your kids will absolutely love. A daily visit to PadGadget is also a must, to discover new apps at low prices in our Daily Deals. Looking for an app we didn’t cover? Want to find out the best cooking app, the best app for note taking, or the top productivity apps? Let us know in the comments and our app gurus will be happy to make some recommendations.
Also be sure to check out our list of must have iPad games.