Now that Christmas is over, there are many of you out there with a brand new iPad thanks to a loving spouse, parent, or relative. This week we have given you a list of apps, a list of accessories and a list of games that every new iPad owner should download, and today we’ve got a list of the must have free apps.
There are a wide variety of high-quality free apps and games available in the App Store, so you can load your iPad up with plenty to do before you ever spend a dime. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch be sure to check out TapCentral’s list of must have apps and games.
Find My iPhone – No, find my iPhone isn’t just for iPhones. This app works with the iPad as well, and it should be one of the first apps that you download. You never know when something might happen to your iPad, either through an accident of your own or the malevolent act of someone else. With Find My iPhone and its integrated iCloud support, you can track your iPad wherever it’s at (if it’s 3G or when it connects to Wi-Fi) which may just help you find a lost or stolen device one day.
iBooks – This is an obvious choice for any of you who love to read. You don’t need to own or buy any ebooks to get plenty out of this app – Apple offers a number of free books from classics like Pride and Prejudice to more modern offerings like children’s books. There are thousands of books in the public domain, which you can enjoy for free. And of course, you can buy new releases and plenty of other books in the iBookstore, and if there are offerings you can’t find, try the Kindle App or the Nook App.
Dropbox – 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.
Dragon Dictation – Dragon Dictation is a well-known and easy to use voice recognition app that allows you to speak your text or email messages. Using the iPad’s keyboard isn’t always the easiest task, especially for longer documents and messages, and those add-on keyboards can be pretty expensive. With this app, you can bypass both of those problems and dictate your information to your iPad using just your voice. This app supports a multitude of languages.
Slacker Radio – With this app, you can listen to free personalized radio stations on your iPad. You’ll have access to the entire Slacker music library with millions of songs from thousands of artists, and over 150 expert-programmed radio stations. Can’t find anything you like? Don’t worry, you can create your own customized stations too. You don’t need a subscription for this app, but if you pay a small monthly fee you can store stations on your device and listen even when you don’t have an internet connection.
Tiny Tower – This free game from freemium expert Nimblebits is tons of fun to play even when you don’t invest any money, and it’s become an addiction for many iDevice owners. In Tiny Tower, you run your own virtual tower, filled with businesses and bitizens that you must manage. Make money through stores, keep track of VIPs and special events, customize your shops and your bitizens with an array of decorations and costumes, and, most importantly, build your tower as high as you can.
Epicurious – This isn’t the only free cooking app available on the iPad, but it is one of the best. Epicurious features more than 30,000 professionally created recipes from magazines like Bon Appetit and Gourmet, plus recipes from renowned chefs and cookbooks. You’re able to save your favorite recipes, create shopping lists, e-mail recipes to your friends, and read and review Epicurious recipes to find the tastiest options for everything from cocktails to dinner.
Google Earth – If you really want to impress your friends, family, and co-workers with your new iPad, download Google Earth. This works just like Google Earth on the web, but it looks so much cooler in tablet form with touchscreen controls. Fly to far corners of the planet with just the swipe of a finger and explore high-resolution imagery of over half the world’s population and a third of the world’s landmass using images taken from global satellites.
Mint.com – Mint is the ultimate personal finance manager, and this iPad version will make it even easier for you to manage your money, create budgets, and keep track of expenses and bills. Quickly see where you’re spending and where you can save, and you’ll soon have plenty of money in the bank to buy a few great apps for your iPad. Mint.com automatically categorizes all of your transactions and bank accounts, making money management ultra easy.
Temple Run – This free endless runner is a recent release, and it’s both ultra simple and ultra addictive. In the majority of endless runner games, you’ll spend your time carefully avoiding obstacles from left to right, but in Temple Run, you’re behind the runner in full 3D, making this game stand out from a slew of other endless running games. Players will need to turn and slide to avoid obstacles while collecting as many coins as possible. How far can you get?
This is only a fraction of the free apps available in the App Store. There are thousands of other offerings, and you can easily lose hours exploring. This list will get you started, and if you need more advice, just leave a comment and our app experts can help you out. And of course, make sure to keep an eye on our Daily Deals, because apps go free every once in awhile. If you’re quick, you can score some great deals, and we always keep our readers up-to-date on the best sales in the App Store.