Must-have iPad apps out of the box…

Jul 28, 2010

In the months since iPad’s launch, Apple and developers worldwide have delivered a dizzying array of applications to make this little tablet truly useful and indispensable. This short list represents the top apps I use daily, period. No fluff, no wasted space, no hyperbole. These are truly the must-have apps every iPad owner should install on a new device. Whether you’re giving an iPad to someone for Christmas, or been given one for a special holiday or birthday, this is the place to start on your iPad journey. I’m a freelance technology writer and an online marketing manager, helping serious researchers and students find and make use of the best online content found on the deep Web. My passion for all things computers/tech started when he was a teenager, working with my twin brother to set up a C64 BBS in our bedroom. That spirit of invention, exploration, and focus on interacting with and educating other technology users continues into my 40’s and beyond.

Daily Notes + Tasks

I live and die by my paper planner. Daily Notes makes it easy to make the move to an all-digital planner. Easily see upcoming dates, add entries into each day, add tabs, and much more. Clear, easy, and solid, and instantly makes your iPad part of your daily work flow.


NPR for iPad

Get all of your news, both in text and via audio stream, in this polished no-cost app. Besides listening to your local NPR station (or ANY station, anywhere) via streaming, you can also tap into all archived editions of your favorite programs. It’s time-shifting made easy. Will power your weekend projects and post-morning shower with the top news, culture, insights, and more.



For a very small monthly, all-streaming subscription to, iPad users can watch tens of thousands of TV episodes, movies, instructional videos, and more. Turns your iPad into a mobile movie theater and TV all wrapped into one.


ESPN – Get scores, news, and watch live sports

A must for all sports fans. Load the app, tweak it to display your favorite teams, then set up Push notifications so you receive real-time updates on scoring drives, game starts, final scores, and more. I always get a big smile on my face when my Chicago Bears score and I hear the ESPN signature ditty come out of my iPad’s speaker and display a small update right in my unlock screen.

READ  Movie Apps



This Apple app gives you the ability to create, edit, and work with word processing files on your iPad. Anyone who needs to create and type out documents on your iPad needs this app. Paired with an external keyboard, this app turns your new iPad into an ultra-portable laptop with full word processing capability.


Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine

Flipboard centralizes access to your social world, and organizes it into a slick format that makes staying up to date and in the know much more visually appealing and fun. If you’re a Facebook and Twitter user, and enjoy browsing the news, daily photos, and other content, Flipboard will be one of your most-used applications on your iPad from day one.



If you’re serious about Twitter, this is a must-have app. Makes reading tweets, user lists, and direct messages a breeze.


Words With Friends HD

One of the most popular social gaming apps, and for good reason. Easily invite friends from Facebook and other social sources to join you for a game of Scrabble. Take your time with each move, because this isn’t truly a live one on one game. Take turns filling up the board, fill in the chat box to keep in touch or talk Scrabble smack, and invite your iPod Touch, iPad, Facebook, and other friends to the party. I always have 3-6 games going at any one time.

READ  PreK-Grade 2 apps


Perfect Web Browser – Extraordinary Browser & Download Manager with Dropbox

Safari is all well and good. But Perfect Browser takes the iPad to a whole new level. I’m a multiple-tab fan, and love the addition of a deeper scroll bar on the right. I rarely use Safari since getting my hands on this gem, which stands out from the crowded space of alternate iPad web browsers in the App Store. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.


Friendly Plus with Ad Blocker

Every Facebook user with an iPad needs Friendly. This app is a custom overlay to your Facebook account, giving you instant access to your Wall, Friends, and more. It elevates the Facebook experience, puts round edges on everything, and brings new capabilities to the world’s most popular social network. You’ll bring it up several times a day, along with the main Twitter app, to get the most out of your social web.


Search for more

Home Apps Games