New iPad for Christmas? Download these apps first

Dec 22, 2010
Tech

Whether Santa left one under the tree or you bestowed the shiny gift upon your dearest with full intent to steal—I mean borrow—it in the near future, an iPad is now part of your life. Now, let the real holiday fun begin. If you’re transitioning from iPhone or iPod Touch, you’ll be familiar with the […]

Whether Santa left one under the tree or you bestowed the shiny gift upon your dearest with full intent to steal—I mean borrow—it in the near future, an iPad is now part of your life. Now, let the real holiday fun begin.

If you’re transitioning from iPhone or iPod Touch, you’ll be familiar with the basics, but the iPad App Store can seem vast, and tends to be significantly more expensive than when shopping for other iOS devices. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve rounded up our top apps below to help you get the most out of your new gadget.

I got my boyfriend an iPad for his birthday last month and he has used it exclusively to read comic books. You could do that by picking up CloudReaders (free), or you could explore the wider variety of entertainment options in the iPad App Store.

If you’re a reader of non-comic books, be sure to install the recently updated iBooks (free), Apple’s official answer to e-reading. Through iBooks, you’ll be able to read ePub and PDF files, as well as access the iBookstore where you can browse and purchase the latest best sellers.

Also see:

Best free iPad apps of all time

Best paid iPad apps of all time

Sports fans should pick up ESPN’s ScoreCenter XL (free), an iPad-optimized version of ESPN’s homepage content. Configure push notifications for score alerts or news related to your favorite teams, or watch live play-by-play and video highlights.

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For those with unlimited Netflix (free) accounts, the app of the same name should be on your home screen. Stream television and film to your device, or pick up watching a show where you left off on another Netflix-connected device. Queue management could use some work, but you’ll be too busy zoning out to episodes of Veronica Mars and Dexter to care.

Sadly for most, the iPad can’t be all play and no work, and you’ll probably need to be productive on rare occasions. Apple’s Pages ($9.99) is a great solution for word processing on iPad and offers a packed menu of features such as AirPrint support and full formatting options.

Flipboard (free), named Apple’s iPad App of the Year, has recently rolled out support for syncing with Google Reader, making the app even more useful for staying on top of your news feeds. Twitter and Facebook integration allows users to stay on top of all their social networks from one location, and the gorgeous interface makes using the app a pleasure.

All that work deserves a break, and no iPad would be complete without a few games (which is how I spend most of my iPad time, when I’m able to steal it away from the comic connoisseur).

My favorite game for iPad so far has to be Cogs HD ($4.99), a brain-bending puzzle that pairs strategy with spatial reasoning to create machines. The result is a good-looking, addicting app that truly increases in difficult as you level up through the inventor mode.

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Harbor Master HD (free) puts a nautical spin on the popular Flight Control HD ($4.99), which has users docking as many boats as possible before crashing and foundering to the bottom of the sea. While Flight Control has you simply land planes, Harbor Master gives you one free level in which to master docking, unloading and setting sail. Timing is everything in this game, and additional levels are 99 cents each.

Also see:

Best free iPad games of all time

Best paid iPad games of all time

When it comes to Angry Birds HD ($4.99), by this point you shouldn’t need to hear anything else about this game’s fowl and its swine enemies. This app is addictive. Stop reading this list and download it (and the rest I’ve mentioned) without hesitation.

Once last thing before you delve back into the features of iPad: Don’t forget to register for a free MobileMe account so you can utilize Apple’s Find My iPhone (free). If your iPad is stolen or lost, the service will attempt to locate your device as long as you’re running iOS 4.2.

Also see:

New iPad for Christmas? Download these games first

New iPhone for Christmas? Download these apps first

New iPhone for Christmas? Download these games first

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