News, , , , , , , , — December 26, 2011 10:41 — 10 Comments

The best 50 iPad apps

Best apps for iPad
Got an iPad for Christmas? Here is our guide to the most essential (and not so essential apps to help you get started). There are currently more than 100,000 native iPad apps available, although, as with the iPhone, a big chunk of those are filler. But the good apps are really good: creative, innovative, imaginative, useful and fun. We know The iPad isn’t the only tablet in town, but for now it’s the only one selling in significant numbers, and these apps show why


JAMIE’S RECIPES free. Jamie Oliver’s recipes app is at its best on iPad, with a full-screen mode ideal for propping a safe distance away from cooking mess. Ten recipes and videos are included, with additional themed packs costing £1.69in-app.



MARK ON CALL HD £2.99. Subtitled “Home Space Planning Design Tool” this app wants to turn iPad owners into interior designers, with plans of rooms, furniture to move around them, and the ability to attach your own photos.



VEGGIE LOVE COOKBOOK 69p. Better Homes and Gardens magazine has designs on making you better in the kitchen too, with its polished vegetarian recipes app. More than 50 are included, with simplestep-by-step guides and a useful shopping list feature.



RIGHTMOVE FOR IPAD free. The house-hunting process can be a grind, even on the best websites. Rightmove’s iPad app simplifies (but improves) the interface, and like eBay and Amazon it makes a feature of larger photos as you browse.


AUTO TRADER free. Auto Trader‘s official iPad app aims to make the grind of scanning used car listings a whole lot more visual, with grids of thumbnail photos of cars with their prices, and simple filters to make sense of them.



EBAY FOR IPAD free. Why use eBay on an iPad if you have a laptop or computer nearby? The online auction service has been redesigned with a focus on bigger images and a touchscreen interface, making it the perfect way to browse from the sofa.



WINDOWSHOP free. Windowshop is Amazon’s attempt to reinvent its website for tablets, and it does a great job. As with eBay, the focus is emphatically on product images and flicking between items with swipes and other gestures.




TWITTER free. Twitter was so pleased with the design of its iPad app, it influenced the company’s relaunch of its main website. For good reason too: Twitter on iPad is quick and slick to use, and maybe even the best device for tweeting.



SKYPE free. Skype on iPad retains the features that have made the internet-calling service so popular on computers, including voice calls and instant messaging. It’s the full-screen video calls that make the iPad version an essential, though.



FLIPBOARD free. Flipboard wants to be your personalised, digital magazine, and does a great job of serving up articles that your Facebook and Twitter contacts have been linking to, as well as stories from your favourite websites. Now also available as an iPhone app.



WORDPRESS free. iPad is good for tweeting and updating your Facebook status, but it supportslonger-form social media too, including WordPress blogs. The official app is an elegant way to blog without a physical keyboard in sight.




FROG DISSECTION £2.49. Slicing up a frog – even virtually – may sound gruesome, but Frog Dissection has been praised by animal rights groups. Why? Because it makes an excellent alternative to the real thing.



GOOGLE EARTH free. Google’splanet-mapping service was born to be on touchscreen tablets, getting you to swipe and pinch-zoom your way around the world. It’s an impressive showcase for iPad’s computing power, particularly the iPad 2.



SOLAR SYSTEM FOR IPAD £9.99. Think you know about the solar system? This rich iPadbook-app may teach you a thing or two. It blends text, 3D planets and moons, videos, images and diagrams across more than 150 digital pages, to impressive effect.



BOBO EXPLORES LIGHT £4.99. If you have an 8–10year-old telling you science is boring, buy them this app and watch them eat their words. More than 100 digital pages explore lasers, lightning, reflection and the human eye, with beautiful production values.



STAR WALK FOR IPAD £2.99. This is great for making friends’ jaws drop as you show off your iPad: simply point the device at the night-time sky, and it identifies stars, constellations and satellites. A real showcase for augmented reality technology.



WIRED MAGAZINE (UK) free. Technology magazine Wired‘s US iPad app was one of the first to make heavy use of animation, video and interactivity. Happily for Brits, there is now an app for the UK edition of the magazine too.




CINDERELLA £3.99. A beautifully designedbook-app that will keep both children and adults spellbound. Lush graphics and sound are complemented by interactivity that always drives the story along, rather than feeling like a novelty.



JACK AND THE BEANSTALK £1.99. This interactive fairy tale will sit neatly alongside Cinderella on the homescreen of many parents, with similarly high production values. It’s part book and partmini-game collection, and captivating with it.



THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR MORRIS LESSMORE £2.99. This iPadbook-app started life as a short animated film, elements of which have made it into the app. However, this story is about storytelling itself, is aimed at children, and includesmini-games and playful interactivity.



TOCA ROBOT LAB 69p. It sounds simple: an app for kids where they build a robot then fly it through colourful levels, collecting stars. Yet it’s a real work of craft, and one that will delight your children for weeks and possibly months.



REAL RACING 2 HD £4.99. There are many wonderful casual games for iPad, but this shows it has hardcore gaming capabilities too. It’s a visually impressive driving game with multiplayer and a rich career mode giving it depth.


Angry Birds Rio HD £1.99. The most recent of the three Angry Birds games for iPad, this is a good introduction to the series that has spawned more than 350m downloads. The gameplay may now be familiar but it remains addictive.



SCRABBLE FOR IPAD £4.99. Scrabble and tablets are a good fit, with plenty of screen-room to show the board and consider your strategy. The iPad version comes into its own with multiplayer mode, including the ability to use iPhones as tile racks.



DEAD SPACE FOR IPAD £5.99. If you like your games to be hardcore with a sense of menace, EA’s Dead Space is just the thing. It’s a brooding adventure set in a space station, with stunning graphics optimised for the iPad 2′s powerful processor.



INFINITY BLADE £3.99. This hack’n’slash adventures graphics are stunning, especially in the beefed-up iPad 2 version. The gameplay is rich and rewarding too, as you refine your combat moves and level up your character.



PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES HD £4.99. Available on iPhone, but benefitting from iPad’s larger screen, this is supremely addictive. Fend off zombie hordes by careful placement of a growing collection of offensive and defensive plants.




NEWSSTAND free. Seamless delivery of your app subscriptions to you home screen, daily, weekly or monthly — Newsstand automatically downloads whatever’s new for each of your app subscriptions. And it all happens in the background, so you never have to interrupt what you’re doing. Sublime.



THE WASTE LAND £9.99. Faber pulled out all the stops for this iPad app of TS Eliot’s famous poem, with audio and video readings, copious notes and original manuscript scans. The text, though, remains its centrepiece.



BOOK CREATOR FOR IPAD £4.99. There are plenty of book-apps for the iPad, but this one is about making your owne-book. It’s simple to combine your own photos and text. Fun with children, but pro features including exporting books in the ePub format.



VEVO free. MTV doesn’t show music videos any more, but Vevo is the nearest we have to a successor. Its iPad app is arguably the best way to use the service, too, tapping and swiping to browse a wide collection of videos.



IMOVIE £2.99. It’s available on iPhone too, but Apple’svideo-editing app is at its best on the iPad’s larger screen, where the process of turning your clips into short films with soundtracks is far less fiddly.



BBC IPLAYER free. Already popular on computers, the iPlayercatch-up TV service really comes into its own on the iPad, with a slick tablet interface for browsing and searching for shows, plusfull-screen viewing.


IA WRITER £2.99. Word processing doesn’t come much more minimalist than iA Writer, but that’s the point. It strips out unnecessary features and gears its entire look and feel towards helping you concentrate on your words.


PAINTERLY £1.49. This is one of the most creative digital artist apps for iPad, with more than 60 virtual brushes to work with. Its key feature is the ability to import your own photos and then paint with their pixels.



SHAKESPEARE IN BITS: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM £10.49. As more students get their hands on iPads, so more interesting educational apps will come out. This offers the text of Shakespeare’s play, with academic notes and a full animated version to watch too.



GARAGEBAND £2.99. Apple’s own music app casts its net wide. Professional musicians can use it as a powerfulon-the-go recording tool but casual music lovers can take advantage of its “smart” instruments to make a tuneful din too.


MADPAD HD £1.99. MadPad helps you create your own “video soundboards”, shooting 12 short video clips at a time and turning them into a digital drumpad. Children, cars and household objects are all fair game, with social features to share your creations.



DJAY £13.99. Now anyone with an iPad and a half-decent music collection can play DJ on their tablet. djay offers a virtual pair of turntables, and it’s easy to create and record your own mixes.




Björk’s attempt to re-imagineher new album as an app is creative, ambitious and a lot of fun. Individual songs cost £1.49 when bought inside the app, with some taking the form of games while others are musical toys.


KORG IELECTRIBE GORILLAZ EDITION £13.99. Korg’s original “virtual analogue beatbox” was a seriousmusic-making app in its own right, used by Damon Albarn when making a Gorillaz album. Thisre-release includes samples from that to play with.



INSTAPAPER £2.99. It’s available on iPhone too, but Instapaper comes into its own on a larger screen. The app lets you save online articles and blog posts to read them later, making them available offline too. A commuter’s dream.



123D SCULPT free. This is a digital sculpting app: you pinch and rub the screen to mould virtual clay, buyingin-app theme packs for 69p each including “Medieval” and “Transportation”. A tactile and creative delight.


THE ECONOMIST ON IPAD free In keeping with the magazine’s brand, the Economist‘s iPad app is a model of elegant understatement, offering digitised issues for £3.99 each or as part of a subscription. The option to have articles read aloud is welcome too.



PAPERCUT £3.99. Papercut is an innovative attempt to find a new format for books that moves away from the idea of turning pages. You scroll through three short stories, with animation, sound and interactivity triggered as you go.



THE HISTORY OF JAZZ £6.99. Like Papercut, The History of Jazz is a book-app that ditches the pages metaphor in favour of something more interactive. In this case, it’s a timeline of jazz history, armed with biographies and song samples.


KINDLE free. Amazon’se-reader app narrowly gets the nod over Apple’s own iBooks, with fewer visual frills but a large collection of ebooks, including regular discounts and offers. It also syncs your reading position across different devices.



ZINIO free. Zinio is a magazine store and reader app with a wide catalogue of publications available, from sport and politics through to music and lifestyle. You can choose to buy single issues or full subscriptions.



SKETCHBOOK PRO £2.99. Published by computer graphics veteran Autodesk, SketchBook has quickly found a wide audience of casual scribblers and professional artists alike. More than 60 digital brushes are included, plus an intuitive interface.


500px free. Like Flickr, but better.  Enjoy the world’s best photos right at your fingertips. Discover exhilarating landscapes, cutest moments of wildlife, striking portraits and more. Use your iPad as a photo frame to show amazing photos with music from your iTunes library.


• This article has been updated from the original article The top 50 iPad apps.  Add  to our list, let us know your favourites or must-haves.

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.


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