By: Hillel Fuld
So I have been getting a lot of feedback on my previous post about the issues I have with the iPad and apparently people got the very mistaken impression that I am not happy with the device. This could not be further from the truth and at the risk of definitely being called a fanboy in the comments, I will say that Apple did a phenomenal job with their debut into the world of tablet computers.
The iPad is not a perfect device. I would not mind having a camera or two, possibly a USB port, and maybe even a Retina display, but after a week of use, I can tell you with full confidence that if you buy one, you will never regret it.
After a week of using it, I can also tell you something else, there are some amazing apps available for the iPad and while the numbers are nowhere near the amount of iPhone apps available, I have pretty much found any app I could imagine ever needing on a tablet computer.
The following is a list of my 9 favorite iPad apps, and you will see, they are not all in the same category. Some are pointless and addictive games, some are serious productivity boosters, and others will just make your life that much easier, but the common denominator is that they are awesome:
- iDisplay: ($3.99): I discovered this app only a few days ago when I was looking through the website of one of my favorite iPhone development companies, Shape Services. What iDisplay does is simple and seriously awesome. It turns your iPad into a second monitor for your main computer (Mac or PC). This is something I have done many times at work and have always found to be a useful feature. The app works perfectly and could not possibly be simpler to use. Besides, to a person not familiar, it kinda looks like some iPad magic.
- Air Video: ($2.99): One of the complaints people have with the iPad and Apple products in general is their lack of flexibility when it comes to video content. Whether it is Flash or just different video formats, Apple is very strict when it comes to allowing video on their devices. With Air Video, you can stream all your videos from your desktop and view them on your beautiful iPad screen. You need to install the app and a server on the computer and within seconds, you are up and running. The app can convert video, save files, or just play them. In my tests, the app worked flawlessly.
- IM+: ($6.99) Every time I write a post about top apps on any platform, somehow IM+ is always there. It was true about the iPhone, it was true about BlackBerry, and now it is true about iPad. Basically, IM+ allows you to communicate with all your friends on practically any network. That includes AIM, MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, Skype (unique to IM+), Facebook Chat (a little bit about that to follow), and many others. The UI is beautiful and takes advantage of the large iPad screen. To be fair, I will say that Shape Services (same developer as iDisplay) gave me the app for free but if they had not, I would most definitely spend the money on it. Also, connecting to Facebook Chat crashed the app on multiple occasions, but from what I understand, IM+ is not to blame for that and the issue is being solved as we speak.
- Angry Birds HD: ($4.99) This app is hands down the most addictive game I have ever encountered on any platform, period. I would stop there, but to offer a little more information, Angry Birds is a game in which you throw (is it called to throw when you use a slingshot?) angry birds at pigs to try and eliminate the pigs. Sounds dumb, huh? I dare you to try this game and not get addicted. If you download Angry Birds and do not love it, money back guarantee (Disclaimer: If you do not like the game, go seek help but I am not really going to return your money). There are different types of birds, each with their own flying and destroying abilities and the game has many levels. I am up to level 21 and there is a whole lore more to go.
- Dropbox: (FREE) If you are not familiar with Dropbox, you are missing out on one of the best Web services of the last decade. Dropbox allows you to keep your files in sync across multiple computers/devices. I use it to access my work files on my home computer, my BlackBerry, iPod Touch, and iPad. The files are available on all those platforms and always remain in sync since the actions take place over the internet and not on your computer’s hard drive. To best describe Dropbox, I would say it is your Windows Explorer (you know the place you access all your files in Windows? Not to be confused with Internet Explorer!) in the cloud. One of the most important apps on the iPad and it is completely free.
- Real Racing HD: ($9.99) This is the most expensive app I have ever paid for and after using it for a week now, I can say it was worth every penny. Real Racing HD is a racing game optimized for the iPad’s stunning screen. The graphics are unparalleled and the racing is competitive and exciting. You can race against the computer, nearby friends over Wifi, or other drivers in a global network. As you achieve results in your races, you unlock new cars and tracks, which gives you more of an incentive to succeed. The game has managed to get the same reaction from everyone who has seen or tried it, and they all say the same thing: “Wow!”
- iBooks: (FREE) This is a no brainer and probably the first thing every iPad owner downloads. It is in every iPad commercial and it is free so I do not need to convince anyone. However, I will add that Apple did an amazing job with the whole eBook experience on the iPad with the Apple iBook Store as well as the Kindle app, I am not really sure why anyone would still go out and buy a Kindle. The bookshelf look is sure to impress the less geeky among us and putting aside the actual reading, if you are looking to justify your purchase of the iPad to someone and cool sports cars don’t do it for them, try the iBooks app, that is sure to blow them away.
- Beejive: ($9.99): Beejive, just like IM+ is a leading app in the instant messaging arena. I love the app on iPhone and BlackBerry, and the iPad app is also great. For the sake of transparency, I will say that the developers sent me the app for free. Now, here is the thing about Beejive. It works! It is stable and does not have any crashing problems or bugs I experienced. It also supports multiple protocols such as AIM, MSN, Gtalk, Facebook, and many more, but Skype is not supported, which for me is a big drawback. I have to be honest, I prefer the IM+ interface, but I found Beejive to be more stable in my tests. So this is a close call, but whether you choose Beejive or IM+, you will not be disappointed.
- Osfoora HD: ($3.99) While there are probably close to a hundred Twitter apps on the App Store, Osfoora is hands down the nicest one. The features are all there and on that front, Osfoora HD can compete with the best of the Twitter apps, but where it blows away its competition is its design. I am not going to try and describe the UI to you because you gotta see it to believe it, but trust me, it is designed to perfection. In terms of its features, to just name a few, it has multiple account support, full landscape support, Auto Refresh, full Twitter list integration, advanced drafts manager, support for Twitlonger, both types of RTs, Instapaper, threaded DMs, and a whole lot more. The two options Osfoora HD is missing in my opinion is the ability to customize the main bar and remove or add icons as well as support for push notifications, but I guess you can’t win em all.
In conclusion, the above list is the result of my week long shopping spree in the App Store. There are many more great apps on the iPad and if you want some more recommendations, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (follow me here). All in all, to the people that say the iPad is a device they would have no use for, I say with all these apps and the other ten thousands apps available, 90% of what I do on my computer, I can do on my iPad, just in a more visually appealing manner.
If you have great iPad apps I did not mention, please share them in the comments!