A number of friends received an iPad for Christmas and have asked me for advice on which apps they should get. Some are using them for business and some for personal/home use. So here are my favorite apps that I recommend to get you started however you plan to use your iPad.
Here are my core productivity apps:
Evernote – I simply couldn’t stay organized without this unbelievable app. I can now easily find any note I’ve ever typed, scanned or snapped from my desktop, mobile phone or iPad no matter where I am.
Pocket Informant – this great looking app is now my calendar, my project manager and my task list. It syncs with Google Calendar and even helps me manage tasks using the Getting Things Done methodology.
GoodReader – a very versatile app which opens nearly any type of file. And it can connect directly to your “cloud” storage.
Flipboard – a whole new spin on staying informed. Industry news, tweets, Facebook posts…this app makes it easy to scan and read just what’s relative all in one place. It’s my personalized newspaper.
Pages – Apple’s equivalent of Microsoft Word. Good for typing documents or using the many included templates.. When you’re done, you can save your file in Pages format, Word format or as a PDF file. If you type a lot, get a wireless keyboard
Numbers – Apple’s equivalent of Excel. It’s useful for basic spreadsheets. However, for complex spreadsheets or where you’ll have many formulas, it doesn’t yet replace a desktop version.
Keynote – Apple’s equivalent of PowerPoint. Keynote has a lot of great features and makes it easy to create presentations on the go. You’ll likely find yourself creating your presentations on a desktop then using Keynote on the iPad to make edits and tweaks. It also imports and converts PowerPoint files.
Other useful productivity apps:
Fidelity – especially good if you have a Fidelity account, but also good for market news and investing research
CNBC – this recently released iPad app makes it easy to track your stocks without the need for an account or signing in. Just add your stocks and you’re all set. This app also gives you a good dose of market news and analysis.
W&Y Pages – (White and Yellow Pages) the quickest way to look up a business or person’s phone number.
USA Today – this app is just what you’d expect. News stories in a great looking app. And like most apps listed here, it’s free.
Here are some fun and useful entertainment apps:
Pandora – music you like whenever you like…and for free. Tip: if you use your iPad at home or in your office, buy a keyboard dock. This dock has an audio out jack so you can connect speakers.
ABC Player – ABC was kind enough to give us a free app where we can watch nearly any episode of any ABC show right on the iPad.
Yahoo Guide or What’s On – want to know what’s on TV tonight? These apps give you visual listings specific to your TV provider and your location. They even let you mark your favorite channels and shows, and set reminders of upcoming shows.
Netflix – if you’re a Netflix customer, this is a must have app. You can stream select movies directly to your iPad. If you want an app to manage your queue, check out PhoneFlicks.
Flixster – this is the best app I’ve found for movie listings near you. Check show times, watch previews, read reviews and even purchase your tickets (at some theaters).
Other great apps for specific purposes:
Weather Bug – I’ve tried just about every weather app out there. This one is my favorite primarily because it’s fast. Quickly see current temp, wind chill, radar and forecast. You can also see local weather/video cameras.
Beat The Traffic – headed on a trip or even across town for a meeting? Check the traffic before you go to make sure you take the best route. You can even view traffic cameras and construction work.
Zillow – ever wonder what the listing price is for that house down the street or in that neighborhood you like? Now you can see the listing price, interior photos and past sale prices. Zillow will also let you see how much every house on your street paid in property taxes last year.
ESPN ScoreCenterXL – for sports fans, this app is a must. Check scores, schedules, videos and much more.
Finally, everyone needs a break now and then. So pick out a couple a games. Here are my recommendations:
Cut the Rope – the first game app to challenge Angry Birds for best selling game in the AppStore. A challenging and addicting game with dozens of levels. Good for ages 6 and up.
Labyrinth – remember the wooden box with the maze controlled by two knobs? Your job is to rotate the knobs and navigate a silver ball through the maze and not let the ball fall into holes. Labyrinth is an incredibly creative adaptation that will keep you going for hours. Good for ages 4 and up.
Slice It – a simple yet addictive game where you must slice an object a certain number of times to produce a certain number of equally sized ‘slices’. This game is great food for the brain. Good for ages 8 and up.
UNO – want a game you can play with 3 other people? This is the traditional game of UNO. It’s well done on the iPad. You can even play over the Internet using Apple’s GameCenter. Good for ages 6 and up.
MagicPiano – A completely different take on the piano. Freestyle play or play a song from the songbook (it’ll help you a bit). Really fun for young children ages 2-10.
Well, I hope you put your new iPad to use! Have fun with these apps. I’ll share others in the days ahead. Feel free to comment on my recommendations or share your favorites for others to see.