Even casual observers of the high-tech consumer electronics scene can't deny the impact of the new iPad. Since its release in March, Apple's tablet has left competitors in the digital dust: Apple saw the sale of 3 million units in its first three days. And new iPads continue to fly out of Apple stores and other retail outlets seemingly as fast as Apple can manufacture them.
The mojo for this third-generation iPad boils down to new bells and whistles, which include a Retina display, a new Apple A5X chip with a quad-core graphics processor, a 5-megapixel camera, full HD 1080p video recording, voice dictation, and 4G (LTE). It also boasts iOS 5.1.1, Apple's platform for audio-visual media that includes electronic books, periodicals, films, music, computer games, presentations, and web content. It doesn't do your dishes and laundry, but perhaps in some computer lab, there's a mad scientist dreaming up an app for that.
Speaking of apps, with all this new tech behind a 10" screen, we began to wonder what apps are optimized for the new iPad experience. To answer that question dealnews turned to Jamie Young, the editor in chief at AppAdvice.com, and asked her to whip up a dream list of apps that new iPad users will love. Note that several of her picks are available for all iOS devices, but particularly shine with the new iPad's specs. And luckily, many of these apps are also free, so it won't cost you much to take them all for a spin.
AppStart for iPad"The first app you should snag for your new iPad is AppStart," Young says. OK, so it's developed by Young's AppAdvice, but here's why she recommends it: "AppStart is your Swiss Army Knife for the iPad. From app guides and lists to general how-tos, everything you need to know — and everything you didn't know you needed to know — is in this app."
Price: Free, $1 off
Paper for iPad"Whether you're an artist or not, Paper will make you feel like one," Young says. With this app, you can draw in your own customizable digital notebook and get creative; the app is free and comes with with basic pen and eraser tools, but more tools are available for purchase. "It combines a simple, beautiful, and fluid interface with many useful tools to create a very polished product. It is truly paper re-imagined on your iPad."
Flipboard for iPad"Flipboard is a favorite news aggregator for many iOS users," Young says. Here's an app that really takes advantage of the souped-up visual quality of the new iPad. "The magazine-like interface looks even better on that Retina display. It makes reading your news and RSS feeds more enjoyable and easier on the eyes. You'll almost forget you're even reading news with Flipboard; it's more like flipping through a beautiful photo book."
iPhoto for iPadYoung: "If you don't mind a bit of 'skeuomorphism' in your apps, you may want to take Apple's own iPhoto photo editor and viewer into consideration. With this app you're able to view, organize, and edit your photos just like in the iPhoto software. Plus, your photographs will look better on your new iPad. And with the new iPad's more powerful processor, photo editing is quick, painless, and even pretty fun!"
Readability for iPadThis app is for folks who don't have time to read full articles during the work day. "Everyone needs a read-it-later app and Readability is just that. It's praised for an elegant and simplistic design, an easy to use interface, and beautiful fonts," Young says. "The [app's] update to support the Retina display makes reading the articles you’ve saved for later even more enjoyable on the new iPad. The interface is so sleek, and the fonts so crisp, you'll want to save even more articles for later."
iA Writer for iPadiA Writer is a no-frills, bare bones text editor that was created with one sole purpose: To allow you to focus on nothing but your words. That might sound ho-hum, but as Young puts it, "the interface is crisp and clear, taking full advantage of that new Retina display. Look no further if you're serious about writing on your iPad.
Price: 99 cents, $1 off
Tweetbot for iPad"Tweetbot is hands down the best Twitter client for iOS — and now it's on the iPad, with Retina support," Young says. Although using Twitter doesn't require a stunning visual display, "you'll never want to use Twitter any other way again. The gestures, user interface, and overall design make Tweetbot the only Twitter app you'll ever want to tweet from."
Star Walk for iPadStar Walk was one of the first amazing apps to hit iOS, Young notes, and she calls it "one of the most stunningly beautiful experiences you can have on the iPad." "You can immerse yourself in the cosmos and discover the galaxy around you, literally. This is one app you'll want to take your iPad outside to use and stargaze [with]. But be careful not to drop that shiny new tablet outdoors!"
Part of the fun in playing with the new iPad involves downloading a slew of slick apps that optimize the tablet's best features. While Young's expert picks are a great starting point, we want to know: what apps you think are the best designed, most fluid, or most useful on the third-generation Apple device? Let us know in the comments below.
Front page photo credit: ASME