Photo: Associated Press
The iPad fresh out the box is a pretty good product, loaded with all the best basic applications — mail, browser, and maps.But if you want to make it a great product, you’ll want to download some more apps.
While we’re sure all 55,000 options in the App Store have their merits, we’ve whittled it down to the first 15 apps you should download.
Apple will shove iBooks down your throat, but it's OK to skip it at first. If you're going to download an app for reading books, get the Kindle app. It has a bigger selection of books, for now. Really, it's not a bad idea to get both, but if you have to pick one, go with Kindle.
We thought we wouldn't use Instapaper on the iPad because the browser make reading long stories a breeze. Wrong! Instapaper is great on the iPad for reading long stories. If you're not familiar with Instapaper, it allows you to save stories from the web into a nice reader app.
When you get a gadget like the iPad, people are going to want to know what's so cool about it. This is one of those dorky, but neat, things to sate them. It's fish swimming in a pond. As you stroke the screen, fish move around. It's good for three minutes of entertainment. And it's free.
If you're looking for a newspaper on the iPad, we recommend the New York Times, because its free for now. The Times plans on charging next year. In our experience, it's pretty good, but it did crash a lot. It just got an update, so hopefully that problem is fixed.
But, maybe you hate the NYT? Whatever your preferred news source, there's likely an app for it.
Alternate newspaper apps: The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times are both really well done. But in both cases you'll be limited by a paywall of sorts. So, you'll have to pay a little. People like the New York Post app as well, but you have to pay for it...and it's the New York Post, which we like, but we realise isn't for everyone.
Some people in our family call the iPad the 'Scrabble Pad,' because we play so much Scrabble with the iPad. The app is normally $9.99, but the price was lowered to $0.99 for the holidays, so there's no reason to not buy it. (iTunes link)
If you're reading this around Christmas time, you should download the free Holiday version of Cut the Rope. We're not sure how long it will be in the app store, but get it while you can for free. Cut the rope is a simple but fun iPad game. And for free, you can't complain.
The piano app is another one of those 'it' apps. Even if you don't play piano, there's something to hammering on the iPad and hearing a piano. It's just a neat experience, and another good one to show people when they want to play with your iPad.
If you've never played Angry Birds, you should download the app. It's an addictive, fun game. The price is a little high (comparatively speaking) at $4.99.
If you just want to demo the app, or you want to save some money you have options. You can download the iPhone version of Angry Birds for $0.99. There's also a lite version of Angry Birds for the iPhone that is free. You don't get too many levels in the lite version, though.
With the iPhone versions, you're going to be getting slightly crappier graphics since the image will be blown up, but it's not the most terrible thing in the world if you really want to save $4.
These are the iPad apps we use and love. Everyone is different, if we're missing something, drop a note in the comments, so other people know what to download.
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