On Holiday Vacation’s eve, the Pure Vision staff miraculously came into a shipment of iPads, and no doubt spent the entire break searching for the best apps for their shiny new devices. However, as I soon discovered, the first steps into the iPad App Store and the inherent potential to waste precious dollars can weigh heavily on one’s soul. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of iPad apps that I think are pretty cool.
The official Twitter app for the iPad is my favorite way to use Twitter out of any other software or service for any other device that I’ve tried. The panels that slide in from the side make it super easy to view links, photos, videos, or dig down into conversations without hiding your feed. These panels can be intuitively dismissed by swiping them away. It’s also worth mentioning here that some Twitter functions has been integrated into iOS 5 making it easy to tweet things like URLS and photos from their respective native apps, so that’s cool too.
LogMeIn is a free service that allows you to remotely control your computer from another computer. I was skeptical of how the iPad app would perform at first, but my fears were quickly assuaged upon trying it. Everything from clicking to scrolling works really well, and everything is surprisingly responsive. In fact, if you wanted to be completely crazy, you could sit back and use your iPad as some kind of glorified mouse/keyboard hybrid. But don’t do that, that’s crazy.
Dropbox, for those who don’t know, is a free service where you can upload files to the cloud and access later from any other computer or device that you can get Dropbox on. With the iPad app you can listen to music, read pdfs, and view photos and videos. It’ll also let you upload photos and videos from your iPad’s camera roll.
Flipboard feels like the newspaper of the future. It takes your social feeds (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.), scrapes them for links, and presents them in a clean interface that you flip through like a newspaper. Flipboard also provides curated news feeds from various sites and organizes them into categories. Perfect companion for your morning coffee.
Showyou is like Flipboard, but made for video. Showyou scrapes your social feeds for links to videos and display them in a grid interface that makes browsing easy. It also offers some curated lists from various news and video sites.
The really great thing Amazon’s Kindle is that it’s not just a quality e-reader, but also a e-book platform. You can get Kindle on pretty much every major smartphone, tablet and browser out there, and the iPad is no exception. As with any other Kindle device, the iPad app syncs with your other devices to keep track of where you are in each book. There are also controls to easily adjust text size and brightness, and to easily jump to a certain part of the book. Certain contracts and – presumably – Apple restrictions prevent Amazon from selling books to you in the app itself, but your iPad has a browser that can do that just fine.
FaceTime is cool and all, but if you want to video chat with people who don’t have an iOS device, you’ll need Skype.
Comics/DC Comics/Marvel/Dark Horse Comics (All Free)
Last year I started collecting comics. I soon discovered that I have little room for boxes and comics in my bachelor apartment. At first I was skeptical about the idea of digital comics but after experiencing how they were being handled on the iPad, I was back on board. There are a plethora of comics apps available in the App Store, but I can only speak to the four I have listed above. The comics look great on the iPad and there are some nice options for swiping to switch from pane to pane, but you can also pinch-to-zoom and pan around at your leisure. Comics seem to be available on the day of release or at least the day after.
Jetpack Joyride (Free)
Simple and intuitive one-touch controls, great music, and compelling gameplay. Proof that iOS games don’t have to suck as long as clever and appropriate design choices are made with the touch platform in mind.
Bebot is best explained by seeing it, but basically it’s an app that let’s you play around with synth music and noises. It’s silly. I like it.
Infinity Blade II ($6.99)
It’s impressive that someone got a game built on the Unreal Engine to run on the iPhone, so it’s admirable that they went ahead and designed a game that would actually be fun on iOS as well as look spectacular. Without getting too deep into gameplay specifics, Infinity Blade II is an action game with RPG elements. You progress through the world by fighting enemies – that are usually bigger than you – in one-on-one fights, swiping to attack and parry and hitting buttons to block or dodge. Once you get into the groove it can end up feeling pretty intuitive. $6.99 can seem like a lot when it’s staring at you from the App Store, but to put it in perspective, that’s less than what I pay for lunch most days.
Maybe that says more about my eating habits than anything.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ($4.99)
Think Zelda, with awesome ambient music and controls tailor-made with the iPad in mind, and you’ll SORTA get a feel for what this game is. Play with headphones, as the game touts a self-described “audiovisual” style. One of the best indie games of 2011.
Hey, look at that! Most of those ended up being free. Just to be clear, this is only few of the apps that I think are really cool, there’s a ton more out there and always more coming. So, happy apping!