10 Apps That Make Magic on Your iPad
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad and referred to it as a magical device, lots of people snickered.
Most iPad owners will tell you that it can indeed inspire the kind of astonishment you might have felt while watching your first magic show — that is, if the device is properly loaded.
Here are my 10 favorite apps, plus a few extras to make the iPad magic happen:
¶IWork ($30, or $10 each for Pages, Keynote or Numbers): Since you can’t type easily on an iPad, it may never replace your laptop. But with this software, which is made by Apple , you won’t need to rush to your other computers to edit Microsoft Office files. The Pages app is great for revising and exporting text files; the Numbers app is good (and getting better) with spreadsheets; and Keynote is a serviceable complement to PowerPoint.
¶Air Display ($10): Turn your iPad screen into an extra PC monitor with Air Display, and never again miss a new Twitter post, Facebook post or stock market move.
¶Flipboard (free): Twitter and Facebook rely on NSOT (new-stuff-on-top) layouts, with links that send you elsewhere to see what people are fussing about. Flipboard rationalizes this editorial insanity. The app plops your Facebook feed into a magazine format, showing all the stories your friends recommended, with photos and updates. You can create other personalized magazines from Twitter feeds, on topics of your choice.
¶Star Walk ($5): A jaw-dropping astronomy app. Hold the iPad toward the night sky and it labels everything. You can also preview the movement of tonight’s sky, or witness a particular night sky from centuries ago. Star Walk is billed as an educational app, but it’s as entertaining as anything on the market.
¶SketchBook Pro ($8): Experienced artists can create masterpieces with this program. Hobbyists and children can happily lose themselves for hours. The app is powerful, yet fairly intuitive.
¶Netflix (free, but requires a paid Netflix subscription): The iPad renders video beautifully, and Netflix streams a nearly limitless catalog of movies and TV shows to the device. Fast, easy, addicting.
¶Fruit Ninja HD ($5): On the iPad’s big screen, this game will give you more of a jolt than Angry Birds. (But do yourself a favor and download that one too.) The task: swipe your finger to slice flying fruit. Hit a bomb and your ninja days are numbered. A recent update added online multi-player functionality.
¶Instapaper ($5): Great articles typically appear when you have no time to read them. Instapaper quickly stores links, so you can read the full articles later, from within the app. Instapaper also remembers articles you’ve saved with the free online version. Some will find setting up the service on an iPad frustrating, but it is worth it.