You’ve seen the commercials; Apps are what makes an iPad come to life. Whether you have an iPad or iPad 2 that means you need to decide which apps you should purchase and download right away. Here are the very best ones for work, play, creation, consumption and everything in between.
There are currently more than 100,000 native iPad apps available, although, as with the iPhone, a big chunk of those are filler. But the good apps are really good: creative, innovative, imaginative, useful and fun (or at least several of the above). So here is our pick of the top 20 best iPad (and iPad 2) apps of year 2011:
WindowShop: Windowshop is Amazon’s attempt to reinvent its website for tablets, and it does a great job. As with eBay, the focus is emphatically on product images and flicking between items with swipes and other gestures.
Barrel Tones: An amazing 3-D drum experience! Lay down your beats over top of home-grown jam tracks. These drums are the real-deal! Low latency, fully animated, made by musicians for musicians! Also, check out the Algoriddim Djay App For iPad if you are a music fan.
Tweetdeck (free): Another brilliant port to iPad, Tweetdeck shows you the feeds of your Twitter friends, your own mentions, and your direct messages. It works well because there is enough screen space to actually read all of this content.
Snikkr: Snikkr for iPhone and iPad is the first social productivity tool for iPhone. It supports mapping, navigation, directions, and local search. Snikkr also lets you safely share your location, and your favorite places, with friends, inside and outside of the Snikkr network.
Citrix Go To My PC: Just like BomGar remote support app, GoToMyPC for iPad makes it simple to control your computer while away from your work area, but the lack of multitasking support, and latency issues, may dampen the experience. GoToMyPC is the fast, easy and secure way to instantly connect to your Mac or PC, with access to all of your files, programs and network.
Vevo: MTV doesn’t show music videos any more, but Vevo is the nearest we have to a successor. Its iPad app is arguably the best way to use the service, too, tapping and swiping to browse a wide collection of videos.
123D Sculpt:This is a digital sculpting app: you pinch and rub the screen to mould virtual clay, buying in-app theme packs for 69p each including “Medieval” and “Transportation”. A tactile and creative delight.
Dragon Dictation: Featuring very accurate voice transcription and the ability to share messages via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter, Naunce’s dictation app is both fun to use and immensely helpful—as long as you’re connected to the Web.
Kindle: Amazon’s e-reader app narrowly gets the nod over Apple’s own iBooks, with fewer visual frills but a large collection of ebooks, including regular discounts and offers. It also syncs your reading position across different devices.
iChromy: It’s an iPad browser that looks and feels like Chrome. And since I use Chrome every single day, that’s a good thing! It has tabbed browsing, an incognito window, and an omnibox (a shared box for typing in URLs and search terms) too. As close as you’ll get to Chrome on an iPad. Free
Epicurious: You like food, right? Epicurious has got tons of recipes presented in a nice, photo-friendly format. Show this to your Mom to justify your iPad purchase. Free.
Dropbox for iPad: Simple to use and extremely useful, this file synchronization app will keep all of your files in step, but the lack of built in file editing, and other limitations, may prove irritating.
Infographics: The app has about 50 different infographics created by the design company for its clients. There’s trivia-filled images for technology, sociology, learning and more. Perfect for those moments when you have a few minutes to spare and want to read something besides boring news.
Trulia: Trulia, an impressive real estate search engine and a respected name in the real estate game, has an iPad app that makes finding a new place a lot less intimidating and almost even fun. Poking around to explore apartments and homes with your finger is somehow much less frustrating than clicking around on a website.
FlipBoard: Flipboard wants to be your personalised, digital magazine, and does a great job of serving up articles that your Facebook and Twitter contacts have been linking to, as well as stories from your favourite websites.
PhotoBooth Free (included with iPad 2): A staple of the iPad 2’s starter apps, PhotoBooth takes advantage of the iPad’s dual cameras to bring you stupid pictures of yourself. Yes, it is a novelty app, but it’s one that might make you smile. Or, more probably, make young’uns chuckle at the sight of themselves with silly effects applied.
Google Earth: Google’s planet-mapping service was born to be on touchscreen tablets, getting you to swipe and pinch-zoom your way around the world. It’s an impressive showcase for iPad’s computing power, particularly the iPad 2.
Hootsuite: HootSuite allow users to create numerous social network streams and view them in a clean, friendly interface, dispatching messages to multiple networks simultaneously. Compose and Converse on the Go. HootSuite for iOS is the perfect social media tool for Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare.
Also check out these top 10 Ever Green, Best (Yet FREE) iPhone and iPad Apps
Calculator for iPad: Need to crunch some numbers? Calculator for iPad Free gives you a large, easy-to-read, attractive basic and scientific calculator for solving problems. Multitouch support lets you swipe away numbers. Upgrading to the $0.99 adds six additional themes: Standard, Silver Keyboard, Retro Grey, Pink Keyboard, Happy Pink, and Wooden.
Roambi: Roambi interactive mobile dashboards let you tap, turn and swipe to analyze and share your company’s latest information on any iPhone or iPad – keeping you connected to your business, anytime and anywhere.