My 25 best iPad apps: Anthony Agius

Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald

When the iPad was launched in April 2009, many people wondered what to actually do with it. Apple themselves weren’t quite sure what people would make of the device when it was released, positioning it between the iPhone and a traditional computer. Some saw it as simply a giant iPhone, others as a poor excuse for a laptop.

Over time, the same developers who made the App Store thrive with brilliant iPhone apps got their hands on iPads, the uses for the iPad became more and more clear. Now the iPad boasts over 140,000 unique apps designed for it, utilising the same safe and secure App Store as the iPhone and iPod touch.Here are 25 iPad apps that show off what the iPad can do and make the iPad a great portable companion.

Procreate
Price: 99c
Developer: Savage Interactive
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/procreate/id425073498?mt=8
For sketching and drawing on the iPad, Procreate is a simple, yet powerful option and one of the fastest. Taking advantage of the iPad’s powerful CPU, Procreate allows you to adjust precision and pressure levels to achieve maximum flexibility, together with custom brushes. Procreate supports layers and also exports to Photoshop’s PSD format for further editing on a desktop computer.

ShowYou
Price: Free
Developer: Remixation
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/showyou/id422698201?mt=8
If your friends share videos via their social networks, then ShowYou is an app you’ll get lots of enjoyment from. ShowYou connects with your account to services like Twitter and Facebook and scours them for links your friends share to online videos. If you have an AppleTV, you can sit on the couch and flick videos straight to your big screen – great for when there’s nothing on TV.

Air Video
Price: $2.99 (free version also available)
Developer: InMethod
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/air-video-watch-your-videos/id306550020?mt=8 Air Video streams your collection of videos from your computer, direct to your iPad with minimal configuration and in great quality. Supporting virtually every video format, just grab the app from the App Store, download the Windows or Mac client and install it on your computer. Point Air Video to where your videos are kept and you can start streaming immediately.

Instapaper
Price: $5.49
Developer: Marco Arment
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/instapaper/id288545208?mt=8
Instapaper revolves around the idea of reading things later. You may be browsing around the web and spot something a bit lengthy that you want to read later. Using Instapaper’s bookmarklet, simply click “Read It Later” and the article is downloaded to the Instapaper app on your iOS device and formatted perfectly for the smaller screens, stripping ads and combining multiple page articles.

Road Inc. – Legendary Cars Price: $6.49
Developer: Pyrolia Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/road-inc.-legendary-cars/id458600673?mt=8 If you love cars, this beautifully designed interactive book will keep you fascinated for hours. Road Inc profiles dozens of the world’s most famous cars in great detail, with extensive interior and exterior photo galleries, essays about each car and even engine sounds.

Kayak Mobile Pro
Price: 99c (ad supported free version also available)
Developer: Kayak Software Group
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/kayak-mobile-pro/id338227344?mt=8
There are many flight search engines available for the iPad, but Kayak routinely has the best selection and best pricing. It’s iPad app is a pleasure to use, with a streamlined and clutter free interface, unlike many other apps of this type, which attempt to upsell or include advertisements.

McSweeney’s
Price: Free
Developer: McSweeny’s
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/mcsweeneys/id325330901?mt=8
One of the most celebrated literary journals, McSweeney’s, uses their iPad app to bring the latest output from their collection of writers such as Spike Jonze, Judd Apatow and Maurice Sendak direct to you. The usual McSweeney’s fare of essays, short stories, interviews and comics are updated daily and extra content can be purchased within the app.

Tweetbot
Price: $2.99
Developer: Tapbots
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/tweetbot-twitter-client-personality/id498801050? mt=8
The official Twitter client for iPad is great, but Tweetbot includes some handy features and interface tweaks the official app does not, such as mute filters for annoying hashtags, quick gesture support, a customisable tab bar and a clean user interface.

Scorekeeper XL
Price: Free
Developer: Matt Rix
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/scorekeeper-xl/id463243024?mt=8
Wether it be sports or board games, Scorekeeper XL is a simple and handy score board app for the iPad. Simply add in names and press the buttons to increment or decrease the store. It’s as simple as that.

OzTV
Price: $2.99
Developer: Apps Perhaps
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/oztv-for-ipad-tv-guide/id438013577?mt=8
TV guides are nothing new, but having one on your iPad is handy for when you’re on the couch and want to know what’s on. OzTV’s data comes from eBroadcast, so it’s accurate and includes all the free to air channels up to a week in advance. You can even search for keywords and set reminders so you don’t forget to watch your favourite shows.

Verbs IM
Price: 99c
Developer: #include tech
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/verbs-im/id392501688?mt=8
Verbs is an instant messaging client that supports GoogleTalk, Facebook Chat and AIM. It has minimal features, but that’s what makes it so good. You can log in, chat to who is online, swipe between multiple chats and that’s it. Verbs also supports push notifications, so if Verbs isn’t open and you’re logged in to an IM service, you’ll know someone is trying to talk to you and leave you logged in for up to 7 days.

Skitch
Price: Free
Developer: Evernote
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/skitch-for-ipad/id490505997?mt=8
Skitch is wonderful for annotating images. Take photos using the iPad’s camera or use existing images in your photo roll and Skitch will let you scribble, write and add shapes to it. Once you’re done, export to Twitter, email, Evernote or back in to the camera roll. Skitch also has a built in web-browser and Google Maps integration, so you can annotate any website or map too.

Instacast HD
Price: $5.49
Developer: Vemedio
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/instacast-hd/id478853570?mt=8
Subscribe to your podcasts with Instacast and you’ll be able to download or stream them over 3G, which is great – but Instacast HD’s best feature is the ability to view podcast show notes, whilst you listen to the show. A great feature for those who enjoy podcasts that discuss news articles.

Lovely Charts
Price: $5.49
Developer: This is Lovely!
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/lovely-charts/id485253769?mt=8
If you need to quickly make a chart, Lovely Charts doesn’t much easier. Just draw the shapes and lines you want and Lovely Charts interprets that into properly rendered chart items. Use multi-touch gestures to connect, edit (things like colours and text), auto-align and move items, then share them via email, PDFs or as images.

PDF Expert
Price: $10.49
Developer: Readdle
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pdf-expert-fill-forms-annotate/id393316844? mt=8
PDF Expert lives up to its name, with loads of features that make handling PDFs on your iPad a superior experience than on a desktop computer. PDF Expert supports annotations, notes, signatures, forms and can even look inside ZIP files for PDFs. It supports syncing with all the popular services out of the box, but the best features is the insane speed of PDF rendering, even with enormous sized files.

Green Kitchen
Price: $5.49
Developer: Amazing Applications
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/green-kitchen-healthy-vegetarian/id466252999? mt=8
Cookbooks don’t get more beautiful than this perfectly designed app. Green Kitchen revolves around vegetarian recipes and displays them to you with high resolution images and helps you cook with easy to follow instructions and clear ingredient lists.

Capo
Price: $20.99
Developer: SuperMegaUltraGroovy
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/capo/id386963803?mt=8
When learning to play a song on any instrument, it helps to have it slowed down or have bits of the song isolated, as to help with practice. Capo takes any song on your iPad and can slow it down to any speed you wish. Capo also lets you select a region of a song and can play it in a loop, so you can practice over and over, until you’ve got it.

ThinkBook
Price: $5.49
Developer: Bitolithic
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/thinkbook-write-plan-outline/id421926271?mt=8 Everyone makes dot point lists. From simple shopping lists to world domination plans, everything can be made easier with lists. Thinkbook aims to collect all your ideas into a single, clean and easy to use app. Thinkbook’s interface makes re-arranging items in your list simple and also supports checklists, question and answer lists and indented lists. Of course, syncing with Dropbox is included too.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore Price: $5.49
Developer: Moonbot Studios
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/fantastic-flying-books-mr./id438052647?mt=8 A book for the 21st century. Amazingly detailed, excellent narration and Hollywood quality animation, children and adults alike will be in awe with this story. Multi-touch gestures launch interactive animations that help tell the story of the missing books of Morris Lessmore.

Pulse: Volume One
Price: $2.99
Developer: Cipher Prime Studios
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pulse-volume-one/id432667443?mt=8
Think of it as Dance Dance Revolution, combined with Guitar Hero, but for your fingers. Pulse uses multi-touch gestures to tap dots in time with the music and a pulsing circle emanating from the middle ring. Great original music is added often – be sure to wear headphones for the best experience.

Hard Lines
Price: 99c
Developer: Spilt Milk Studios
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/hard-lines/id440571567?mt=8
We all remember Snake from our venerable Nokia phones. Well, Snake is back and on steroids with a hint of MDMA. Hard Lines is a giant snake playing field, full of other snakes, flashing power ups, timed challenges and awesome music.

Charadium II
Price: $2.99
Developer: On5
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/charadium-ii-hd/id483544355?mt=8
Pictionary is fun, but you’ve got to find a pencil, have enough paper, and find some friends to play it with. Charadium takes the idea of Pictionary, puts it on the iPad and takes it online. You’re plonked into a chat room where you have to guess what a person in the room is drawing. The sooner you answer it, the more points you get. Eventually it will be your own to draw and the room needs to guess what you’re drawing.

1112
Price: $7.49
Developer: Agharta Studio
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/1112-episode-01-hd/id402396424?mt=8 Consisting of three episodes (with more to come), 112 is an adventure game full of puzzles and deep thinking. You navigate the game in beautiful landscapes, immersed in high quality music, talking to people to gain clues, solve puzzles to reveal more clues and hopefully solve the mystery of the protagonist’s headaches and weird dreams.

Super Stick Man Golf
Price: 99c
Developer: Noodlecake Studios
Platforms: iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/super-stickman-golf/id397049430?mt=8
Super Stick Man Golf (SSG) is a huge mini-golf course, with the usual aim of getting the ball, into a hole. However, in SSG, the hole is far away and often above or below you, with obstacles like valleys, lava flows and moving platforms to get between you and the hole.

Machinarium
Price: $5.49
Developer: Amanita Design
Platforms: iPad
App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/machinarium/id459189186?mt=8
Puzzle lovers will enjoy Machinarium, with it’s amazing graphics and intricate point and tap story, serving as a beautiful backdrop for fun, but challenging puzzles. Winner of the Independent Games Festival excellence in visual art award and runner up of Kotaku’s PC game of the year, it’s a classic everyone will enjoy.