by Tom Kaneshige

15 Best iPad Apps for Newbies

Feb 24, 2011
Enterprise ApplicationsTablets

Are you considering the upcoming iPad 2 as your first iPad? An iPad, unplugged, is a welcome contrast to the communications-driven iPhone. Take our tour of cool apps that take advantage of the iPad's leisurely user experience.


Magazines play well on the iPad because of the casual reading experience. Flipboard (free) is an app for creating a customized magazine that pulls content and pictures from Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Flickr, favorite blogs and Web sites. Best of all, Flipboard lets you flip through the neatly organized, wonderfully laid-out pages.


Instapaper ($4.99) lets you save articles, blogs and news for offline reading. The app turns Web pages into a great reading experience. It is one of our 15 best iPhone apps for newbies. But few people can stand to read feature stories on a browser or iPhone. The iPad and Instapaper are bringing back long-form reading on the Web.

Marvel Comics

Comics are fast-becoming an exciting form of literature, but they don’t render well on black-and-white tablets. Thankfully, the iPad is bursting with color and can showcase comics in all their glory. Now you can catch all your favorite superheroes in action on your iPad with Marvel Comics (free).

Dropbox + QuickOffice

The iPad isn’t all fun and games, sometimes there’s real work to be done. That’s when you’ll need two apps: cloud storage app Dropbox (free up to 2GB) and Quickoffice. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for iPad ($14.99) lets you access and work on Dropbox-stored Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and, recently, PowerPoint slides.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop pros probably won’t get too excited about this iPad app from Adobe, but photo hobbyists will have fun with Adobe Photoshop Express (free). Thanks to the iPad’s larger screen, you’ll be able to easily crop and rotate photos, create effects and borders, manipulate color, apply filters, etc.

Bento for iPad

The 10-inch iPad screen is roughly the size of a bento box, a neatly packed Japanese meal. This makes Bento for iPad ($4.99) a perfect fit. Optimized for the iPad, Bento is a personal organizer that helps you manage everything from contacts, events and to-do items to special activities such as exercise regimens and diet plans.


Art on the iPhone made headlines nearly two years ago when Jorge Colombo drew a painting that made The New Yorker cover. Really, though, doesn’t the larger iPad screen make a better canvas? ArtRage ($6.99) is a painting simulation app that keeps track of the amount of paint on the canvas, watercolors reacting to the wetness of the brush, blending colors, and much more.

Amazon Kindle

In only a few months since its debut last year, the iPad quickly became the second most popular e-reader behind the Amazon Kindle. If reading is your passion, getting the Kindle iPad app (free) is a no-brainer. Sure, Apple has its own iBook Store app, but the Amazon book selection is unbeatable.


I probably spend more time grocery shopping, cooking and eating than any other personal activity. Epicurious (free) serves up more than 30,000 recipes from magazines, chefs and cookbooks. Best part of the iPad app version: The big screen makes it easy to follow recipes step-by-step in the kitchen.

Bonus advice: Get a stand that keeps your iPad free and clear from messy ingredients.


Sure, there’s a time and place for watching HD movies on a big screen. More often than not, though, you’ll catch a flick while on the go or quietly in bed. At times like these, you’ll want Netflix (free) on the iPad. The iPad’s screen is big enough to catch R2-D2’s cameo in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek blockbuster movie.

The Daily

The Daily ($39.99 per year) recently debuted on the iPad under Apple’s new subscription model. For a dime and a penny a day, you get more than 100 pages of original news, entertainment, lifestyle, opinions, breaking news updates, customized sports pages, videos, interactive graphics, and great photography.

Star Walk

With Star Walk ($4.99), the iPad becomes a map to the stars. Just point your iPad at the sky, and you’ll learn the identities of the stars, constellations and satellites. Of course, if you live in Los Angeles, all you’ll really see is smog covering up the stars (and we’re not talking movie stars, either).


Most of us got through college by scratching notes on a pad of paper. Penultimate ($1.99) brings that chaotic yet critical learning experience to the iPad. Using inking technology, Penultimate lets you take notes on realistic paper. After all, it’s how some of the world’s greatest ideas got started.

Pages, Keynote, Numbers

Apple’s productivity apps were made for the iPad (or maybe it’s the other way around?). They consist of Pages ($9.99) for word processing, Keynote ($9.99) for presentations and Numbers ($9.99) for spreadsheets. I think they beat the pants off of Microsoft Office. The only problem is that everyone else uses Office.

RISK: The Official Game for iPad

The iPad has become a supremely popular gaming platform. The big screen of the iPad is also bringing back another kind of gaming: the board game. A group of people can now gather around the iPad socially (unlike an iPhone or vertical computer screen). One of my favorite games is Risk ($.99). Besides, aren’t you tired of hearing about Angry Birds?

Angry Birds Birthday Cake Is The Best Gift Ever