When the iPad first came out, I never thought I would get one. Was I ever wrong on that one! I have to say it has been one of my best purchases ever! Cue the “I Love Technology” song from Napoleon Dynamite…
Ok, so I LOVE my iPad. Either you are one of those who doesn’t have an iPad and is sick of hearing everyone talk about them (I’m sorry, I know it’s annoying – lol) or you have an iPad and you understand what I’m talking about. Of course, just like the iPhone, it’s all about the apps! I’ve had several months to accumulate apps, and if you listen to the Paperclipping Digi Show podcast, you will know that someone often picks an app for their pick of the week. Apps are where it’s at!
I’ve had a couple of readers (and my Mom) ask me to share my favorite iPad apps so I thought it would be a fun blog post to go through my iPad with you. I also wrote a post about apps for iPhones, Smartphones, & iPads for The Daily Digi last November which you may find useful. .
This is screen 1 on my iPad. This page is home to the apps I use the very most and I will explain each one below:
- Videos – this is an app that is built into the iPad system. It is the player for all movies & TV shows. I have mine loaded up with Disney movies and Friends episodes. This is one of my favorite features on the iPad, it’s a beautiful + convenient way to watch movies.
- Netflix – this is a free app that is a great way to access your Netflix account. Of course you need to have a Netflix subscription to enjoy it. You can manage your queue and the coolest thing is you can watch instant Netflix shows right on your iPad. So cool! If you have kids accessing your Netflix, make sure you set parental ratings guidelines and check your “recently watched” history frequently so you know what they are watching. The rule in our house is that they have to ask first, even if it is something they know I will approve of. (They make great choices, I just like to have that rule in place)
- Pandora – this is such a cool app and it’s free! You can listen to music from your favorite artists and it will also pick out related songs. My favorite feature is the information that is given about the songs and bands.
- Photos – comes with the iPad and is usually placed in the lower navigation bar. I moved mine further up because I like my most frequently used apps to be in the lower bar. I have a folder titled “iPad” on my computer and I sync it to the iPad. I love seeing photos on the iPad, it’s like carrying around a big digital photo frame. The pictures looks so sharp and stunning!
- Reeder – This app cost $4.99 but it is by far my favorite way to read blogs. It syncs with your Google Reader account so you will need to subscribe to RSS feeds there first. I have my blogs categorized into groups on Google Reader (family, personal, crafts & décor, food, toy, scrap, digi scrap, & photography) so when I have a few minutes to browse blogs, I click on the folder I’m in the mood for. I love the easy interface of this app.
- Friendly – I use the free version (there is a plus version for .99) and it meets all my needs. I do love to read Facebook in Flipboard (see below) but I have a hard time commenting and “liking” posts from within Flipboard. Friendly seems to be the easiest way to access Facebook on the iPad.
- Flipboard – one of my very favorite apps and it’s free! This turns Facebook & Twitter into beautiful magazine-like pages. I love the visual nature of this app. I also like that you can add other things like USA Today, Mashable, and even individual blogs. It’s like customizing your own free magazine stand on the iPad.
- Hootsuite – I love to use Hootsuite to manage Twitter on my computer. The iPad app version is a little more difficult to navigate, but it does a great job and it’s free.
- iFiles – I’ve recently discovered how great this app is – you can several different things with it! You can access Dropbox, Google Docs, and even Flickr, through this app. I used to have several different apps to manage all those tasks and now I can just use this instead and it works better!
- Amazon Kindle – Who needs a Kindle when you have an iPad? I love that I have the option to use this. Admittedly, I’m not much of an e-reader when it comes to books (I still prefer the hard copy), but I love being able to access cookbooks and reference books this way. I have a Martha Stewart Everyday Food cookbook in my Kindle app, and the Oxford Dictionary. I also downloaded The Count of Monte Cristo in case I ever feel like reading a book.
- Google Mobile – this is a powerful app (also free) because you can access gmail, google calendars, google docs, google reader, google earth,& all the other google goodies. I love being able to do so much from on app. I use this mostly for accessing google calendars. I heart Google.
- Typepad – I just used this free app for the first time last week and I actually blogged from my bed at 11:40 p.m. at night. I do still prefer actually sitting at my computer to blog, but in a pinch, this is a real blog-saver!
- Xmarks – I just learned about this last week from my hubby. Setting up an Xmarks account lets you access your bookmarks anywhere. The app lets you access them on your iPad.
- xfinity mobile – a free app that lets me access my home phone voicemail (comcast). Nothing too exciting, but it is useful.
- Calculator 4 – I think it was a serious oversight that the iPad did not come with a built in calculator! So I picked up this one in the app store for .99 cents. It’s simple and very effective. If you turn in to landscape view it becomes a scientific calculator.
- Farmville – a guilty pleasure of mine. This free app makes “finger farming” easy to access. lol!
- Angry Birds – totally for my kids. I’ve only tried it once and I can’t fling a bird to save my life – and I’m ok with that. I love this app though for the happiness it brings to the rest of my family. Totally worth the .99 cents!
- Scrabble – this app has a ton of bad reviews in the store, but I really like it. I do think that it is way too expensive ($9.99) but I’ve played it a lot and I think Scrabble is a great game for sharpening vocabulary & language skills.
The Navigation Bar (the apps that show up across the bottom of the screen no matter which page you are on)
All of these are automatically included with the iPad and they are all very useful. I sync my email, contacts, & calendar with Outlook. I use the notepad all the time. I’ve downloaded several other task management or list-making apps, but I have found that the notes app works best for me and I love having the backup copy in my email when I’m done using it.
One trick I have about using Safari on the iPad is that I have my most visited websites always loaded in the first several “slots” and then I use the last few when I do new searches. Here’s a screen shot to show you what I mean -
See how all of those slots are filled with some of my favorite sites? I keep them there by making sure I click on the little number in the top screen to put them back in their place when I’m done.
When I want to open a new window, I go to Safari and select the “new page” slot. Then all my favorites are still in order. Of course I still use bookmarks (or xmarks), but I like this trick for the sites I access the very most.
Ok… on to screen 2 of apps!
- Maps – this app comes with the iPad. I use it more on my phone, but it’s still a handy little tool to have on the iPad as well.
- National Geographic World Atlas – I bought this app ($1.99) with the excuse that it would be great for homeschool, but I think I would use it even without the educational excuse. I love maps and this is such a beautiful app. Fun to explore!
- The Elements – This is my favorite app because it really shows off the beauty of the iPad. It is the one of the most expensive apps on my iPad ($13.99) but it’s totally worth it. Great visual exploration of the elements of the periodic table & just lots of fun! My kids love to sing the song that goes with it. I know the reviews say it crashes, but we’ve never had that happen. I’m pretty convinced that everything gets bad reviews these days whether it is deserved or not.
- Skype – I downloaded this free app in case I ever needed to Skype without my laptop computer. So far I haven’t needed it, but it works just great. I use Skype to talk with Steph from The Daily Digi. Skype is also what makes the Paperclipping Digi Show podcast happen so I LOVE Skype!
- Youtube – another native app to the iPad. Youtube can be a lot of fun, but it also scares me. I find it a little unnerving that kids & teenagers have such easy access to this because there is a lot of questionable content. You can’t delete this one from the iPhone or the iPad. I rarely use this app but I did set up a youtube account and I ask my kids to sign in with that if they want to use youtube. Then I can keep track of what they watch and I have set up a page of favorites for them. Thankfully, they make great choices in this area as well.
- LIFE guide to Digital Photography (Joe McNally) – At $14.99 this is the most expensive app on my iPad, but it’s worth every penny and more! This is an interactive book where Joe even talks to you sometimes. His photography is amazing (understatement) and I’ve been a fan of his for quite some time. I love having this right on my iPad because that means I can carry this extensive guide to digital photography with me anywhere I go. If Izzy doesn’t beat me to it, I will definitely have to share this as a “pick of the week” on the next Paperclipping Digi Show podcast.
- Photoshop Express – this free app is fun for adding a few different effects & borders to your photos. You can also crop photos and upload them to your Adobe account. I don’t do a lot of photo editing on my iPad, but this is a fun way to play with your pictures.
- App Store – comes with the iPad and you will soon find out why…it’s a super easy way to shop for apps! Very smart of Apple to include this.
- iTunes – same as the App Store app, just an easy way to shop!
- Settings – comes with the iPad and it’s where you control the settings for the system.
- Recipe Book – Some say the iPad is really a glorified cookbook – lol! I do use it a lot in the kitchen, I love being able to look up recipes and use them for cooking. I just downloaded this app the other day ($2.99) and it looks like a pretty good one. I especially like that you can add photos to your recipes.
- Martha Stewart Cookies – This is a beautiful app! For $4.99 you get an interactive cookie cookbook with stunning photos as well. Love it!
- Martha Stewart Living – Another incredible app – the Martha Stewart company knows what they are doing when it comes to iPad apps! The app itself and the premiere iPad digital magazine of Living are both free. Then you can purchase new issues of Living (from within the app) for $3.99 as they become available. I love this system and I just bought the February issue and it’s beautiful as well. Sure makes it easy to pack around a magazine with you when you travel.
- Better Homes & Gardens Celebrate – For $3.99 this is like having a special issue of Better Homes & Gardens on you iPad. It has Autumn, Thanksgiving, & Christmas. I thought it would have other holidays and celebrations as well and I keep waiting for it to update. I’m not sure about this one long term unless they make some changes.
- Virtuoso – Play the piano on your iPad! This one is just for fun and it’s free. You can play on your own or even in duets. A great iPad app!
- iBooks – This app is free and it seems like it comes with the iPad – can’t remember for sure. It does seem to be “required” though because I tried to delete it once and it told me I would no longer be able to read ebooks on the iPad so I kept it. I love the visual look of the bookshelves, but there isn’t a lot that interests me in the Apple bookstore. I guess you can save your pdfs to iBooks so that would be handy. I use iFiles for that instead, and Kindle for ebooks, so that means I don’t use this app very much right now.
- Grover Monster – Yes, I’m a grown woman who downloaded a Sesame Street app! I could say it was for my kids, but they are teenagers. lol! Once you see the app, you will understand why it’s so fun. I blogged about it on Toy to the World.
That’s the complete tour of Katie’s iPad. I hope it was helpful to those of you who are trying to set up your own systems. I know that my app screens will fill up more over time. If you have a favorite iPad app that I haven’t listed, I’d love to hear about it!