Killer apps for the iPad

29 Jul 2010

With the iPad, as with the iPhone, it’s all about the wealth of useful apps.

The main difference between iPad apps and iPhone apps is in the screen real estate. The iPad screen – at 9.7-inches – is much bigger than the smartphone display, about the same size as a netbook. However, netbooks do not provide the same intimacy.

This is where Apple technology really excels. You pass right through the technology and feel as though you are in the web, in the game or whatever particular application you’re using.

These apps range from free to quite pricey and you’ll find yourself changing your behaviour, reading more than you used to and learning more than you used to also.

National Geographic World Atlas HD – €1.59

As a child, one of the first books I remember poring over was the world atlas. As I traced country boundaries with my fingers I could sense the enormity of Russia’s vast open spaces and the imagine Ferdinand Magellan and his crew approaching Tierra del Fuego for the first time.

Glossy magazines, websites or computer programmes have not brought me back to this place, but the National Geographic World
Atlas app has. Navigating the globe by finger and zooming in on areas that take your fancy, discovering facts about the world’s nations
and checking out the satellite view is fun and informative. The rich colours and detail echo the traditional atlas.

This is one of the apps that renders the iPad a real, albeit expensive, educational tool.

AccuWeather – Free

One of the clever things about the iPad is that by its very nature it frames everything it does. As long as you have a stand you can enjoy it as a digital photo frame, a movie/music player or, in this case, a weather channel. If you’re so inclined you can see weather maps, video reports, and even migraine risks or grass-growing conditions.

iDisk – Free

One of the chief complaints about the iPad is that it cannot be used as an external hard drive like a laptop or netbook. There are, however, ways around this with many apps, including Apple’s iDisk. If you are an Apple MobileMe member you will be aware of the
20GB of online or cloud storage for an annual fee. iDisk manages access to this and solves the iPad storage dilemma for the most part, holding music, movies, documents, pictures and email.

Financial Times iPad Edition – Free

As with many other global publications, the Financial Times has gone the route of creating its own iPad app. The light salmon colour and column layout of the paper version is reproduced well but the addition of FT video and the ability to access your FT portfolio rounds this app out.

Highlights include links from companies mentioned in articles to a financial profile and interactive stocks chart.

There is free access until 31 August, after which you will have to register online.

Pages – €7.99

Apple’s own Pages – adapted from the Mac version – is a powerful word processing application. Create documents and export in Word, Pages or PDF format and email to your colleagues. Pictures and video can be added and charts can be created.