Top 20 free iPad apps (Part 2)


28 Jul 2010

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Yesterday, we covered 10 of the best productivity, creativity and communications apps for the iPad. Today, we’re looking at news, entertainment and games.

Apps 1-10 are listed here

News

11. Financial Times
Not only is this app high on information content, it is also extremely aesthetically pleasing and brings the core of the Financial Times to life beautifully in iPad format.

The home page of the app loads to look like the front page of the paper itself but you soon find out how interactive it can be.

From the moment you click on an article you realise that each story has a trading chart for each company listed and this clicks through to information on the day’s trading, earnings and revenue and a mini profile. An excellent and essential app for anyone interested in finance.

12. The Guardian Eyewitness
Awe-inspiring images from The Guardian are given the attention they deserve on the Eyewitness app in association with Canon.

Immerse yourself in powerful imagery from around the world as you flick through this constantly updated carousel of images. Few words are used to give context because few are needed.

You can add images as favourites, share through email, Twitter and Facebook and play as a slideshow. Just beautiful.

13. NYT Editors’ Choice
Again, another print newspaper has brought itself to life in digital format. The New York Times Editors’ Choice is well laid out, and apart from the front page, it is divided into six sections: business, technology, opinion, arts, features and videos.

14. Flipboard
There has been much ado about this app in the last week and pending on the creators managing to get all features working for those who have signed up for a free account, it is a novel new way to consume online content.

We talk so much about the death of newspapers and magazines that we haven’t noticed that what we love about the iPad is that stuff we read is laid out to resemble the newspaper or magazine as closely as possible.

Flipboard is one of these clever little apps that blends feeds from your favourite sites. It doesn’t take RSS but rather Facebook and Twitter feeds, displaying the links and posts as articles. It calls itself the world’s first social magazine and by that it means the world’s first Facebook and Twitter-compiled magazine. By this logic if your friends find it important enough to post or link to then it should be important to you, too.

Entertainment

15. Kindle
Ah e-books, one of the core tenets of slate/tablet-ology. There was plenty of hoohah over Apple’s own iBooks app, which, while great, only allows access to free Project Gutenberg e-books here in Ireland. We cannot purchase books through the iBooks Store at this moment in time.

Fear not. The Kindle app is also quite good, and when you log into your Amazon account on the iPad all the e-books you’ve bought for your Kindle device or Kindle iPhone/BlackBerry/Android/Desktop application will also be pulled in.

You can begin reading a book on one platform and pick up exactly where you left off on another thanks to sycning. If you’re a big reader then this is an essential iPad app.

16. iBooks
Apple’s iBooks can hold its own despite the absence of paid-for books in Ireland. The app is beautifully designed and easy on the eyes. It responds to ambient lighting conditions and allows you to tweak light settings plus you can change text and paper colour schemes.

If you have a ‘to be read’ pile, then get ready to add plenty more because it is very tempting to download free classics from Jane Austen and William Shakespeare to Plato and Darwin.

17. TV Guide
From tvguide.co.uk, this app is another reason for couch surfing because it provides TV listings for cable/satellite channels, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Discovery and MTV. As this is a UK app there are no listing for terrestrial channels here in Ireland.

You’re not just getting listings – tapping on a programme name bring up specific information, including an image of the show, a rating out of 10, programme length and mini description.

This app also links some programmes directly to their home on the BBC iPlayer but that service is only available to UK residents or those of you who can find their way round this.

18. I Hear Ewe
An app that demonstrates why the iPad can be a useful learning tool for young children (as long as you actually want to part from it and place it in the sticky hands of a toddler).

I Hear Ewe is just adorable. It has a series of buttons that, when pressed, play the sounds of the various farm animals and jungle animals pictured. There is also an entire screen of planes, trains and automobiles thrown in for good measure. Chugga chugga choo choo!

19. Aurora Feint 3
You could simply conclude that this was a basic match-3 game by reading a description, but Aurora Feint 3 is so much more than this. A dramatic soundtrack coupled with lush graphics and a fantasy storyline make this puzzle game even more engrossing and addictive than the mere act of matching patterned blocks and beating the rising tide, ie, Tetris-style addictiveness.

20. Tap Tap Radiation

Whilst I loved playing Tap Tap Revenge, et al, on the iPhone, the main problem was the screen size. This ‘Guitar Hero for touch screen’ is so much fun and offers about 30 free tracks with four to get started with.

Tell yourself this is building on your co-ordination skills as you tap your way to pop bliss, following the onscreen beats. Premium tracks can be purchased, including songs from Lady Gaga and Pink.

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