Apple’s music creation app has long been popular on the Mac but its iPad makeover takes it beyond what was possible on a desktop. The touchscreen allows the iPad to become a whole range of musical instruments, some of which can do things that a physical instrument can’t. For those who aren’t musical, smart instruments make it possible to put tracks together without creating musical horrors.
Whether the iPad 2 will see much use as a video camera is debatable given its size but it can certainly be used to do some complex video editing using iMovie, the second app that Apple has produced for the launch of the iPad 2. With a little bit of practice the touchscreen can be used to make sophisticated clips that can be uploaded to the web from the device.
Real Racing 2 HD
The iPad 2’s A5 processor delivers up to nine-times the graphics performance of the first generation iPad’s A4. Real Racing 2 HD has been updated to take advantage of the graphics upgrade and looks very impressive as a result.
One of the most impressive games for the iPad and iPhone 4, Infinity Blade has received an upgrade for the iPad 2 that makes it look even better. The graphics alone are worth the price but Infinity Blade is also a very clever game with a well-designed touch control system.
Natural Motion, 59p
In addition to improved performance the iPad 2 contains a gyroscope. Jenga HD, the iPad version of the popular blocks game, shows that off. It requires a steady hand but it’s addictive once you get the hang of it.
This is an essential note-taking app, not just for your iPad but for your smartphone and computer too. You can save documents, web clippings, audio files, pictures and of course text notes and then access them from Evernote on any device. The iPad 2 update allows you to take picture notes with the iPad.
Quest Visual, Free (Language pack: £5.99)
This is one of those apps that you just have to show off to your friends. Point your camera at some text and Word Lens will translate it instantly, on your screen. The free app erases words and reverses them and for £5.99 you can get English-Spanish or Spanish-English translation.
Another app that has been updated to take advantage of the iPad 2’s cameras. Twitter’s official app is not to everyone’s taste but I think it’s well designed and easy to use. The ability to take a snapshot from within the app is a handy tweak.
There will be more apps updating to take advantage of the iPad 2’s capabilities but in the meantime here are some old favourites that no iPad should be without.
Marco Ament, £2.99
You simply have to have this on your iPad. Save articles from your browser and read them later in Instapaper’s uncluttered app. You can save articles from your computer, your phone or your iPad and a recent update means there are now more social options for sharing and finding articles, too.
Another work of genius, Flipboard takes the activity from your social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and plenty of others are supported – and presents it in an attractive magazine-style layout. They say they’re reinventing the browser for the tablet computer. They could be right.
Being able to move files between your various devices is essential and Dropbox meets that need perfectly. Upload your files to Dropbox from any device and you’ll be able to get them on your iPad thanks to this app. It’s free and so is the basic Dropbox service so it should be impossible to resist.
Not everything Apple does is better than the competition. Amazon’s Kindle app gives you access to more titles than Apple’s iBookstore and at better prices too. The reading experience is a matter of taste but I prefer the Kindle app’s simplicity to the rather fussy, fake book stylings of Apple’s own iBooks app.
Reeder for iPad
Silvio Rizzi, £2.99
There are several RSS readers to choose from on the iPad but Reeder gets my vote. Is very well designed, simple to use and, as with many of the apps on this list, has smartphone and desktop versions as well so that everything stays in sync.
Ladybird Baby Touch: Peekaboo
Penguin Books, £1.79
Small children love iPads. They pick up the touch controls very quickly and love playing games and watching videos. This app, from Penguin, has proved a massive hit with my toddler, despite the slightly bored-sounding narrator.
Information Architects, 59p
Apple made Pages, its word processor, available for the iPad at launch last year. However, for simplicity alone, iA Writer is a better choice for writing. It essentially turns your iPad into a typewriter and lets you save your work to Dropbox (see above).
1Password for iPad
Agile Web Soluitions, £5.99
When you move between computers a lot it can be difficult to remember the logins for all the websites you use. 1Password keeps them all in one place – and syncs with your other devices – and that in turn means that you can use more complicated passwords for added security. All you need to remember is, as the name implies, one password – the one that lets you in to 1Password.
If you often find yourself watching a TV programme or a film and obsessing over a familiar-looking actor, the IMDb app is essential. It optimises the enormous online movie database for your iPad screen and makes it very easy to look up a person and find out just where you’ve seen them before.
Spotify, Free app but requires subscription
This isn’t actually an iPad app but the iPhone version works just fine and lets you browse Spotify’s vast catalogue, access your playlists and store music to your device. Very handy for loading up on music before a long journey.
Articles for iPad
Sophiestication Software, £2.99
Wikipedia is available on the web, obviously, but there are lots of apps that style the online encyclopedia so that it works better on the iPad.
Finally, if you want to catch up on some television while using your iPad, the well-designed BBC iPlayer app is ideal. The playback quality is excellent and though it’s a shame that you can’t save programmes to watch offline, you can at least mark favourite shows so that you don’t miss new episodes.