Essential (and Mostly Free) iPad Apps

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter

With the release of “the new iPad” recently, a number of people have decided to bite the bullet and buy one for themselves.  As amazing as the technology crammed into this tiny slate is, the iPad is only as good as the apps available.  Being an original iPad owner, I have plenty of experience downloading the “one-and-done” apps.  Those gimmicky apps that either get deleted immediately or are tucked into a folder on your fourth screen.  Amongst the thousands of apps available, there are a select few that have been on my homescreen since day one, the Essential (and free) iPad Apps.

Paper for iPad   8. Paper (Free with in-app add-ons) – This brand new app has finally pulled off something that seemed obvious for the iPad but was never executed this well: simple note-taking and sketching.  Using your finger or stylus (yes, a stylus) in Paper actually feels quite natural, and the user interface (UI) is very responsive and well thought out.  The free app comes with one pen and nine different colors, however you can add different pens for $1.99 each or $7.99 for all of them.  For most users, the extra tools won’t be necessary.

Pulse News for iPad   7. Pulse News (Free) – Pulse News was the first news reader I downloaded and I loved it immediately.  However, over time, the app became too cluttered.  With the ability to add an infinite number of feeds, I was a little overwhelmed.  Since then, Pulse has successfully updated its user interface and developed smaller versions for the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone – all synced with a “” account so all your settings are available anywhere.

Wunderlist HD   6. Wunderlist (Free) – The one area where the iPad has lacked was a cross-platform To-Do list app in the cloud.  Not everyone is completely encompassed in the Apple ecosphere.  I, for one, own a Windows Phone.  Apple recently added Reminders with iOS 5.0, which works very well, if all your devices and computers are Apple.  Wunderlist is a free service that can be accessed  on a Mac, PC, Android, iOS and now Windows Phone.  This great looking app keeps track of all your tasks and syncs in the cloud perfectly.

Evernote   5. Evernote (Free) – Another cross-platform cloud based service, Evernote syncs notes, ideas, images, and even web pages to your iPad.  Evernote is incredibly useful and easy to use.  Have a quick thought or great idea? Simply fire up the app and jot it down. Evernote will save them instantly and you’ll be able to access them from the web or native OSX or Windows applications.

Instapaper   4. Instapaper ($4.99) – Now back to the cloud.  Another app I use daily is Instapaper.  A lot of times while browsing, I will come across an interesting article that I just don’t have the time to read.  With a free account, I can click my browser bookmark “Read Later” and Instapaper will save the article for me to read at a later date.  The best part of this service is that these articles can be read “offline”.  So, if you’re stuck at the mechanic with no wireless connection, you can still read all your Instapaper articles.

Dropbox   3. Dropbox (Free with available upgrades) – Dropbox could be my favorite app ever.  Dropbox is essentially a hard drive in the cloud.  The great thing about the free service though, is when installed on your home or work computer, your Dropbox appears as any other folder.  When items are placed into the Dropbox folder, they are accessible locally or in the cloud from any device. As a video editor, this has come in handy hundreds of times.  For long renders, I can set the output folder to Dropbox and head home to view the finished video on my iPad.  Once again, this is a free cloud-based service…notice a pattern yet?

Tweetbot - A Twitter Client with Personality for iPad   2. Tweetbot ($2.99) – The most useful tool in social media has to be Twitter.  Twitter gives us the ability to share news and information at lightning speeds.  It has become my only source for sports information and has had an enormous influence on network television, movies and politics.  That being said, the official Twitter app for the iPad has been a large disappointment.  Twitter on the web is relatively light to begin with, and it’s a shame they removed some functionality from their iPad app.  This is where Tweetbot comes in.  Every aspect of Tweetbot is considerably better than the official Twitter app.  All the functionality of the site is there and the user interface is outstanding.

Flipboard   1. Flipboard (Free) – This app seems to make it to the top of everyone’s iPad app list, and rightly so.  Flipboard takes any news feed, including those from Facebook, Twitter, and Linked in and formats them into a personalized magazine.  The user interface is incredible and the functionality is perfect.

What are your essential apps? Share them in the comments section!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *