Recommend the very coolest apps, please

I’m a new iPad owner. It’s a pretty slick device, I must admit. There seems to be an app for everything under the sun and beyond, and it’s nearly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff. My needs are fairly limited, but I do like to be entertained. I don’t do sports, so that sort of thing would be useless. And I’m retired, so business apps are also useless.

We travel by RV, and I have a map/GPS app. I also got a night sky app (called Sky Guide) that is totally cool, and a city weather app that will be handy. I’m learning guitar, but can get most things I need in that regard from the intertoobs.

So I really have little in the way of target areas, although perhaps a city restaurant guide might be helpful; something that does a “restaurants within 10 miles of your location” type of thing, I’m thinking. Any other suggestions welcome.

The “Giveaway of the Day” family now includes IPhone apps, many of which will also work on an IPad:

There are a couple of pages of freebies, not just the daily one.
(Android, too – )

My very favorite app has just been bought out so I’m going to give you the whole rundown :slight_smile:

Zite is a subject matter aggregator. You tell it what you’re interested in and it finds blog posts and news articles on that topic. You approve or disapprove as you read and it learns and gets better with the next days recommendations. It was just bought out by Flipboard which is more of a feed reader where you tell it what sources you want to read and it aggregates updates for you. They are apparently integrating the two and thus you’ll be able within 6 months to tell Flipboard both sources and subjects but right now I’m working on getting used to the interface of the new world.

Zinio is a magazine reading app through which you subscribe to magazines from it’s list, download them as they become available at which point you can read them offline.

If you’re traveling and you’re curious about how much that crazy looking house is you just passed is awesome. It can use the GPS to give you house prices and listings within a 1 - 50 mile radius (or search by city if you prefer) I found it very entertaining when traveling.

Around Me gives you a list of businesses around you in different categories - Coffee shops, grocery stores, gas stations, movie theaters and the less fun Hospitals and police stations.

All of these are free but do offer some paid content (mostly paid content in the case of Zinio)

Best time wasters are The Room and The Room 2. Awesome graphics, and very intelligent puzzle.

Most of your favorite websites are probably in App form as well.

If you like word games, Spelltower’s a nice one. Two of its puzzle modes are “take as long as you like” style play so you don’t get any of the frenetic matching you might get with say, a Boggle knockoff (though there is a mode for fast thinking too).

A bunch of random stuff:

The Elements book/app is the first thing I bought for my original iPad. It’s a guide to all the elements of the periodic table with little essays about each one, physical properties data provided by Wolfram Alpha, and beautiful 3-D photos of samples of, and artifacts made with, each of them. The photos can be spun around with your fingers. Also, Tom Lehrer’s Elements song is built in. It’s basically a coffee-table book with multi-media. Nicely done.

Threes is a horribly addictive game. Simple and elegant. It costs a couple of bucks, but my amortized cost per hour of entertainment is probably down to about a nickel by now.

If you subscribe to HBO, the HBO GO app is great for watching shows on demand from anywhere. Same for Netflix. Really, if you are a customer of almost any business, they probably have an app.

Favorite weather apps are Dark Sky and Check the Weather (which uses Dark Sky data). Clean interface and presentation of data, and fantastic for ultra-short term prediction (e.g. “Rain will start in 7 minutes and continue for 30 minutes.”) Both paid apps, but worth the few bucks.

If you want to use the iPad as a musical instrument, your choices are quite broad. You can do a lot of stuff with Garage Band, which may be free with new iPads now(?). Animoog gives you a skeumorphic Moog synthesizer to play with, complete with rheostat dials and sliders. Bebot is another good synth music instrument–you can play along with songs from your music library, I think. Musyc is kind of a rhythm toy. You drag around barriers and shapes that bounce off them (driven by simulated gravity) each shape type makes different sounds, so you can build up very complex rhythmic patterns. Very fun.

Waterlogue is a very cool app that lets you turn photos into simulated watercolor paintings. For basic photo editing I think there’s a free Photoshop app, in addition to Apple’s own iPhoto. Brushes is a really nice app for creating your own “paintings”, either on a blank canvas or as a layer over a photo from your library.

If you have not already, get Find My iPhone, and also enable that on the iPad. You can log in on any browser and locate the device. This is great if it gets stolen, or even if you forgot which room you left it in, since you can have it “ping” audibly, even if the volume’s been muted. On a related subject, be sure to put a passcode lock on the device, since it will make it impossible for thieves to wipe the device and fence it before you can locate it with the Find My iPhone service.

There’s no reason not to download free apps just to try them out. You can always junk 'em if they turn out to be crap. On the other hand, I have found that my most-used apps are ones I paid a couple of bucks for. Mostly, that’s because they tend to be ad-free and more carefully designed and coded.


Oh, yeah. I forgot about Spelltower. Excellent stuff. Also Letterpress is really good. It’s a two-player turn-based game that goes through Apple’s Game Center. A little like a mixture of Boggle and a tower-defense game.

Good stuff so far. The first thing I did was to load up the ‘find’ and passcode features. I should have also mentioned that I opted for the 16GB iPad, as it was $200 off, so I won’t be loading up a bunch of photos, music or videos (not my intention to begin with).

So is iMatch worth the price of admission? I have an extensive iTunes library of both downloads and rips, which is fine for my PC, but way too large for the iPad. By using iMatch, I’d be able to access them from the iPad while traveling, but I don’t want to buy a bug-ridden POS.

You can ask Siri what restaurants are near you, and you can be specific such as “What are some moderately priced Mexican restaurants within 10 miles?” The data she returns comes automatically from Yelp (so you don’t need the Yelp app) which gives business hours, reviews, photos, phone number, link to website and a map.

Siri needs an internet connection to function, however, so if you intend to use her on the road in the RV, I hope you got a cellular model iPad. Otherwise, you’ll have to be connected to wifi.

I love pinball and the app called Pinball HD Collection is pretty fantastic on the iPad (and iPhone). The physics model it uses makes the action feel incredibly realistic. Unfortunately, it only includes one free table (you have to purchase the others separately), but it is still great fun if you like pinball.

Hangman RSS is a hangman game that combines the latest news headlines and the words to be solved (example: Dwarf _ _ _ _ _ _ Discovered Beyond Pluto).

If you like Sky Guide, you might also like SkyView Satellite Guide which is kind of the same thing only for satellites, space junk, etc. You can schedule a reminder for when the ISS is overhead, that sort of thing.

Since you’re traveling, you should also check out the “Near Me” section of the App Store to see what apps are popular in your current area. You might find something interesting.

I have not used it personally, but from what I’ve read, iTunes Match works pretty well and you do get a lot for that $25- the storage and access, high bit rate, de facto forgiveness for how you might have acquired the songs in the first place, removal of ads from iTunes Radio.

But since you mention you’re on the road in an RV, don’t forget that if you’re downloading the songs over cellular, it will eat away at your data plan. If you have a stingy data plan, it might be better to stock up on songs when you have a wifi connection.

Get Chrome as your browser, and Tapatalk to read the Dope on the road!

I love Unified Remote. All our devices are Android- or Windows-based, though. So, while I’m sure Apple has an app that does the same thing, I’m not sure whether it would have the exact same name. Anyway, this app turns your smartphone into a remote control for any computer. We have our spare laptop hooked up to our tv with an HDMI cable, and can use our cellphones as remotes to play Netflix, Youtube, and DVDs on the tv! :slight_smile: And it’s free. I don’t do paid apps. Except the full version of **Where’s My Water **(a game). It was *totally *worth it to upgrade from the demo in that case.

**Angry Birds **should go without saying. Get all the free versions you can, there are several.

Around me is great for finding business by name or type.

Why? (Subscribing to this thread because of the great suggestions I’ve read)

Plague, Inc. has been out for quite a while now, but it’s still a very addictive game. Basically, you’re a pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, prion, bio-weapon, neurax worm, or “Necroa virus” [my favorite]) with the intent on killing every human on earth by managing infectivity, symptoms, and abilities over the world’s countries. Lots of fun and it only costs like $1-2.


(Kidding. Don’t download Grindr.)

That’s what I’m wondering. Is there a problem with Safari?

The game Squarescape starts out easy and gets positively diabolical. Pretty addictive.

Shazam most definitely. It’s an app where you can use it to identify any song that is playing on the radio, tv, etc… It’s really handy when you love a song and you just don’t know what it is.

I’ve got both Chrome and Firefox as browsers on my tablet. I prefer Firefox. It’s not anywhere as intrusive as Chrome, IMO.

I second/third/fourth Around Me. I also have Gas Buddy, which is indispensable when you’re on the road because it gives not only a list of gas stations but also what they’re charging per gallon, all with an X-mile radius. I’ve got Yelp for off-the-cuff recommendations, NPR, The Daily Beast, and a local TV station’s app for news, most of the Angry Birds downloads, Snapseed for photo editing, and a couple of recipe apps just in case I’m stuck as to what to make for dinner.