Apps To Show Off Your iPad
Whether you just bought your first iPad or your fifth, chances are you'll want to show it off to friends and family. The iPad's versatility and extensive app ecosystem means that you can tailor your demonstrations to have the most effect on your audience. With that in mind, we've collected some of the best and most dynamic apps in every category, so everyone will love your purchase as much as you do.
The easiest way to impress is to show off the iPad’s killer screen with an image-heavy app like Fotopedia Heritage. Fotopedia’s collection of apps are the go-to for telling stories through beautiful photography, and none do it better than Heritage. The app is a visual encyclopedia with beautiful photos of historic places and accompanying text. Fotopedia Heritage is navigable via gesture, and can also be used to demonstrate the iPad’s potential as a tool to teach information in nontraditional ways.
To convey the wide-open potential that the iPad’s unique capabilities can offer, try Device 6. Device 6 is truly an “only on the iPad” experience, and is nearly impossible to describe. It's somehow a book, a puzzle, and a game all at once. The seemingly disparate elements combine to create something special: an app that works only because of the iPad's inherent capabilities. Device 6 integrates the iPad's responsive touchscreen, gyroscope, motion sensitivity, and visual and auditory capabilities into the story so completely that they become part of the story. Whether you enjoy somewhat spooky tales or not, Device 6 is a great way to wow someone on the iPad's potential.
Real Racing 3
Another easy way to wow people is with games. In fact, Real Racing 3 is such a visual powerhouse that you may not need anything else to demonstrate your iPad. Like its predecessors, Real Racing 3 features graphics so realistic they could be from a movie, not a game— and certainly not a tablet game! The game offers several control options, including responsive tilt controls that really make you feel like you’re behind the wheel. If you want to really show off the iPad's power (and have an Apple TV), use AirPlay to play Real Racing 3 on your TV. Proud new owners of older generation iPads can offer a similarly impressive demo using the last version of the game, Real Racing 2 HD.
XCOM®: Enemy Unknown
If your friends are hard core gamers who won’t be impressed by a racing game, try XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It’s not just another mobile spin-off of a popular franchise: it’s a complete port of the PC and console title that won multiple Game of the Year titles in 2012. In the game, Earth has been invaded by aliens and you’re in charge of a multinational defense force that’s our best hope to fight back. XCOM is impressively deep, and is almost two games in one: a game of small-unit tactics where you control your soldiers in the field, and a game of big-picture strategy where you choose how your R&D budget will be spent, or which country you’ll help the next time the aliens hit multiple sites.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Even someone who doesn’t like the iPad should be impressed that a tablet can support a full version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a top console game less than ten years ago. Unlike many console to mobile translations, GTA: San Andreas offers the full open-world gameplay from the original. In fact, the iPad actually offers an experience better than the original, as developer Rockstar Games remastered the graphics and improved certain gameplay elements. Although the controls may take some getting used to, the game itself more than makes up for it.
Tiny Wings HD
For a more “only on the iPad” experience, you can’t go wrong with Tiny Wings HD. The Indie darling isn’t the flashiest game, but the soothing colors and music combine with the simple, touch-based gameplay to create a relaxing experience. You will be drawn into the tiny bird’s quests to fly higher, farther, and faster.
Once you have proven the iPad’s graphical capabilities, you should show off its educational value with iTunes U. Although it doesn’t garner as much buzz as Apple’s other apps, iTunesU may have the most to offer. The app connects users to free college level courses in nearly every subject imaginable from some of the best colleges in the world. You can learn how to make apps from Stanford or philosophy from Yale, or even meditation from UCLA. The layout and interface are designed intuitively enough that you have no excuse not to use it!
If you need more information for any of those courses you just signed up for, try WolframAlpha. The app makes up for its lack of visual flair with an abundance of information and access to the full extent of WolframAlpha's vast computational power. WolframAlpha’s app includes a comprehensive history function, and allows users to favorite pages for quick access. Even though WolframAlpha is integrated into Siri, the app offers more depth than Siri. Delight your friends by solving complicated mathematical equations! Never again will you find yourself unable to plot a derivative when the need strikes!
Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine
Another way to get information is via a news app like Flipboard. Designed specifically for the iPad, Flipboard is a “magazine style” news app that makes reading the news an interactive experience. The layout and emphasis on photos can make you feel as if you’re reading a glossy magazine, but one with content you choose. Flipboard lets you subscribe to RSS feeds, connect social networking accounts, and add any source from its extensive directory (which includes user-generated content as well as major news outlets). You can even create and share your own “magazine” with articles you find interesting.
WritePad for iPad
Gathering information inevitably leads to some form of writing, and fans of the time-honored tradition of discourse via pen and paper will appreciate WritePad, an app that turns handwriting into text. Essentially, WritePad is the modern, updated version of the yellow pad many professionals use to record notes or drafts. WritePad comes with a robust handwriting recognition engine, and learns your handwriting better as you use it. The ease with which the app accomplishes such a heretofore tedious task is impressive to watch.
Screens VNC - Access Your Computer Remotely
If that’s still not enough productivity, you can turn your iPad into a virtual window that controls your home computer with Screens. There are many Remote Desktop apps available, but none is better designed to harness the iPad’s unique interface. Unlike some of its competitors, Screens designed its interface to use the common iOS gestures of pull, pinch, and touch. Screens is very easy to set up and so well made that you can almost forget your computer isn’t right in front of you.
Procreate – Sketch, paint, create.
Similarly, you might forget your paint and canvas when immersed in Procreate, an illustration app. Procreate stands apart from its competitors by having a truly intuitive interface. Even non-artists can open Procreate and make something beautiful without having to read a long instruction manual. You can paint, sketch, ink, or even open (or take) a photo and turn it into a work of art! Procreate also provides advanced features and controls for artists, including the ability to create in resolutions up to 4K.
More musically-inclined creatives should turn their attention to djay 2, an app that helps you unleash your inner mixmaster. Djay 2 includes many professional-quality tools and effects that you can use to remix any music in your library. Even with so many features, djay 2 keeps the intuitive interface that resembles a professional turntable. You can save any changes and tweaks you make as new tracks, which means that you will have made your own music without needing to learn any of the music theory or technical knowledge needed to use some of the other music editors. If you’re not quite ready to fully commit to being a DJ, you can get a taste for what djay 2 has to offer by trying the free version, djay LE.
If your audience isn’t musically inclined, try something more visual like iPhoto. Since it’s almost impossible to take a perfect photo, everyone needs an editing app like Apple’s iPhoto (which is now free with the purchase of a new iPad). The mobile version of the Mac desktop veteran offers an iOS-optimized method of adjusting and tweaking all the photos in your collection. The touch and gesture-based interface is arguably more intuitive and easier to use than the desktop version. Aside from editing, you can use your photos in “projects” such as an interactive slideshow, a web journal publishable via iCloud, or a photo book. You can even beam photos directly to and from iOS devices with iPhoto installed.
If you have an audience of movie people, you’re better off with iMovie. Even more than with iPhoto, the iPad’s touch-based interface makes iMovie more intuitive to use on the iPad than on the Mac. The touch gestures and ability to manipulate your movie’s frames work seamlessly. The app also includes projects, and will guide you through making a movie-style trailer or a movie you can then view on all your iOS devices via iCloud.
Once you’ve finished editing, you can show off how the iPad can create unique real-world objects with Foldify (and the aid of a color printer). Instead of tweaking your photos, you can arrange several of them onto one of Foldify’s 3-D templates that are designed to be printed out and displayed. Once you follow the instructions on folding your creation, you will have a very cool display piece for your chosen photos.
Although it may not seem to be as innovative as Foldify at first blush, Comics by Comixology is using the medium of the iPad to promote a new paradigm in comic book reading and collecting. The number of comics created specifically for the iPad is growing at an impressive rate, underscoring the importance of the iPad for the literary industry. Comixology’s extensive back issue collection from nearly all the major comics publishers demonstrates how the iPad can extend traditional media. It’s also worth noting that an iPad can replace boxes and boxes of comics. The rich colors and art— particularly in the “HD” books— show off the iPad’s excellent screen so much that even a non-comics fan couldn’t help but be impressed.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
If nothing else on this list excites you, or you are demoing your iPad to a book-loving crowd, try The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, an app that exemplifies how the iPad can enrich and extend traditional media. Although the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore includes the animated short film of the same name that won the 2011 Academy Award, the real star is the interactive storybook. The story is a beautifully animated love letter to books and the power they have to change our lives. The app smartly does not tell users how to interact with it, and simply lets you explore and discover the wonder of changing the seasons or painting the sky. And isn’t wonder what the iPad is all about?