Star Trek: PADD is the iPad application every Star Trek fan should own. It’s as simple as that.

The $4.99 iPad application acts like a PADD – that is, a Personal Access Display Device, the kind of tablet used by Star Trek characters in the TV shows and movies, from “The Next Generation” onwards. As you can see in the above image, the application is faithful to the PADD visually, and I can tell you that the audio is spot-on, too.

The app itself provides users with all the information they’ll ever need to know on the Star Trek universe. This includes aliens, ships, characters, technology, places, food, science and medicine, episodes, cast and production staff – all of which are accessible in a PADD-style tab bar that runs along the bottom of the application.

In the background, PADD-style sounds play (random beeps, really), and a voice acknowledges users’ inputs when a tab is touched (“Accessing file” and “Input received” are the kinds of answers you can expect to receive from Star Trek: PADD).

Perhaps my favorite thing about the application is its screensaver-style feature. When the application has gone unused for a minute or so, the screen switches to display information on – you guessed it – the USS Enterprise. This feature makes users feel like they’re working as a Science Officer or Engineer on the actual ship! Even now, while writing this post, the application is humming away in the background. And, while I’ll probably get bored of the screensaver soon, the effect is nevertheless very good.

(I should confess: While I enjoyed “Enterprise” – shoot me down in the comments – I’m a Trekkie by no means, though I watch the odd episode. Meaning loyal finds will find even more enjoyment in the application, I’m sure.)

The USS Enterprise

A social network section of the tab bar allows users to access the official Star Trek Facebook and Twitter feeds in-app and keep up with the latest news, which is another nice feature.

All in all, Star Trek: PADD is a lot of fun. It’s not the kind of application you’re going to use every day (or for many days, for that matter), nor is it the kind of “interactive document” you’re likely to read in one sitting (at least not without switching over to Silent Mode). But, the app itself is nevertheless something Star Trek fans should definitely consider downloading. For $4.99, it’s hardly expensive, though it does pack a price-tag.

In short, if you’ve got the spare cash, take Star Trek: PADD for a spin – and if you do be sure to post your thoughts in the comments.