Even if you already own an iPhone — in which case many iPad apps will automatically sync over for you during setup — you’ll find that getting apps for your iPad is an easy process. Pop open the app store and you’ll find thousands, but the “top apps” list is filled with as much junk as it is gold. Fear not, we’ve collected our favorite below — from great writing to great drawing to great music-making, the myth that the iPad isn’t great for “productivity” is officially dead.
This year we've picked out some of the very best apps, games, books, and downloads for your new devices. Dig into our top selections for Android apps, Android games, iPhone apps, iPad apps, iOS games, Windows Phone apps, Kindle books, PC.
iA Writer garnered acclaim from writers of all levels for a minimalism that forces you to focus on, well... writing. Its cloud-based syncing and Markdown support are fantastic, but it’s best for its ability to stop you from procrastinating for another hour with hundreds of formatting options.
Google's dedicated Drive app brings surprisingly thorough editing and formatting tools to your iPad, and it's still the best way to collaborate on documents. Plus, you get multiple accounts and access to every document, spreadsheet, and file on your Drive.
Google Reader may never be coming back, but take heart in Feedly. The replacement RSS reader has come into its own this past year. It syncs your feeds across the web and mobile devices and offers a flexible interface that makes plowing through hard news feeds just as enjoyable as skimming through a gorgeous grid of your favorite art and design sites.
Co-founded by one of the minds behind the CAPTCHA, Duolingo's suite of excellent language-learning apps offer lessons in French, German, Spanish, and more. It’s a fascinating proposal: Duolingo is free to use, and your work is harnessed with hundreds of thousands of other users to help translate the web.
Even before FiftyThree released Paper, creative types were crafting beautiful artworks with their iPads. While most drawing apps give you a vast array of settings and options to choose from, Paper wants you to treat it like a regular sheet of paper. Its intuitive design works equally well with a finger or a stylus, and the smooth lines and pastel shading Paper offers can make even the worst artist's creations look great.
Apple’s iOS port of its music-making software Garageband was maybe the first must-have app for the iPad, and even though there hasn't been a major feature update in almost two years, it's still just as good as it's always been. The Smart Instruments, which can play a number of customizable patterns, make it accessible to everyone but there's a lot of depth hidden behind the app's friendly interface.
Best known for its prowess at generating and storing passwords, the iPad version of this app also boasts a highly useful browser. Log in to your favorite websites with a couple of taps and stop worrying about having to tap out a complicated password with your thumbs.
Pocket is the best way to save the things you find on the web so you can read or watch them when you have time. Links from Twitter, videos from YouTube, you name it — just throw it in Pocket, and come back at your leisure. An essential app for the modern reader.
Traktor DJ takes the same formula that made the desktop version of the app one of the most-used DJing solutions on the planet, strips it back, and just lets you have fun. Everything you wouldn't want to control on a touch screen is taken care of — beat matching, downbeat detection, and all manner of high-level tasks are automated.
This personalized magazine offers one of the best reading experiences on the iPad thanks to its broad library of content and elegant design. Secret best use of Flipboard: use it to browse Instagram on your iPad's big screen.
The genius of this email app is to make processing your inbox so fast that it's fun. Manage your messages just by swiping a finger, or connect a keyboard and fire off some replies. A recent update lets you connect iCloud and Yahoo accounts as well as Gmail.
Staying up to date on the latest viral videos can be a chore. Connect your social networks to ShowYou and it will track everything your friends are sharing, freeing you watch their picks when you're ready. A recent redesign has it looking better than ever.
AirDisplay lets your iPad (or iPhone) serve double duty as an additional wireless external monitor. Setup over your Wi-Fi network is simple, and once paired, your laptop or desktop machine treats your iOS device as a second screen. Put some tweets on it!
Slowly but surely, the native iPad Gmail app has improved, and there are more reasons than ever to move beyond Apple’s stock Mail app. With multiple accounts (up to 5), full label support, iOS notifications, and the best email search available, Gmail makes it easier than ever to get to inbox zero.
Whether you’re a power user or just can’t get on board with Twitter’s endless tweaking of the official app, you’ll want to grab Tweetbot for iPad. It hasn’t gotten an iOS 7 makeover yet, but it’s tough to beat multiple timelines, custom navigation, gestures, and countless other well-crafted features.