On Friday I listed my top iPhone apps that I’m using frequently. Here’s the list of what I love on my iPad:
Evernote is one of my few mobile/iPad/Web/OS X utilities – I use it everywhere. I have notes, future blog post ideas, libraries (I have virtually every quality “Future of TV” article written archives in a Evernote folder), lists, etc. I keep copies of everything in my wallet, just in case. I have an archive of every serial number of all white good appliances in my house (for when I call for service – especially the often-needed repairs – I’m looking at you, Miele and Whirlpool). Everybody should use Evernote, all the time, for all purposes. It might just save the world. Free (with paid upgrades for heavy users).
Note: saving the world not guaranteed by myself nor the makers of Evernote.
This “interactive storybook” has kept my 4 year old entranced for months. It’s a simple retelling of the classic story, with some fun humor, and lots and lots of interactive elements. There’s a little “golden egg” hidden somewhere on every page, plus tons of other clever little items. One of my top 2 kids apps. Paid app.
This is a great sketching tool, useful for me and fun for my kids as well – a very rare combination. The app has simple tools for drawing and doodling, can import your photos for fun, and has a great “stamp” tool. Only downside is each new build seems to add some new popup that wants me to pay for something – which I “get” as it’s free, but I’d happily pay them something to get rid of the popups forever.
This is the best Tower Defense game I’ve seen on the iPad (and I’ve tried most of them so far). Easy levels are fun, hard levels are challenging, and the “madness” levels are so tough that beating them feels like a real accomplishment. And unfortunately, I’m not Ender, so killing all these aliens is squarely a waste of time (except that I think everyone should play more video games. possibly the real way to save the world, since I was definitely wrong about it being Evernote). Awesome game, and one that the developers continue to improve, which is a major plus for me – one of the few games I’ve played on the iPad that keeps getting enhanced! Paid app.
I do a lot of wireframing work, most of which I do using Balsamiq, one of the few desktop apps I’ve purchased in the past few years (worth every penny). iMockups is not quite as polished a tool, but gives me the ability to do the same via the iPad. It could use a few enhancements (search!), and isn’t the most beautiful app I’ve seen, but it’s a solid performer. Paid.
I’m rarely a big “immersive experience and storyline” gamer – I tend to care about the gameplay, balance, and flow more than anything else. But World of Goo is the only game I play where I make sure the sound is on and I can get into it for a while. The game itself is a fun puzzler, it’s perfectly suited for touch, and the storytelling and ambiance is perfect. I’m hoping for a sequel, but in the mean time keep coming back to finish the OCD levels (don’t call it that!). Paid.
Parents: go download Toontastic now. No, seriously, get it. It’s an animated storybook creator, and the user experience is so great my 4 year old can fully make the animations himself. And that includes the narration, background effects, character and scene selection, and every other perfectly customizable detail. It’s really great, and even has tons of online sharing features for those into that kind of stuff (I’m not, but I know everyone else is). Oh, and not only is it that great, it’s free. Wowza.
Zite is the only app to make both my iPhone and iPad lists. It’s my ultimate source of “being informed” on topics I care about. Yes Flipboard is more popular, and Editions is beautiful (and built by friends of mine but I had already gotten so deep into using Zite that I just couldn’t switch – sorry guys), but Zite just does it for me (and personalized flow of info is a big deal when it comes to news reader type of apps, so I understand why people get so loyal to the ones they start with). When Zite got acquired by CNN I was pretty happy for the guys behind it, and now, months later, I’m still happy that it hasn’t become the “CNN” of news reading apps. Love. Free.
And, just like in iPhone, here are the runners up:
- AppShopper – keep track of when the paid apps I’m interested in go on sale
- #sworcery – it’s beautiful, I just don’t find myself with the time to play as much as I want
- NHL Gamecenter – on the plus side, I can watch the Habs play, either in real-time or catch-up. on the unbelievably pathetic down side, I can rarely watch catch-up without seeing the score in advance, because apparently the NHL doesn’t seem to care about those of us who cannot watch live hockey at 4pm multiple days per week.
- Sundry Notes – this is an amazing note-taking / scrapbooking style tool. super powerful, probably awesome for college students.
- Tilt to Live HD – fun quick action game
- iSpadez – great spades game, with live multiplayer!
- Ticket to Ride – perfect adaptation of board game, just wish they’d let me speed up all the animations.
- Majesty – another fun non-RTS RTS game
- Dropbox – yup, it’s Dropbox – on the iPad. moving on.
- Kayak – taking the depth of booking travel and making it work on an iPad is a challenge, and the Kayak app hits it out of the park
- Waze – great on the iPhone, even greater on the iPad – free turn-by-turn nav!
- Catan HD – would make my main list, but the app is just too unstable.
- ColoramaMask – another fun drawing app for kids
- Fingerzilla – crush, stomp, tap, destroy!!!
- Pat The Bunny – good kids interactive experience
- Talking Tom – silly fun
- IMDB – if you are a movie nerd like me, you probably don’t need to be told about the app…
The most interesting revelation I had whilst writing these two lists is the breakdown of paid vs free apps. On my iPhone only 2/10 “top” apps were ones I shelled out invisible coins for. Whereas on the iPad, 5 out of 8 were paid (though if memory serves at least one was a free weekend download, but I could be wrong). If I was a real reporter I’d go through my transactions to figure out how much money I’ve spent on each platform. But I’m not, so instead, thus endeth the blog post.