Best new iPad apps to show off the Retina Display
So you've just ordered the new iPad, and now you need to fill it with lovely iPad apps to take advantage of that retina display it has. But with thousands of apps available just for the iPad what are the best ones to get and are there any that take advantage of the new features of the iPad (3rd generation).
We've scoured the massive collection of iPad apps available (mid March) on iTunes to see what's on offer and what you should download. We've tried, tested and reviewed all of the following iPad apps ourselves, rather than just guessing whether they're good or not. Some are free apps, some are paid apps, but all are great.
Get all the latest news on the new iPad via our dedicated iPad homepage
Infinity Blade: Dungeons
New from Epic, and announced alongside the new iPad is Infinity Blade: Dungeons. Set in the Infinity Blade universe it promises HDR graphics and tone mapping that will have you gushing to your mates just how good it looks. From the demo we've seen at the launch of the new ipad, Epic has certainly made a lot of use of the new iPad's advanced quad-core graphics engine.
There's a trailer for this one too:
You can see, it looks pretty amazing. The graphics are certainly no disgrace, and the gameplay looks interesting with plenty of gesture controls to master. At any rate, good to play or not you will want to own this for the graphical prowess. Mike Capps, Epic's president was "super-keen" to point out that this is more detail than a current generation games console can deliver.
YouTube commenters always have the best and last word though, with "zorbsie" posting "The trailer didn't show my fingers in the way� of all those hot graphics". Well, it made us laugh anyway.
iTunes: Launching soon
Rating: preview rating 4/5
Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy
There's nothing like a mid-air dogfight to get the gaming juices flowing. So when it comes to showing off your new iPad and how it can cope with an aerial dogfight with tens of other planes why not fire up Sky Gamblers, have a chuckle at the stupid name, then gawk in awe at the graphics.
There are not many other details yet but having played the game we know that you'll be able to use standard on screen controls, or the gyroscope to pull off those loop the loops. We aren't great at flight Sims, but from our play at the launch event we liked this a lot, the graphics are fluid, the depth of field long, and the missile attacks ace.
This game can apparently handle 50 planes on-screen at once. Which sounds like it could make for some quite tense battles. Any Battlefield player who loves the aircraft in that game is likely to get a kick out of this, we'll wager.
iTunes: Launching end of March
Rating: preview 4/5
New to the mix, Apple are adding iPhoto as a dedicated app so you can enjoy that new screen you just bought. Cheaper than Adobe Photoshop for iPad its a lot more friendlier to use as well.
The usual adjustment tools are here, saturation, crop, exposure but Apple is keen to point out you don't need to know how to use them. Simply drag your finger around until you get the look you're after, and done. Makes photo editing easy for anyone, we've tried it, it really does.
It's also possible to put together photo journals, which pull in images from events in your life and add captions and maps to illustrate where you were when they happened and then add export those to the web.
And, of course, AirPlay is supported too, so sharing images with your TV, and thus your family, is easy too, as long as you've got Apple TV, or another compatible device to send content to.
Star Walk for iPad
So you're interested in the stars, but aren't really sure where Orion is or how many stars make up Cassiopeia. You've also got a brand spanking new iPad and want to show off that Retina display. Hoping to give you a helping hand is Star Walk, an iPad and iPhone app that will let you see where the stars are in the sky.
What makes this perfect for the iPad is the large screen as all you have to do is point the device upwards towards the sky and as you move it around it will do the rest; showing you what's what and mapping out the stars.
Failing to use it as a star chart, the app comes with other information like sunset and sunrise data for the Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn as well as the phases of the moon.
There's a picture of the day feature, the ability to bookmark events, as well as see your exact location (thanks to GPS locking) or select another point on the planet to get a different view of the sky.
Those hoping to use it at night will also be pleased to hear that there is a night mode (turns everything red) so you can still see the stars you are looking at.
Top stuff if you are just starting to find your way into the world of astronomy.
iTunes: Star Walk for iPad
Infinity Blade II
Hot damn Infinity Blade II is a good-looking game. Even by console standards it would stand up against the rest of ‘em but on a tablet, its' in another league. So why so important to have it on your iPad? Well the screen of course - its resolution is the perfect place to view all those lovely clouds and landscapes packed into the game.
Infinity Blade on the face of it is a rather simple game. It involves just a few interactions with the display in order to progress, be they swipes to attack or taps to the bottom right or left to dodge. Moving your character on involves just tapping a glowing blue ring and watching an uncontrollable animation of the lead walking forward, usually to be confronted by an enemy. In the original, this led to things feeling incredibly linear and forcing a very repetitive gameplay experience. Thankfully this has all changed in the sequel.
The blue rings might remain, as does the tapping and pre made character animations, but what is different is the number of routes and how you play through them, ensuring repetition feels very rare indeed. Add on top of this a fully fleshed-out combat system, with far more nuance than the original, as well as proper voice acting talent, and you have a very complete package. Read more
Sketchbook Pro for iPad
Designed for digital artists, Sketchbook Pro turns your iPad into a autodesk tablet. You can use it to turn out pro grade drawings using the new iPad’s full 2048 x 1536 resolution. This means bigger images to play with that will look sharp as anything on the iPad 3’s screen.
The ability to import from camera means you can pull shots straight from that brand spanking new iPad 3 snapper into the application. Bigger and better pictures again are going to look even nicer on the retina display. An incredibly comprehensive app, this is most definitely worth a download.
The iPad 3 brought with it quite a major update for iMovie. Once you have iOS 5.1 downloaded, then iMovie should get itself a new icon. Along with that, you get the ability to put together quick and dirty movie trailers, with all sorts of Hollywood style effects.
Obviously the app has been upped in resolution to look extra sweet on the new iPad display. There is also the likes of direct Garageband connectivity, so you can send tracks straight from one app to the other. It's now becoming quite a complex piece of editing kit and more than rivals its desktop cousin. Coupled with the new higher resolution camera in the iPad 3 this is a sure bet.
Tweetbot for iPad
One of the first apps to get the boost to benefit from the Retina Display of the new iPad, it's a Twitter app for those that really like Tweeting called Tweetbot. While you may bulk at the price - it is £1.99 - it really is good with lots of ways of customising, setting up notifcations, browsing within the app and general tweeting stuff that you'll know you won't be able to live without once you've tried it.
But it isn't just about making conversations easy. Understanding that too many followers can be somewhat noisy at the best of times, Tweetbot lets you have multiple Timelines, allowing you to switch into what we like to call "weekend mode" if you've taken the effort to create a special list of your favourite people - it's a really nice feature and one we can see many using.
It isn't just people you can mute, but hashtags and clients as well, allowing you to either block out tweets on a specific subject you aren't interested in, but all of a sudden those that you follow are, or to block tweets from a certain apps or service like Tumblr or Spotify, for example.
Better still, you can also search your timeline for specific tweets, with the Timeline shrinking as you type to reveal the streamlined results.
Combine all that will lovely sharp graphics and you are on to a winner. Tweeting doesn't get any easier than this.
If you own an iPad, of any generation, you should be using Evernote. Why exactly? Well because it is one of the best possible ways Apple’s technology can be used to benefit your day-to-day life. Acting like a more complicated version of those high-tech pencil case and Filofax combos you used as a kid, Evernote is for bringing everything together in one place.
A new iPad is an expensive piece of kit, especially if you have gone for the top end of the memory tree. So filling up the new tablet with high-end free apps is a necessity. Evernote is most definitely one of them. The app also conveniently works across desktop, phone and tablet, bringing all your notes, videos and recordings to each device. This means you can pick at an idea or tweak a list, using whatever hardware you have to hand.
Just make sure you do it on the new iPad. The UI is so slick its about the best possible way to show off the new hardware. Read more
We don’t want to keep banging on about how great the screen is on the new iPad, but it is, so stop complaining. This means you want apps that look nice and none come really close to Weather HD. The conventional iOS weather app looks nice enough, but you don’t get it on the iPad so you are going to need some sort of means for meteorological happenings.
Why bother looking out the window when you can check out your new Retina display’s delightful digital representation of the snow storm gradually trapping you at home? Gasp at those deep blacks and high contrast levels. Enjoy the speed it boots up and fetches weather data using the new beefier processor in the iPad 3. In fact, just enjoy the delights of how completely over the top Weather HD’s approach is to application design. It looks great and better still, its free! Read more
iOS 5 and Apple’s native word processing app, Pages, work together extremely nicely. You can sync documents easily between devices, just like Evernote, but have all the flexibility of a fully fledged word processor. Pages doesn’t come cheap, its one of the more premium-priced applications on the app store at £6.99. Then again, that is peanuts compared to most word processing programs found on desktops and laptops.
Pages looks especially awesome on the new iPad, which has a rather incredible resolution - as you might have gathered by our constantly going on about it. Why is this good? Because the high-resolution screen makes reading text much easier. It also allows any rich content that you have embedded into pages articles, something particularly easy to do by the way, to look extra shiny.
Hats off to Apple for designing a remarkably easy to use app and one which, for those new to the iPad, is incredibly intuitive and straightforward. It makes the iPad a worthwhile alternative to the laptop or desktop, for those who do little more than word processing at least.
The new iPad has a majorly beefed up camera. Drawing on the technology used in the iPhone 4S, it is capable of all sorts of 1080p magic and shooting images that rival that of a compact camera. But what to do once you have finished snapping? Well, on top of syncing your entire photostream with iCloud and using iOS 5’s built in edit functions, why not go one step further and crack out the Photoshop?
Photoshop Express works like a beginners' version of Photoshop Elements, skimping on some of the more complex parts of photography editing. You get basic exposure adjustments, colour and black and white editing and things such as cropping, resizing and what have you. Looks great again on the new iPad display and lets you put together nice screen savers to use with your new tablet.
On top of managing the majority of your technological pursuits, the new iPad can also be used for reading. Yes we know reading is normally boring as anything, but with the iPad it is transformed into a highly tuned interactive experience. With iBooks 2.0 Apple added in school textbook functionality, so you can even learn something as well.
The resolution jump is a pretty obvious benefit that iBooks 2 can enjoy, particularly when reading text or zooming in on pictures in books. Page-turning animations and everything else should largely remain the same because Apple has had that down for a while now. Read more
Google Earth is always the go-to app when it comes to jaw-dropping visuals. There are few more beautiful sights than our cities from above and no better app to look at them in.
Google Earth has been in existence since apps pretty much began. It is a very powerful app that builds on everything Google Maps does, but lets you go that one step further. You can zoom in all the way down to street level and go back out into Space and view the planet from up there. Buildings are mostly in 3D and no stone is left unturned on the world map. So much so in fact that even Osama Bin Laden's complex was viewable from the Google Maps app.
Vimeo, the favourite website of the videographer, has got a major facelift in app form for the release of the new iPad. On the desktop Vimeo site you can watch most video in high definition. This functionality has now been brought to the iPad app, with it getting a Retina display graphics update. The application will now also let you upload HD footage from your iPad's camera straight to the website, maximising on those extra megapixels that it provides.
The Vimeo app also doubles up as a decent place to back up any video you might shoot on your tablet. It's free and will let you keep a cloud based save of video. The UI is also particularly easy to use and looks damn sweet on the new iPad's screen. A worthy edition to your beloved piece of kit's app collection.
What do you think of the iPad 3 then? Let us know in the comments below ...