Best iPad Air apps: All the iPad apps you just can't live without

It's that time of year again when family and friends are generous with their hard-earned money, buying iTunes gift cards or (better yet) iPad Airs for loved ones. If you're one of the lucky who have received Apple's latest iPad along with some spending cash for the App Store, you're probably wondering which apps you should buy or download.

The App Store has many sections, categories, lists, recommendations, and of course apps. The convolute of little icons and their ratings might be too much, causing your head to swirl, whirl and go kaput. But have no fear. Pocket-lint has come to thy rescue by compiling a list of the best iPad Air apps available. Correction: the iPad Air apps you just can't live without.

To be fair, this is a hard list for even us to make. There are many photo-editing apps out there, for instance, and it's hard to pick the absolute No.1 app without offending die-hard fans of another. So, we've taken that into consideration and have mentioned essential apps as well as the most notable ones.

Either way, they're all the crème de la crème of Apple's App Store, and thus the perfect apps for your shiny, new iPad Air. Happy App Store shopping!

Read: Apple iPad Air review

Apple

These are Apple's own apps. If you want to create and edit a word document, presentation, spreadsheet, movie, photo, music loop, or just find an iOS device, friend, or good book, then these are some of the best apps to download. They're made by Apple developers specifically for Apple's tablet. 'Nuff said.

iWork -Pages is for documents, while Numbers is for spreadsheets, and Keynote is for presentations.

iLife - iMovie is for video editing, while iPhoto is for photo editing, and Garageband is for music looping.

Find My Friends -Easily locate friends and family using your iPad Air.

Find My iPhone/iPad - Use another iOS device to find your iPad Air and protect your data.

Google

If you don't mind using Apple's rival products, then you'll be glad to know Google has an entire ecosystem of apps with brilliant iOS counterparts. There's dedicated apps for maps, satellite imagery, watching videos, searching the web, emailing, and socialising with friends. Google's got you covered - at least for most aspects of your online life. And here are some of the best ones:

Google Maps - Offers comprehensive maps in 200 countries with voice-guided GPS for driving, etc.

YouTube - Watch Miley Cyrus' latest video with the official YouTube app for iPad.

Google Earth - Think Google Maps but with layers, including roads, borders, photos, and Street View.

Google Search - Google's search engine, in app form. It has support for “OK Google” voice commands.

Gmail - Send an email with the official Gmail email app for iPad.

Google+ - Stay connected with the official Google+ social network app for iPad.

Chrome - Browse the web the official Chrome browser app for iPad.

Google Drive - Upload photos, files, etc, to the cloud via Google Drive. You get 15GB of storage free.

Social networks

Social networks: We all have them, and we all use them, unfortunately. Since they tend to be the websites we log into most often, it's definitely handy to have a dedicated iPad app for each one. Check out some of the most popular social networking apps below. Hey - most are free.

Tweetbot - Third-party, alternative Twitter client that is more feature-rich than Twitter's open iPad app.

Twitter - Post a tweet with the official Twitter social network iPad app.

Facebook - Share a status update with the official Facebook social network iPad app.

Pinterest - Post DIY pins with the official Pinterest social network iPad app.

Tumblr - Find more memes with the official Tumblr social network iPad app.

Photo editing

It's no secret that we use our iOS devices to snap photos practically every 5 minutes. But did you know there are some powerful photo editors out there beyond Instagram? We didn't think so. Check out the list below, if you care to be enlightened.

Adobe Photoshop Touch - Core Adobe Photoshop...but touch-optimised for iPad.

Snapseed - This is a Google-owned iPad app that lets you enhance, transform, and share photos.

Camera+ - Just another photo-editing iPad app with a host of advanced features.

Music

You probably love music. Thankfully, there are plenty of apps for streaming it. Heck, there are even apps for recognising music. So we've picked out three necessary music apps, each listed below, which will certainly cater all of your song-craving needs.

Spotify - Stream music from the official Spotify app, wherever you are.

Pandora Radio - Discover music and create stations with the official Pandora app.

SoundHound - Enables you to find and recognise the music playing around you.

Entertainment media

Movies and TV shows. Just can't get enough of them, eh? If you have an addiction to content on the big screen, then look no further. We've rounded up a nice selection of apps for streaming content, online videos and clips, entertainment guides and management, and more. Note: Some of these apps may need a paid subscription to access their full bevy of features and content.

Hulu Plus - Gives streaming access to current hit TV shows.

Netflix - The official app for the world's leading TV and movie subscription service.

Amazon Instant Video - Stream TV and movies, as well as original Amazon programming.

Crackle - Access to more free TV and movies, via Sony.

Show You - Rounds-up the best videos of the day from YouTube, Vimeo, and other sources.

GetGlue - Chat with friends while watching TV and discovering new favorite movies and shows.

Zeebox - This app is self-described as a social network...for TV fans.

TV Guide - Find out what's on with the official TV Guide app.

Writing

Whether you're in school or at work, the majority of people need to write. But gone are the days of pen and paper when you own an iPad Air. These iPad apps are the perfect solution for jotting your thoughts down, writing full-blown reports, or just keeping a journal.

Notability - Sketch ideas, annotate docs, sign contracts, keep a journal, etc.

Penultimate - This app is self-described as "t he most natural digital handwriting experience on iPad."

Noteshelf - Annotate PDFs and sketch drawings.

  • Link: Noteshelf ($4.99 - 50 per cent off sale)

iA Writer - A simple, clean, easy-to-use interface for writing on the iPad.

Reading

News, eBooks, websites, magazines, newspapers, comics. There are so many things to read, and even more places to find those things to read. The apps below are a collection of resources available for reading everything your heart desires. There's also an app for anyone who loves to listen rather than strain their eyeballs. Enjoy!

Pocket - Save articles, videos, recipes...anything you find online, and read it later.

Marvel Unlimited - Experience over 70 years of great comics with Marvel's official iPad app.

Comics - Comixology offers more than 40,000 digital comics and graphic novels.

Kindle - Access to over 1 million eBooks in the Kindle Store by Amazon..

Reeder 2 - This is an RSS client for Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Fever, Readability, and others.

Audible - Access to over 150,000 audiobooks from the Audible Store by Amazon..

Feedly - Browse and share content from news sites, RSS feeds, Tumblr blogs, YouTube, and more.

Instapaper Pro - Instapaper saves stuff for offline, on-the-go reading, and it's cleanly formatted.

Flipboard - Formats all of your sites and publications into a flip-style-like magazine.

Digg - Delivers stories from the Internet and lets you follow your favorite sources and publishers.

Readability - Readability turns any web page into a clean web page for reading now or later.

News360 - Gather news articles and blog posts from around the web.

Productivity

Need to make a to-do list, map out a flowchart, finish taxes, edit a PDF, make a spreadsheet, start a journal, post a blog, take notes, unzip a compressed folder? No? Well, some people do these things. For years they were changed to a desktop computer in order to get any work done, but now the iPad Air and the apps below can help them be productive while on the go.

Evernote - Take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, etc.

Blogsy - A blogging tool that takes full advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen.

PDF Expert 5 - Read, annotate or edit PDF documents on the iPad.

DayOne - Memory-keeper, journal, photo-saver, calendar and more - in one little app.

QuickOffice Pro HD - App from Google lets you create and edit Microsoft Office files.

Cloudon - Another app for creating and editing Microsoft Office files.

MindNode - Allows you to layout a visual representation of your ideas.

Omnigiraffe - Useful tool for making a quick diagram, process chart, page layout, website wireframe, etc.

Games

This is one of those categories that needs no explanation. The iPad Air has a screen. There are plenty of fun-packed apps that take advantage of that screen, including ones for words, racing, wars, puzzles, zombies, candy, etc. Here are a few of the most addictive, well-designed and popular apps on the App Store:

Infinity Blade Three - RPG action title intended to be the final game of the Infinity Blade trilogy.

The Room - This 3D-world game is self-described as "physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game."

Asphalt 8 - An intense racing game.

Badland - A sidescrolling action game set in a forest full of various inhabitants, trees and flowers.

Call of Duty Black Ops Zombie - Call of Duty franchise. Meets Zombies. Amazing.

Assassin's Creed Pirates - Lets you become one of the most feared pirates of the Caribbean.

Minecraft - Self-described as a game about "placing blocks to build things and going on adventures."

Cut the Rope - Cut the rope to feed candy to little monster named Om Nom.

Angry Birds Star Wars II - Angry Birds franchise. Meets Star Wars. Again.

TinyTower - Build a tiny tower and manage the businesses and "bitizens" that live there.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star - Star Wars franchise. Meets TinyTower-like graphics. Epic.

FruitNinja - Smash and slice fruit like a ninja.

Plants vs Zombies - Defend your home with an arsenal of zombie-zapping plants.

Scrabble - The classic board game Scrabble - but touch-optimised for iPad.

The Walking Dead Season One - A special episode for season one of The Walking Dead.

Airwings - A flying battle game featuring a paper plane.

Words with Friends - A social, crosswords puzzle game that's also similar to Scrabble.

Machinarium - Robots and puzzles galore.

LetterPress - A new type of word game that was all the rage when it launched.

Yahtzee - The classic board game Yahtzee - but touch-optimised for iPad.

StarCommand - Build and command your own starship.

NimbleQuest - A game that lets you "lead a conga line of heroes to glory against hordes of enemies."

Temple Run 2 - A game with lots of running, jumping, turning, and sliding.

Candy Crush Saga - An addictive puzzle game featuring an addictive food.

Creative

For those of you who think more with the right-side of your brain, there are some iPad apps out there that'll let you get those artistic juices flowing. You can draw, paint (kind of), sketch, mix music, edit videos, make an animation, play the piano, the list goes on. Whatever you have in mind, literally, can now come to fruition thanks to the iPad Air.

AutoCad - Easy-to-use drawing and drafting app.

Procreate - You can draw Morgan Freeman with this app, just ask Kyle Lambert.

VJay - A "mashup machine" for music and videos.

DJay 2 - Mix and scratch your own DJ hits.

Pinnacle Studio - Feature-rich movie and video editor for iPad.

Sketchbook Pro - Self-described as an "industry standard" for digital sketching.

Virtuoso - A multi-touch piano for iPad.

Paper by Fifty Three - Capture ideas as sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings.

Animation Creator HD - An easy and fun tool for making small animations.

Magisto - A simple and clean editor for videos and photos.

Adobe Ideas - Draw freeform vector illustrations while on the go.

Utilities

Beyond apps for photo editing, word processing and games, there are some technical apps that really help people save time and get things done. These type of apps include video file converting, password management, photo transferring, file downloading, desktop mirroring, remote access, etc. If you like this sort of thing, or are looking for a similar app, check out the list below.

AirDisplay 2 - Turn your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a wireless display for your computer.

TitanDownloader - All-in-one video manager, downloader, and player.

Splashtop 2 - Access your computer from an iOS device over a local network.

1Password - Password manager and safety tool that provides a master password.

Onlive -Give your iPad a "high-performance" PC experience.

Logmein - Remotely control your PCs and Macs over Wi-Fi/3G.

Air Playit HD - Video player app designed to streaming videos/audios to iOS devices.

AvPlayerHD - Converts video formats.

AirVideo - Download and convert video files, and save them for offline use.

PhotoSync - Transfer, backup, and share your photos/videos.

FastZip - A ZIP and RAR manager for iOS devices.

Printer - Print attachments, documents, web pages, etc, from the iPad on Wi-Fi or USB printer.

Sites

There are undoubtedly a few websites saved to your favourites tab that you visit often. Those websites more than likely have an equally fast and feature-rich app for iPad, though. So, why aren't you using them? Check out the apps below, and let us know in the comments if you use a website with an on-par app that should be mentioned here.

Alien Blue - A Reddit client.

IMDb - Official app for IMDB.com.

eBay - Official app for eBay.com.

WebMD - Official app for webmd.com.

Wikipanion - A Wikipedia client.

StumbleUpon - Official app for StumbleUpon.com.

Yahoo email - Yahoo's own app for Yahoo email.

Bing - Microsoft's own app for Bing search.

The Weather Channel - Official app for The Weather Channel.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle sounds like a fluff word, but the App Store is full of apps just for this type of generic thing. You can interior decorate with these apps, or lose weight, plan a trip, go shopping, see what's around you, etc. You get the point. If this is your cup of tea, take a gander at the apps below.

Houzz - A useful app for interior and exterior home design.

MyFitnessPal - Food diary that helps you to manage and track weight loss goals.

Around Me - Quickly find out information about your surroundings.

Lunchbox - Discover new food around the corner.

Tripit - Organise all your travel plans with one app.

Business

This category can also go by the name finance. It's all about the money, right? If you have loads of cash (or not, doesn't matter) and want an app for managing it, try out one of these apps. They're well-rated and pretty useful.

Mint - Track, budget and manage your money.

Check - Helps you stay on top of bills and monitor accounts.

QuickBooks - Origanise your sales, income, and expenses with interactive reports and charts, among other things.

Cloud

Everyone has files and photos to save. Well, with these apps, you can save all of your content to the cloud, as well as access them and manage them from your iPad Air. Note: Some of these apps may need a paid subscription to access their full bevy of features and storage options.

Dropbox - A popular service that spearheaded the cloud-saving niche.

SkyDrive - Microsoft's own cloud storage solution.

Box - Access and edit your stored files in the cloud while on the go.

  • Link: Box (Free)

SugarSync - Backup, access, sync, and share all your files and folders.

Weather

Need to check the weather? If you own an iPad Air, which we assume you do if you're reading this, then you don't need the television to get the latest weather report. Just download one of the top-rated apps below.

Accuweather - Delivers hourly and long-range forecasts, interactive Apple Maps, and pushed severe weather alerts.

Weather2x - A weather app designed to look stunning on the iPad's Retina display.

Dark Sky - Tells you "at a glance exactly" when it will rainor snow up to one hour in advance.

Cooking

The inner Julia Childs in you is waiting to be unleashed. Download one of the apps below and you'll be whipping up some duck a l'orange in no time.

Epicurious - More than 30,000 recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Self, and renowned chefs and cookbooks.

Allrecipes - Browse recipes, photos, ratings and reviews from a community of more than 30 million home cooks.

Sports

Hey, football fan. We haven't forgotten about you. The apps below keep you up-to-date with all of your favourite teams and their scores. Fun, right?

TheScore Mobile - Comprehensive and "completely customisable" scores, stats, news, alerts, etc.

ESPN scorecenter - Provides scores, news and standings from sports leagues around the world.

Messenger

If Facebook, Google+, Twitter and one of the other dozen of social networks weren't enough for you to keep in touch with friends, hopefully one of these apps can help fill that void.

IM+ - Chat on Facebook, Twitter DM and other IM services. Go Pro for an ad-free experience or Skype chat.

  • Link: IM+ (Free)

imo - Enables high-quality video and voice calls, as well as pictures, text and voice messages.

  • Link: imo (Free)

Skype - The official app for video, call, and instant messenger Skype.

That's it. After combing through this entire compilation you should be loaded with the best iPad apps available. And broke. But, hey - while you're busy saving away for your next app spending spree, at least you'll have loads of fun playing with your new iPad Air.