When former developer of the Apple Newton, and now vice president of product marketing at Apple (after a 15-year hiatus), tells you his favourite apps you've got to sit up and listen.

And that's what Michael Tchao has done; well we say Michael Tchao, but it actually turns out they aren't directly from him, rather one of his former Apple colleagues Ferhan Cook who showed a packed conference in Cannes Tchao's recommendations. Luckily review, compare and buy mobile phone site recombu was in the audience to jot them down.

Still, if they've got the big man's name on them, via proxy or not, it's worth sitting up and paying attention. 

But are they any good? We downloaded them to find out. Here are the best iPad apps as recommended by the man that worked on the original tablet. 

Cost: £10.99

The Heart Pro is built on 3D4Medical's new "Nova Series" technology, and allows you to rotate, stop, cut open and label the components of the heart - all with simple strokes of a finger.
It's slicing and dicing like you've never seen before and should allow you to bluff your way in to an OR any day of the week, and probably twice on Sundays (you'll probably need to hire the costume from somewhere though).

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By turning the iPad from a portrait to landscape mode, additional controls become available to the left and right of the main screen. The right hand side offers the index function which is covered below. 

There are transparent layers, animations and quizzes to test your knowledge - so if you want to learn about your heart in more detail this is probably the app to do it with. 

If you aren't able to challenge the cast of Grey's Anatomy, House, or ER (old skool we know) by the end of it, then you aren't paying enough attention.



Flipboard is your personal magazine. Even the front cover is unique to you. Because, as well as gathering news from a number of prominent sources, it also scours your Facebook and Twitter data and presents that info as well.

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And we're not talking about pages and pages of your friend's monotonous updates, we're talking about a personalised magazine where the pages are made up of articles, videos and pictures already fetched by you from any links that appear in your social media streams.

And whilst you may still get the occasional bit of rubbish info that your contacts have linked to, you're likely to get some brilliant articles, if you follow great minds such as the Pocket-lint team (or other such dignitaries).

Your magazine is presented with headlines, pictures and text, and if you click an article you get it in full screen.

You can even share and reply from within the app (including Facebook thumbs ups) and, as the magazine is always evolving - newer material is always found on the first few pages - so it never gets old.

As well as your social streams you can also choose to view content directly from a number of sources (including the brilliant TED talks), and set up sections in your contents page.

Put quite simply, Flipboard is one of the best iPad apps that has surfaced so far and perfectly demonstrates why the iPad is a game-changing device.


If you like music, but don't really have any real talent - ie enough to play a real instrument, then roll up, roll up.

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Sound prism, according to the blurb, "enables you to create beautiful music immediately without any previous knowledge".

Combine that with a trippy visualization of pitches and controls along with sophisticated melodies, tone and chord patterns, it becomes child's play and you're on to a winner.

In practice, and it really is that easy to create new tunes to bore your friends with, and as with most sound apps, if you aren't careful this will eat an hour of your time, just like that.

Marble Mixer


Yes, we know the iPad is your toy, but it's also ace for keeping the kids quiet, and that's where Marble Mixer comes in.

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It's a game that involves you having to push marbles from each corner of your screen (up to four players at a time) into the centre to score points.

There are a number of different levels to play, and it will keep your little ones and your big ones quiet.

Think Hungry Hippo meets shove h'penny.

Although released some time ago, new updates over the last couple of months mean more realistic collisions, and the ability to play your own tunes.

Edition 29 Architecture


Edition29_ARCHITECTURE_001 is a collectable magazine that focuses on showcasing the new generation of modernist architects and their creations through cinematic photographic storytelling.

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You scroll through the 100-odd pages of full screen photographs, audio commentaries, video, text and pages that are in motion, just like you are in a dentist's waiting room.

But rather than a one off, this is regular magazine, so be prepared to pay for the same joy and excitement on a regular basis.

You didn't think they just stopped building buildings did you?

Financial Times


The FT shows us what a newspaper app can and will be like when it comes to consuming news on the go.

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Complete with its trademark pink paper, stories are displayed in traditional newspaper column format with you working your way left to right to read more.

Of course it's not all about words, there is video and photos too, although some of the FT journo's are clearly scared by the idea that having been able to hide behind their typewriters they are now having to read off auto-cue.

Nothing that a website won't give you, but if you like your media consumption old fashioned with a hint of new-age cool, this is worth checking out.

Photo Cookbook


If you've got an iPad, chances are you've used it in the kitchen. If you haven't then you're clearly missing out.

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The Photo Cookbook for the iPad is like a private cooking course in your own kitchen, with an experienced cook who clarifies the preparation, claims the app.

All of the recipes take less than half an hour to prepare, with each recipe starting with a photograph of all the ingredients.

The App is divided into four chapters: “Meat”, “Fish”, “Vegetarian” and “Desserts”. Every chapter contains carefully selected choices of 20 fine dishes, which can all be prepared within 30 minutes.

You'll get over 90 recipes in four chapters in total.



Victorian parlour game meets state-of-the-art, cutting-edge tablet computer. Yep, that's right you just know you spent over £400 to get a game that you could buy for a couple of quid at a boot sale, but nonetheless, Labyrinth is a great game and shows off the simplicity of the iPad's accelerometer and what is capable.

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For your £1.79 you get the classic labyrinth game where you control a steel ball by tilting a wooden labyrinth and 1000 levels created by the community to complete.


The Elements


Theodore Gray's The Elements is a must have if you are any way intrigued by chemistry and the way our planet and the universe is made. 

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Put simply, this is a graphically-pretty periodic table that gives two place cards for each element, telling you virtually all you need to know about different elements like Helium, Oxygen and other gems; such as those without a final name yet (our favourite Ununtrium).

The app itself is fairly basic, and if you aren't interested in science you'll probably baulk at the price (£7.99 / $13.99), which is fair as it's pretty niche stuff.

Those really into the science will like the ability to find out more information in-app via Wolfram Alpha, and before you ask - no you can't use it to find out the calorific value of a Big Mac.

The only catch we can see is that it's a thirsty beast when in comes to storage space - it will take almost 2GB of your iPad storage.



So you're interested in the stars, but aren't really sure where Orion is or how many stars make up Cassiopeia. 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.

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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.

Pianist Pro


If Sound Prism is all a bit airy fairy for you, then Pianist Pro is at the opposite end.

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Here, not only do you get some ivory's to tinker on, but a full recording and overdub facility; Live MIDI control of external synths via MIDI Mobilizer interface, or wirelessly via OSC or DSMI to work with, and standard MIDI File import and export meaning you could theoretically actually earn a living from this app.

There is multiple instruments, built-in effects, arpeggiator and drum machine, pitch bend, modulation, volume pedal and soft and sustain pedals, and velocity based on key strike position.



You can get both an iPhone and iPad version of this app, and annoyingly unlike some dual apps you'll have to buy this one twice.

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What you do get though, is an app that lets you paint to your heart's content on your Apple device with a variety of brushes, layers, blend modes, and then the chance to undo or redo if you make a mistake.

As an artist's tool you can create some amazing pictures, as long as you've got the artist within you to do so. Don't forget you are only as good as your imagination and this is just a tool to help you tell the story, or something like that.


TabToolkit is a guitar tablature and music notation viewer that lets you see how tracks are played out so you can learn the moves to your favourite songs.

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Off the bat you'll get a handful of tracks to listen and watch, and although they are pretty basic - Star-Spangled Banner anyone? - they do give you an idea of how it all works before you go about importing your own sheet music.

The app supports Guitar Pro, Power Tab, PDF and text formats as well as providing playback tempo control, and a metronome.

The app is a perfect fit for guitarists and musicians of all skill levels looking to learn.



EA's scrabble is very exciting if you are into scrabble. There are multiple options available: playing on your own or against a friend, playing against Facebook friends, with another iPad owner over a local network, pass and play style with someone else, or party play, which allows you to connect up to four iPhones (via a free app for the iPhone) to the iPad - so people can see their own tiles on their phone rather than on the iPad screen. 

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In-game you get the board big and clean. Your tiles are kept to the bottom and there is a chance to shuffle them or swap them out. Other icons let you know how many tiles are left, there is a dictionary to look up words before you put them down on the board and even a "Best Word" option that will pick the best word available for you if you are struggling.

Scrabble aficionados will relish the idea of being able to set different game styles (classic, 75-point, 150-point, 8-round, 12-round), difficulty ratings, which dictionary (English TWL or M-Webster) and whether or not to duplicate points for tiles already used.

Very polished.

What are your favourite iPad apps? Let us know in the comments below.

NB: Article inspired by Stuart Dredge