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With the iPad Air now available, a fresh look apps to try for work and fun
Apple’s iPad Air tablet is now released and the Retina display iPad mini is coming. And let’s not forget iOS 7! Everyone has an opinion on iPad apps, so we ransacked the Web and put together this starter kit for you, whether you’re new to the iPad or upgrading to the Air.
Price: $3.99; average rating of 4+ based on over 40 users.
Acquired by Betaworks in April 2013 from creator Marco Arment, Instapaper is a simple clean app for saving and storing Web pages for later reading. Revamped for iOS 7, reviews have been favorable: “It’s the perfect example of an iOS 7 app done right,” says Alex Heath at CultOfMac. “In the battle between the read it later services, Instapaper has a much more full-featured app than its competition.”
Pocket Casts (ShiftJelly)
Price: $3.99; average rating of 4+ based on over 20 users.
A podcast manager, this app syncs across devices, incorporates new gesture controls as part of its iOS 7 update, and downloads your subscribed podcasts automatically. “The way Pocket Cast handles syncing beats the other podcast apps hands down.”
Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day (Fifth Star Labs)
Price: $1.99; average rating of 5 based on over 290 users.
Hold your iPad up to the night sky, the compass kicks in, and the app shows you the stars, constellations, planets in your section of the sky, all identified on screen with access to loads of other details. “I always thought astronomy was interesting, but found it difficult to visualize the constellations and discern planets from stars, etc,” reports an iTunes customer. “This makes it easy.” Yes: not a business app, but way cool.
Price: Free ($5 monthly for Premium version); average rating of 4+ based on over 420 users (version 7.1.1 with bug fixes was released Nov.1).
Completely rethought for iOS 7, and user opinions are mixed. But John Corpuz, at TomsGuide.com, likes the “streamlined look” and the new home screen that “makes tags, notes and shortcuts all accessible from one page.” Add notes from anywhere with just a single tap. “The introduction of Airdrop in iOS 7 makes sharing notes a cinch,” he says.
iWork -- Pages, Numbers, Keynote) (Apple)
Apple’s trio for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Version 2 for iOS 7 is a massive redesign, and is now free. Check out the review by CITEworld’s Ryan Faas: “The redesigned iOS apps deliver virtually every feature of their desktop or cloud counterparts...Having put these apps through their paces, I have to say that Apple has raised the bar immensely in terms of mobile productivity with them.”
Gneo (Keane and Able)
Price: $2.99; average rating of 4+ based on over 115 users.
Users of this task manager praise "beautiful design," ease of use, “intuitive” tasks and navigation, and its smooth syncing with Evernote. But some miss inline editing of tasks (you have to use pop-ups) and ability to drag/drop to change a task's date/time. Angela LaFollette, reviewing Gneo for 148Apps, rated it 4.5 stars.
TeamViewer for Remote Control (TeamViewer)
Price: Free version for personal use; average rating of 4+ based on over 30 users
Gives your iPad remote access to PCs (including Macs) and servers, file transfer features and remote control over other devices. Some users have complained about a buggy August release; vendor promises a future version “optimized” for iOS 7.
Calculator (Tap Nation)
Price: Free; Average rating of 4+ based on over 570 users
Calculator has an almost haiku-like simplicity that embodies the iOS 7 aesthetic. Users praise it with haiku-like enthusiasm: "A great app that really works great." "Very good, very simple!" But not everyone: "Um...I don't like this because of the ads...distracting."
Clear+ (Realmac Software)
Price: $4.99; average rating of 4 by 9 users
A to-do list app that takes simplicity to extremes. Now finally available on and tweaked for the iPad, and iOS 7. “The app includes a few iPad-exclusive features, like the ability to drag to-do items from one list to another, and the ability to swipe down on a list with two fingers to peek inside at its contents,” says The Verge’s Ellis Hamburger. You like the simplicity or you don’t: "Clear leaves out almost every feature found in other to-do list programs, and it can be stunningly effective in its simplicity." But another says "No reminders, just a list and expensive one at that. Just stick to your stock app....'
Yahoo! Mail (Yahoo)
Price: Free; average rating 4+, by over 320 users
If you’re still a Yahoo! Mail user, especially with the enraged user furor over its recently botched re-design, at least your iPad access can be enjoyed. The newest release fixes bugs and stability issues. Users describe it as "polished, perfect, fast" and "impressive" but one "CIO who needed to attach a file and had to use the web version" reports he "just downgraded [it] to one star" for that reason.
Price: Free; just-released iOS 7 app for iPad doesn't have user reviews yet. The average rating for all previous versions was 4+.
It's the white collar social network. "Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities."
Fuze for iPad
Price: Free; average rating for all prior versions of 4+ based on over 660 users
The online meeting app, most recently updated for iOS 7, works with Fuze's cloud service and a variety of third-party videoconferencing systems. "Very impressive" integration with those systems, says one user. The "ease of use and functionality is hands down the best app we have found," says another.