They’ve got an app for that – review of Best iPad Apps by Peter Meyers

Guide to the best iPad applications for a variety of purposes

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I was fortunate to get an iPad as a gift and for the past several weeks, I've spent some time asking people about their favorite apps but no one was quite as helpful as a great book about apps called Best iPad Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders by Peter Meyers (published by O'Reilly). While I'd found some of the recommended apps on my own, this book has opened my eyes to some really great ways to learn, have fun, and get work done with my new gadget - and the helpful screen shots and instructions have helped me learn more about the apps I've already downloaded.

The book is organized really effectively so you can quickly jump to the category of app that you're interested in - work, leisure, creativity, play, home, out and about, health.  Then, within each category there are sub-categories with recommended apps for a variety of purposes - some practical, some silly, and some just plain fun.

I especially liked the recommended apps for travel and work. The recommended Best App for Documents on the Go - ReaddleDocs for iPad is one that I now can't live without. While many of the recommended apps are free, this $4.99 app is well worth it for the capabilities it offers to transfer documents between your iPad and PC. The author offers pros and cons for most of the apps and tips and screen shots as well. For some categories, there is a "winner" app but there is also an honorable mention with reasons for why you might prefer one over the other.

My two other favorite apps are Flipboard and the Wall Street Journal for iPad. Flipboard is the winner for the Best App for Flipping Through Web Feeds - which is a category that doesn't do justice to this amazing way of reading your Facebook, Google Reader, Twitter, and other social posts.  The app takes your feeds and creates a magazine-like user experience with the post and the linked-to headling as well as the first couple paragraphs and photos in the target link, which is just so cool.  The Wall Street Journal app is great because unlike other news readers, you can download the paper each morning and then read it on the go even if you're not connected.

The winner in the Best App for Scrabble category is Scrabble for iPad, which is absolutely my favorite iPad game. While I rarely play computer games on any device, this game on the iPad is pretty addictive.  When my kids were all home for the holidays, we had a great time playing iPad Scrabble using our iPhones as tile racks with the free Tile Rack application and connecting to the iPad with Bluetooth. The user experience in this game is really brilliant and though my boys killed me every time, we had a lot of fun.  Interacting with the game was pretty intuitive but the book helped me learn about some features I hadn't figured out on my own.

It's pretty clear that Peter Meyers did the kind of stress-testing of the gazillion iPad apps currently available to really zero in on some great ones. And, of course, you can read the Kindle version on your iPad using the recommended Best App for Reading Books, the free Kindle reader for the iPad, or order the iBooks version directly from the iBooks app.

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