Apple iPad: 7 Apps worth trying

The iPad is coming in only two days, and with it an avalanche of new apps to help you get more from your device. Here is a selection of seven apps that look promising for work, reading, productivity, and even making art.

I expect many of these apps to be available Saturday, when the iPad ships.

Start with iWork, Apple's own office suite for the iPad, which includes the Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet, and Keynote presentation software. Based on what we've seen in Apple's iPad Guided Tours video, these are not toy applications, they're a fully-functional office suite. The three apps will be available separately, priced at $9.99 each.

iBooks is the iPad's free e-book reader software, that lets you buy books online, as you do with the Amazon Kindle. The iBooks app looks great.

Instapaper is a great iPhone app for downloading and reading articles from Web newspapers, magazines, and blogs, and Instapaper is coming to the iPad, says developer Marco Arent. Instapaper's advantages over reading in your Web browser: Articles are formatted for easy reading on the device display. Also, Instapaper makes it easy to bookmark articles from the Web when you're in a rush. Just install a bookmarklet in your Web browser, and click it, and the link is stored on the Instapaper server for reading on any device. Pricing information is unavailable, but the developer did say that Instapaper for the iPad will be free to users of Instapaper pro.

Things, an application for managing to-do lists, runs on the Mac and iPhone and synchs between them, and developer Cultured Code plans an iPad version to be available Saturday. They sent me this hand-drawn sketch of the UI:

Things for the iPad

1Password manages and secures passwords and automates logins for Web sites, online banking, and other services. Like Things, it has versions for the Mac and iPhone and synchs between them, and it will add iPad support and synching as well. Developer Agile Web Solutions says it's optimistic 1Password for the iPad will be available Saturday, priced at $6.99 for an iPad-only version. The iPad version will be included with the Pro version for the iPhone and iPod Touch, currently priced at $8.99, it will be a free upgrade for current 1Password owners.

OmniGraffle is a tool for drawing charts and diagrams on the Mac, like Microsoft Visio. Developer the Omni Group plans to have OmniGraffle available for the iPad within weeks, along with the OmniFocus to-do-list manager, followed later by the OmniPlan project management software and OmniOutliner outliner.

Brushes is an iPhone app for painting -- fingerpainting, really. The app got famous when artist Jorge Colombo used it to paint a cover of the New Yorker magazine. The iPhone app is great (or so my artistic friends tell me -- I can't even draw a stick figure), the upcoming iPad version of Brushes should be even better.

Finally, a computer is just plain naked nowadays without a Twitter client. Twitepad is a Twitter client native to the iPad, with multi-column views and a built-in Web browser.

These are just my best guesses for some promising-looking iPad apps. I haven't had any hands-on time with them, or with an iPad either, for that matter. I'll have better recommendations after I get my hands on an iPad in two days (if the tension of waiting doesn't kill me first).

If you're an iPad app developer, or just a fan with a favorite app, let me know: Either email me or post to Twitter using the hashtag #MitchiPad.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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