Best iPad Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Best Apps)

What really wows iPad fans is when their touchscreen does what's impossible on other gadgets: the finger-painting app that turns a cross-country flight into a moving art class, the mini music studio (two-dozen instruments strong, each with motion-induced warble effects), and the portable fireworks display that you sculpt by swiping.

Problem is, with tens of thousands of apps available for your iPad, who knows what to download? You can try to sort through a gazillion customer reviews with a mix of 5- and 1-star ratings, but that’s a head-hurting time-waster. The stakes are getting higher, too: instead of freebies and 99-cent trinkets, the price of iPad apps is steadily creeping up and beyond their iPhone predecessors.

Best iPad Apps guides you to the hidden treasures in the App Store's crowded aisles. Author Peter Meyers stress-tested thousands of options to put together this irresistible, page-turner of a catalog. Inside these pages, you’ll find apps as magical as the iPad itself.

Flip through the book for app suggestions, or head directly to one of several categories we've loaded up with "best of" selections to help you:

  • Get work done
  • Manipulate photos
  • Make movies
  • Create comics
  • Browse the Web better
  • Take notes
  • Outline ideas
  • Track your health
  • Explore the world

No matter how you use your iPad, Best iPad Apps will help you find the real gems among the rubble -- so you make the most of your glossy gadget.

8 iPad Apps that Let Non-Musicians Make Music
by Peter Meyers

Early iPad critics were sure about one thing: this gadget was gonna be for consuming, not creating. iPadders, the argument went, will spend all their time feasting on The Man's media (movies, music, TV shows) while their own creative urges whither.

Turns out, people love making stuff with their iPads. And not just pros. The App Store's packed, for example, with ingenious tune-making tools that can turn iTunes lovers into active players. None of the apps that you'll read about below will make you a maestro, but man are they are a fun way to make some noise.



This simple-to-operate, impossible-to-exhaust take on tune building will lure you into love-life-jeopardizing amounts of time spent with your iPad. You “compose” by positioning one or many line segments beneath a drip-drop cascade of music- generating pellets. As each dot hits the various lines, the app plays a note. Add more lines, tweak their positions, and watch this you-made-it-yourself production unfold.

The free version offers a stripped down palette: line segments produce one sound only (part wind chime, part marimba.) Upgrade to Pro ($2) via an in-app purchase for the real goodies: multiple instruments (piano, saxophone, and synthesizer); tempo and beats-per-minute controls; and the ability to save your creations.


Today’s music stars famously benefit from the vocal equivalent of plastic surgery: a little AutoTune-aided voice sprucing. So there’s no shame in us musically challenged crooners seeking a similar boost. The remarkable thing about this app is that its assistance is delivered as you sing. Some serious computer science wizardry went into this feat—most software-powered music magic is added post production. Here you simply plug in any earphones with a mic, start singing, and add harmonies and effects (auto-wah and flanger are especially fun). Save and export when you’re done.

Glee Karaoke