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12 iPad Apps Worth Getting Excited About

What started as a small faraway sound has grown steadily louder. Once-quiet lives have been shaken up, Luddite habits have been undone, and even the most tech illiterate can no longer ignore the rumblings of geeks and gadget hounds. Tomorrow is the reckoning: iPad day.

Whether you're standing in line or cowering in the dark, knowing exactly what the iPad purports to do will better equip you to decide whether or not to buy the Holy Tablet (or give you more reasons to make fun of the 'Magic Machine'). Like the iPhone before it, the iPad is based on a system of apps, dedicated to make the user's browsing experience better. Think what you will about the device, but the programs and possibilities, be they watching touch-screen NBA games or flipping (digitally) through the New York Times, are pretty fantastic.

So, as the Apple-related din drowns out practically everything else, everyone worth a lick is hopping on the Jobs and Co. bandwagon, with apps, accessories and even fashion fixes. To keep things clear, here's a host of must-have apps -- for the gamers and gurus, cooks and comic fans, corporate cogs and, well, everyone. Enjoy.

Netflix

You won't be able to stream movies over 3G (at least until someone jailbreaks the iPad), but having Wi-Fi access to the massive catalog of Watch Instantly movies and TV shows is pretty great. We only wish the iPad could save them for offline viewing.

Price: Free
App Store Link

NBA Game Time - Courtside

The NBA didn't simply super-size its iPhone App; 'Game Time' was built from the ground up for the iPad. This app puts the sort of live, in-depth stats available to TV commentators at your fingertips. It's a must for number nerds.

Price: Free
App Store Link

New York Times

This was one of the first iPad apps we got to see, and it's honestly still one of our favorites. This free app offers only selected content from the paper, but its navigation and presentation are second to none. A paid version will be coming soon, and will offer full access to the New York Times -- perhaps the best reason yet to own an iPad.

Price: Free
App Store Link

WSJ

The respectable arm of Rupert Murdoch's media empire is offering an app with a decidedly old-school "paper" look. The download is free, but full access to the news and features will run you $3.99 a week. Current subscribers to the paper edition will get free access for a limited time.

Price: Free download, subscription required
App Store Link

Bloomberg

The Bloomberg financial news app for the iPhone is great, but it always felt a bit limited by the screen size. The iPad version lets the mind-boggling array of info breathe. Those with even a passing interest in the markets and stocks should have this one.

Price: Free
App Store Link


Elements

A $14 price tag for an iPad-based reference book might seem steep, but 'Elements' is a perfect example of the platform's immense possibilities. Tapping entries in the periodic table brings up detailed info about the element in question as well as a gorgeous 360-degree image of it. You can even look up current data, like the price of gold for instance, on Wolfram Alpha.

Price: $13.99
App Store Link

Marvel Comics app

The hotly anticipated Marvel Comics app is an iBooks library all its own. The free app will will launch on Saturday with more than 500 titles, both new and classic, priced at $1.99 each. That's not a bad price, in our humble opinion, for graphic novels that are sure to look astonishing on the iPad's rich display.
Price: Free
App Store Link

Scrabble

While some of us at Switched are already addicted to the iPhone version of Scrabble, the iPad incarnation does the classic board game one better. Besides enjoying the regular Solo and Pass'n'Play modes, iPhone and iPod touch users can now sync their games with the iPad, using their own devices as private tile racks during game play.

Price: $9.99
App Store Link

Instapaper

The enormously popular Instapaper already has an iPhone/iPod touch version that many of us find invaluable. It saves the articles we don't have time to read, and downloads them to our mobile devices. The iPad version is a no-brainer, then, with its perfect e-reader size. It also features a sweet "dark mode" for reading under low light.

Price: $4.99
App Store Link

National Geographic World Atlas HD

While a world atlas might not be your first pick for purchasing, hear us out! The beautiful World Atlas HD app from National Geographic features stunning high-res images and a zooming interface that allows you to search and explore the planet Earth in luxurious graphics. Could this be a Google Maps killer?

Price: $1.99
App Store Link



WolframAlpha

We're incredibly excited about this one. If you've never used WolframAlpha, go right now, and check out its supercomputing cloud, which delivers any kind of information you could ever possibly want. That data is now in your hands -- at a pixel resolution that won't leave you squinting. Just ask WolframAlpha if you want to know the phase of the moon on our assistant editor's birthday. (Waning gibbous, duh.)

Price: $1.99
App Store Link


Epicurious

While the kitchen might not be the first place to take your expensive new iPad, we know it'll end up there sooner or later. The gorgeous free app from Epicurious includes Ruth Reichl's awesome 'Gourmet' cookbook in its entirety (but without the illegible yellow text of the print edition), and then some. And it's in a much more reasonable size -- a good thing, since we don't have the patience to multi-tap-zoom on our iPhones while mincing shallots.

Price: Free
App Store Link


Others

Of course, new iPad app announcements are flooding in, so stay tuned to get the best new apps for Apple's tablet device. Apple's App Store (accessible via iTunes) is a great place to discover interesting new apps, especially Apple's Staff Picks Section. Gizmodo recommends the free AIM on the iPad (pictured above), which looks pretty impressive. Apple also picked these don't miss-apps: Pandora, Things, Touchgrind HD , Implode XL, textPlus, The Cat in the Hat, Roambi, USA Today, Otto Matic, BBC News, and Pianatist Pro. If you discover any of your own, share in comments!

Tags: app store, apple, apps, AppStore, features, ipad, ipad apps, IpadApps, top

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