Top 3 questions asked by anyone who just received a new iPad for the holidays:
How do you work this thing?
Why are those birdsso angry, anyway?
Which apps should I get?
Well you're on your own for #1, though we promise it's not that tricky. As for #2, good question considering all the moneyand exposurethey're getting these days. But when it comes to navigating the ocean of available apps for those handful of "must haves" to get your new gadget going, you've come to the right place.
Here are some of our favorites -- with no birds, angry or otherwise, included.
Flipboard A very popular newsreader that collects all the articles or web sites that you've identified as being interested in, and plunks them into a slick-looking series of panels. It also integrates with your social media accounts, so your Facebook feed, for instance, displays as a virtual magazine of shared images, articles or updates.
Star Walk The first thing to know about this app is it turns the night sky into a real-time interactive plaything complete with descriptions of stars and constellations. The second thing to know is people who could care less about astronomy will still love it. Just aim your iPad at the sky and your screen goes full-blown atlas using GPS to give you live info on everything above your head, even which satellites you can see.
HootsuiteA one-stop social media stop. Hootsuite's iPad app works in much the same way as its native Web site -- using designated columns (or "streams") to display not only your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Foursquare feeds, but also to monitor any #hashtags, Twitter lists or keywords you designate. You can also schedule posts (very handy) or track analytics.
Netflix/ Hulu Plus Because why have an iPad if you can't convert it to a mobile movie or TV viewer? The app is free, and if you already pay to subscribe to either Netflix or Hulu Plus, you can start watching Office Space or New Girl immediately from the comfort of the long line waiting for your morning coffee.
Crackle Like Netflix or Hulu Plus, but only with slightly less popular movie or TV titles and FREE. A fantastic alternative.
Real Racing 2 HD Every new iPad owner needs at least one supercharged video game. Consider this sequel to Real Racing a good place to start. Your iPad is your steering wheel. Tilt it left, you go left. Right, you go right. It also includes excellent graphics and a new multiplayer mode.
Frog Dissection Exactly what it says. Why get all slimy and sticky with the real thing, when you can do it with digital scissors and crystal clear graphics? Also, you may be saving a real frog's life. So that's a nice bonus.
Epicurious Possibly the iPad's most popular food and cooking app, free content includes recipes from Bon Appetit, now-defunct Gourmet magazines. It offers a universe of excellent recipes and the ability to search them by a variety of filters. You can save off your favorites to your own virtual recipe box and tap next to ingredients you need to buy to create a shopping list. Splatter guard not included though totally recommended.