Cool iPad apps and accessories

Here's a quick list of some of the more interesting iPad applications I've discovered. The links will take you to description pages where you can find out more, and download the apps if you like.


In addition to these iPad apps, you may want to take a look at my favorite iPhone/iPod Touch apps, all of which will run on the iPad. Have fun!



Google Earth (free—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 14 MB)
If you thought this was cool on your computer, wait until you try the "hands-on" touch-based version!

Living Earth HD (99¢—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 19 MB)
3D earth rotating globe shows weather as seen from satellites (updated every 3 hours); also has world clock functions.

ArtRage ($2.99—iPad only; 9 MB)
Painting program imitates natural media such as charcoal, oils, and markers with amazing accuracy. (See below for BoxWave stylus, which gives better control than fingers.)

Kindle (free—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 9 MB)
Amazon's ebook reader and bookstore.

Textastic ($9.99—iPad only; 3 MB)
Programmer's text editor with syntax coloring, built-in FTP and WebDAV.

Calculator Pro Free (free—iPad only; 3 MB)
The iPad comes without a calculator; here's one that looks and works like Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch calculators.

Check the Weather ($1.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 7 MB)
The iPad comes without a weather app; here's an excellent one. (It's great on the iPhone, too!)

iBird Explorer 15 (free)—Great way to try out the program for free (has 15 birds).

iBird Explorer Western ($9.99)—This is the version I use; it has 828 birds.

Pages ($10—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 269 MB)
Apple's MS Word-compatible word processor and page layout program.

Numbers ($10—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 283 MB)
Apple's MS Excel-compatible spreadsheet program.

Keynote ($10—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 327 MB)
Apple's MS PowerPoint-compatible presentation program.

GarageBand ($4.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 369 MB)
8-track recording studio with "smart" instruments—keyboards, guitar, drums, bass. (See below for Akai 2-octave keyboard.) For my money, this is the most fun you can have with an iPad!

iPhoto ($4.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 106 MB)
Apple's surprisingly powerful yet easy to use photo editing and organizing program.

iMovie ($4.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 404 MB)
Edit videos shot with the iPad or other devices. Add titles, transitions, you name it—it's a TV studio in your pocket. It's amazing what you can do with this.

Koi Pond HD ($1.99—iPad only; 15 MB)
Beautiful and relaxing.

Flipboard (free—iPad only; 3 MB)
Online news magazine that you can configure to your tastes. This is my single most-used iPad application.

Articles for iPad ($4.99—iPad only; 8 MB)
Award-winning app presents Wikipedia articles in attractive, readable format.

Wikihood for iPad (free; 3 MB)
Discovers online articles about points of interest in your location—or any location!

Star Walk for iPad ($4.99—iPad only; 83 MB)
Amazing, award-winning astronomical app shows you the sky as you've never seen it.

Moon Globe HD (99¢—iPad only; 219 MB)
Stunning 3D moon globe with all features and spacecraft labeled; change the dates and watch the shadows change realistically.

Solar Walk ($2.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 117 MB)
Interactive 3D tour of the solar system.

The World HD ($1.99—iPad only; 277MB)
The CIA World Factbook, beautifully organized and rendered in color.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration ($13.99—iPad only; 1.71 GB)
Lavishly produced tour of the chemical elements that make up our world.

Videoscope (99¢—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 2.6 MB)
Turns your iPhone/iPod/iPad into a teliedoscope, using the built-in camera to generate endlessly fascinating, visually relaxing patterns.

Wind Tunnel ($1.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 0.6 MB)
Turns your iPad into a simulated wind tunnel; fun to play with and just plain hypnotic.

Pocket Wings: Discovery Island ($2.99—iPhone/iPod/iPad; 0.6 MB)
A flight simulator, but not the heavy-duty kind with dogfights and a choice of weapons. In this one, you just fly around, exploring the landscape. Relaxing, undemanding fun.


Printopia ($19.95)
Really slick Mac OS X application that lets you print wirelessly from your iPhone/iPod/iPad to any printer connected to your Mac—not just special wireless-capable models. Also makes wireless file transfers a snap.

Logitech Ultrathin keyboard/cover ($72.17)
Snaps onto an iPad 2, 3 or 4 magnetically and offers a wireless keyboard with excellent feel, thanks to actual keys—not just a plastic membrane, like Microsoft's Surface Touch Cover keyboard. Combine this with an iPad, and you'll have a slim, elegant package that can sub for a laptop, yet is thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air or Windows Ultrabook... and has nearly twice the battery life! (There are separate models of this keyboard cover for the iPad Air and iPad Mini models.)

Griffin PowerJolt Micro Flat 12 VDC adapter ($16.57)
Extremely small adapter delivers full 2 amps to charge iPad (or iPhone/iPod Touch or any other USB device). Beware of the much more common 1-amp iPhone adapters that can't charge the iPad. This one can.

BoxWave stylus ($15.00)
While fingers work fine for most purposes, with a graphics program such as ArtRage I find that a stylus gives better control, and this Boxwave model is superior to the better-known Pogo styli.

GoRock mobile speakers ($22.99)
Very compact amplified speakers that deliver surprisingly good sound for their size. Available in red, white, and black.

Apple Camera Connection Kit ($29.00)
Two-part kit; one lets you read digital photos from a SD card, while the other lets you connect a variety of USB input devices such as digital cameras, keyboards, microphones, and MIDI keyboards (note: some devices may require a powered USB hub; see this article for more info). Works with older iPhones (original iPhone through iPhone 4S) and iPads (original iPad through iPad 3) that have a flat 30-pin docking connector.

Important: iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and later, and iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini with Retina Display and later, have the new Lightning docking connector. With these newer devices, you'll need the Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader and/or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.

Akai LPK25 Keyboard ($69.00)
This lightweight, compact two-octave keyboard is perfect for use with GarageBand on the iPad. Requires Apple Camera Connection Kit or Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, but unlike most keyboard controllers, does not need a powered USB hub—it's powered by the iPad.