Hulu+ (free). Another free app, another paid service. Unlike Netflix, Hulu+ has some ads, and it's tough to swallow paying for stuff you might get for free in your web browser, but that doesn't seem to be stopping anybody -- video and the iPad were just meant to be.
Kindle (free). There are plenty of e-book services, all of them with competent iPad apps, but Kindle is our favorite. It syncs beautifully between iPhone, Kindle, iPad, and any other device you might think of, and has a very simple, fast UI.
Engadget (free). It's free, and it's Engadget. What more do you need to know?
Pages ($9.99). This is the MS Word of the iPad. We wish it was a bit smarter about accessing your files (Google Docs sync, anyone?), but the great UI and surprisingly deep feature set makes it the de facto document editor for the tablet.
Dropbox (free). Dropbox builds its own app for getting files on and off the cloud, and it's very good as well. You lose a bit in functionality, in comparison to GoodReader, but you gain a vastly simpler interface.
Twitter (free). This shouldn't need any explanation, but kudos to Twitter for creating a beautiful and functional #iPadapp.
Virtuoso (free). Another free gem, Virtuoso is a piano. You get two rows of keys, and you can either use them both yourself (one set as the bass octaves, one for the treble, for instance), or you can flip one row around for use by a friend. "Heart and Soul," here you come!
KORG iMS-20 ($15.99). Want to make some serious music? This synth studio isn't cheap, but it's chock full of "real" equipment to truly go wild with noise and beat creation.
Solipskier ($0.99). Don't play this game. It will consume you. Your family will never see you again, and you will dream only in ski-slope rainbows.
Zombie Infection HD ($0.99). This is a straight-up ripoff of Resident Evil, but Gameloft creates great ripoffs, and this game is no exception.
Flight Control HD ($4.99). Looking for something a bit more relaxing? Flight Control HD is the Pina Colada of iPad games, with a simple mechanic of drawing lines and landing planes. You can go head to head against a friend on your iPad, or play iPad vs. iPad over WiFi.
Scrabble ($0.99). If you've got an iPhone and all your friends do too, there's only one thing left to do: play Scrabble. You get a "Tile Rack" app for each phone, and the actual Scrabble app for the iPad, and proceed to play the world's most decadent game of Scrabble.
iPad cases and accessories
Incase Convertible Magazine Jacket ($49.95). This case is more of the latter, taking cues from Apple's own iPad case but adding extra flexibility. It's perfect for propping the iPad up into a typing position, or protecting it from the elements. Just don't expect to impress any of your fellow hipster coffee shop campers.
Pogo Stylus ($14.95). Don't expect this to turn you into Rembrandt, but if you find yourself spending a lot of time in the iPad's myriad quality drawing applications, it can't hurt.
Camera Connection Kit ($29). The iPad can't completely replace your computer (yet), but it can get pretty close with Apple's Camera Connection Kit. The two adapters let you plug in your camera's USB cable or SD card, respectively, allowing you to offload your pictures and upload them to Flickr or Facebook or wherever your heart takes you. New, unofficial kits are also emerging that combine both functions into one adapter.
Tips and tricks:
Getting files on and off: Sadly, one of the hardest things to do with the iPad is to put files on it. Then, once they're on, it's just as difficult to get them off. There's no file browser, like on a regular computer, and if you plug the iPad into your computer it doesn't show up as a hard drive, it just shows up in iTunes. No solution is one-size-fits-all, but here are a few of the ways we deal with this major shortcoming.
- Email: Yeah, you probably thought of this already, but it's still one of the best ways to get stuff on the iPad. Just email an attached document to yourself, then open it up on the Mail app. You should get a nice thumbnail of the document, and then when you tap it, Mail will open its own preview of that document if it can. If you just wanted to view the file, that should be fine, but if you want to work on it, tap the button in the top right corner (the box with the arrow coming out of it) and you should get an option to open the file in the default application for that file type, along with an "open in..." button that lets you pick from any other applications you might have that will work with that file. After that it will be up to your application of choice how it deals with the file. If you get stuck you can always go back to the Mail app, where the original document will be waiting for you, untouched.
- iTunes: It's surprisingly easy to miss, but Apple actual built some minor file management features into iTunes. Once you plug your iPad into your computer and open iTunes, you get all sorts of tabs for managing your music and movies and everything else on your device. The "apps" tab allows you to arrange applications and remove them from your device, but if you scroll down you get a "file sharing" list of applications that can give and receive documents. You simply click on the application you'd like to share a file with, tap "add," and upload a file from your computer. Similarly you can select files already on your iPad and save them to your computer from this interface.
- GoodReader: There are other applications that sync files to the "cloud," but GoodReader is our favorite. You simply set it up with your Google Docs, Dropbox, MobileMe or even email account, and you can download files straight to your device and view them from within GoodReader. GoodReader also has an "Open in..." functionality for viewing and editing your files in other applications. You can sort your files into folders, download files off of websites, and connect to local servers over WiFi if you're really desperate for the digital good stuff.
- Dropbox: If you're a Dropbox user, this is by far the simplest solution, providing a simple view of your online files, a lightweight viewer, and an quick shortcut to opening files in other applications. If you're not a Dropbox user, this won't do you much good.