You just got a new iPad from an extremely generous friend or family member? Oh. My. God! Lucky you! Whether it's the Air or the mini, you now possess a ridiculously powerful tool for entertainment, productivity and education, but at the moment, it's looking rather bare, isn't it? It needs apps, lots of apps -- and that's why we're here.
We'll help get you started on the right app track, so find whichever categories apply to you and get started!
You're a kid
If you fit into this category, you probably hate being called a kid, but you're a kid. It's OK though, because before you know it, you're going to wish you could go back to being a kid (trust me). You're on winter vacation and you've got a lot of time on your hands. That time should probably be spent
studying playing games. Here are your best bets:
Angry Birds Go! - The 3D racer with avian flair, Angry Birds Go! is a time sink. You'll boot it up before lunch and before you know it, it'll be dinner time.
Knightmare Tower - One of the most fantastic tablet-optimized games on the app store, Knightmare Tower is original, funny and can be played in short bursts when you need a break from hanging out with your visiting relatives.
Words With Friends - This is your safety net. You're going to be playing on your tablet a lot over the next week, so when your parents tell you that you should put it down, you can show them Words With Friends and explain that you're actually expanding your vocabulary.
You're a teen
If this is you, you probably have a better handle on what is popular on the App Store than your younger (or in many cases, older) brethren. You've downloaded Facebook and Twitter, because you can't live without them, but what's next?
Procreate - If you have an artistic inclination, Procreate will give you all the tools you need to create amazing digital artwork. Fool around with it for a while and you might even craft something that will leave your friends in awe when you post it on Facebook.
Minecraft Pocket Edition - If you've never dabbled in Minecraft, I'm not even sure that winter break is a long enough time to fully absorb its majesty, but you should check it out anyway. Build a house, explore caves, defeat enemies and brave the elements -- as a start -- and that's just the first hour.
Star Walk HD - OK, I know this falls in the Education category, but trust me, Star Walk HD is fantastic. When you point your tablet towards the night sky, you'll get labeled, interactive views of all the celestial bodies above. It's mesmerizing, and there's always something new to see.
You're a 20-something
You've been seeing and playing with your friends' tablets for years, but now you finally have one of your own. You know you can read books on it, browse the web and watch Netflix, but what else is there?
Plex - You have a bunch of video content on your desktop, but you can't be bothered to sit in your office just to watch a new season of your favorite show. Plex lets you turn your computer into a media server that can then be accessed via your iPad, sending all your video content to whatever room you want.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - You're old enough to remember when San Andreas came out, and even if you didn't play it at the time, you likely heard plenty about it. Take this opportunity to play this crime epic again (or for the first time), and I promise you won't regret it.
Fantastical 2 - The iOS calendar -- especially since the change to iOS 7 -- isn't even close to being the best scheduling software the iPad has to offer. Fantastical 2 simplifies both the calendar and reminder functions in a way that even Apple hasn't been able to beat. Your schedule is hectic, but this will help.
You're in your 30s
You might already own a smartphone, but this is your first tablet. The best-selling apps on the App Store are all games, and while you're planning on checking those out soon, what you're really looking for are some apps to make your days smoother.
Things - One of the simplest names in the App Store belongs to one of the slickest task managers around. Things lets you make to-do lists based on day, separate work/family/hobby items and tag items with timeframes and priority. [Alternatives: Wunderlist, Any.do –Ed.]
GasCubby - Your vehicle can be one of the biggest drains on your budget, but GasCubby will help you keep it in check. Track mileage, maintenance and appointments to plan for pricey upkeep before it becomes a shocking hit to your wallet.
8,500+ Drink & Cocktail Recipes - Need I say more?
You're cruising past 40
Tablets might be all the rage with the younger generations, but you're not about to be left behind. You finally got an iPad and you know its ins and outs, but the App Store is a jumbled mess of to-do apps and you're looking for something great.
Afterlight - If you're inclined to snap more than a few photos at family gatherings, vacations or even just on the way to work, Afterlight will make those shots brilliant. With a suite of filters, enhancements and tools, even the most casual photog can create something great.
Plague Inc. - Your earlier plans for world domination didn't quite pan out, but you can make your days in middle management feel much more destructive by unleashing a virtual plague upon the populace. Craft a brutal strain, name it after yourself and watch the world crumble under your microscopic fist.
Notability - A note-taking app doesn't sound interesting on the surface, but Notability isn't just a pad to scribble on. Draw, sketch, type, color and compile your thoughts in gorgeous clarity and save them across all your platforms so that no accidental coffee spill can ruin your work. [Alternatives: Paper, SoundNote, Evernote.]
You've hit 50, and you're loving it
When you were a youngster, a computer as thin as a magazine was the stuff of science fiction. Now it's a reality, and you can't wait to dive in.
iTranslate - You've always regretted not picking up another language, but with iTranslate you never really need to. Simply speak into the app, select the language you wish to convert to and listen to the app speak it back to you (or anyone else). Plan a trip to an exotic locale and bring your own personal virtual translator along for the ride. [Alternative: DuoLingo.]
Stock Market HD - The iPad
already features a built-in stock checker doesn't get the same default "Stocks" app as the iPhone, and even if it did, it's not nearly as powerful as Stock Market HD. Check your investments with detailed charts and figures, keep track of your favorite stocks and compare stock values with just a tap.
Scanner Pro - If you're still using a bulky desktop scanner to scan and send documents, Scanner Pro will make it obsolete. Use the iPad's built-in camera to take snapshots of any paper document and quickly convert it into a black-and-white PDF for ease of use.
You're 60 or older
You know your way around the web and you keep the rest of the family up to date with timely emails. Your new tablet might seem a bit intimidating, but you're not about to let the rest of the world have a digital revolution without you.
RetirePlan - Whether you're already thinking about retirement or not, RetirePlan is a great way to start planning for future life changes. Plan budgets, chart your savings and track the value of your retirement funds with slick charts and easy-to-use features.
Skype - Keeping in touch with your family near and far has never been easier than it is with Skype. Chat via text, voice or full video using your new tablet and never miss a thing. [Alternatives: FaceTime (built-in), Google Hangouts, Spin]
How to Cook Everything - Your recipes are already a huge hit with your family, but surprise them all by whipping up something they've never seen before. With more than 2,000 recipes, weekly featured dishes and built-in temperature guides and timers, it's your new secret culinary weapon.
You're a music lover
Djay 2 - Scratch your own tunes, mix tracks, add effects and more with the most feature-packed DJ app for iPad.
Shazam - Find the title and artist of virtually any piece of music just by tapping your iPad.
Spotify - Whether you're willing to pony up the cash for the premium subscription or not, Spotify is a great way to find new music and rock out to your favorite tunes.
You're a film buff
Netflix - Seriously, if you don't already have Netflix, you're doing it wrong.
Hulu Plus - A ton of TV shows and movies that you might not find on Netflix, updated daily.
IMDb - The ultimate movie reference tool, there's nothing you can't find out about your favorite film using IMDb.
You're a parent
WebMD - Whether it's a cough, a wheeze, an ache or a rash, WebMD is a great first step in identifying an ailment.
SitOrSquat - No matter where you are, SitOrSquat can find the closest public restroom.
AroundMe - Hectic trips with a vehicle full of youngsters are made easier with one of the App Store's oldest and most popular apps. AroundMe can find gas stations, coffee shops, banks, hospitals, inns and any other type of business you need at a moment's notice. [For road trips, iExit and RoadAhead.]
You pinch pennies
Mint - A fantastic budget tool for the iPad, Mint keeps track of all your bank accounts, credit cards and investments.
GasBuddy - Find the absolute cheapest gas prices wherever you are on the road.
Shopper - Scan barcodes to find the lowest prices, make shopping lists and even incorporate coupons all at once.
You love sports
theScore - Track scores, stats and news for any sport in real-time on your iPad.
ESPN ScoreCenter - Track your favorite teams and watch HD video clips using ESPN's flagship app.
Sporting News - Get news alerts and track social network buzz around your teams and players.
Got a must-have app that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.