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iPad killer apps: The TUAW consensus


Killer apps define a platform. They spark the insight as to why a particular device is right for you, allowing you to make the connection between its purchase and how it will work in your life. Here at TUAW, we decided to brainstorm through the iPad apps that we've used, and to focus in on what we consider to be the iPad's killer items.

These are items that really bring the iPad to life, highlighting it as a device and showcasing its features beyond what you could normally get on an iPhone, iPod touch, or even on a competitively priced netbook. Here are our choices for those special stand-out apps.

Erica Sadun

Safari Web Browser: It's the big screen and the touch based interface. Safari for iPad is Web browsing as it's *supposed* to be. It's big enough to really read comfortably without sacrificing the beautiful gesture interaction that was introduced on the iPhone. It's a total winner.

: Admittedly, it's not fully cooked, but it's getting there. This is book reading done well, and a real contender to the Kindle.

LogMeIn Ignition
: When you gotta call home and get real work done on a real computer, Ignition lets you do that. The iPad offers enough screen space to get real work done, and Ignition integrates beautifully with a portable Bluetooth keyboard. It's not cheap (about $30), but it's well worth the price. The Mac-based LogMeIn basic service is free.

/iWork suite: It's true that Keynote is not even close to perfect yet, but you can tweak and twiddle on the go *and* give your presentation from the device itself. This is where mobile computing needs to be going, doing serious work on the go instead of just gaming.

E-mail: E-mail works so much better with a larger screen and integration between attachments and apps. There's a huge usability difference between the cramped, "just-make-do" iPhone app and the improved iPad version. Yes, e-mail works great on the iPhone but it works better on the iPad.

Mike Rose

I stand by three apps that provide great user experiences and a minimum of fussiness: Netflix, Instapaper, and Goodreader. Special mention as well for Air Video.

There's one iPhone game that works great on the iPad: Peggle.

Brett Terpstra

Instapaper Pro for iPad has been in frequent use since I got my iPad, and I love it. I was pleasantly surprised by The Weather Channel's free app, which features a full selection of radar, video and forecasts that make great use of the iPad's dimensions and interface elements. Evernote also did an amazing job of updating their iPhone app and creating an interface that is more pleasant to use than ever. As cool as I think the platform is, it's apps like these that really make the iPad revolutionary.

StreamToMe has been awesome, too (AirVideo is looking good, as well). If you've ever played with TouchOSC, the iPad-sized version, combined with the recently-released layout editor, make for a powerhouse of MIDI/OSC control. Lastly, TabToolkit, from the makers of GuitarToolkit, is a must-see for guitarists at any level of skill.

I'm still looking for a killer RSS reader ...

Mel Martin

I like the Kindle Reader, StarWalk, and AirSharing (even though, thanks to Apple, it's a bit of a kluge). I also like Pandora and the New York Times Editors' Choice.

Sang Tang

For news, USA Today and the NPR app are must-haves. Being one that always uses WebEx, WebEx for iPad is a godsend -- much like it is for the iPhone. For the Julia Child in me, I like the 170,000+ Recipes - Big Oven app. The superb image quality of the food, coupled with the iPad's beautiful screen, makes you want to eat your iPad. For radio, I like Wunder Radio. The iPad version is free to those who purchased the iPhone version. Unlike background streaming on the iPhone, which takes up the whole screen in the QuickTime player, streaming on the iPad only takes up a small portion of the Web page and allows you to surf while listening.

Mat Lu

+1 for AirVideo. Also, check out NewsRack for RSS. I still haven't found a Twitter client that I really like. Also, having been sick this last week, I have found myself playing way too much Words with Friends.

Steve Sande

Moi? iTeleport (Jaadu VNC) for iPad is awesome for supporting remote clients or running my iMac from anywhere, and1Password for iPad is a must if you use the application on Mac and iPhone. Photogene is incredible for photo retouching (not that we ever need to do that at TUAW...). I'm also amazed with the surprising usability of Numbers, and Pandora is almost constantly playing tunes for me.

David Winograd

For me, I still love the design of the Dr. Seuss iPad universal binary apps and find myself reading and re-reading them all too often. Along with most everyone else, I really like Evernote, The New York Times Editors Choice, and USA Today. But the one that really knocked it out of the park and tossed most of my day down a rabbit hole, is Alice, which we covered earlier. It's beautiful, creative and the best iPad demo app so far. This is drool-ware of the highest order.

Dave Caolo

My favorite apps are MLB's At Bat 2010, Instapaper, ABC Player, USA Today, New York Times Editors' Choice, Twitterrific, Weather Station (low on functionality but long on looks), Epicurious, Guardian Eyewitness and iBooks.


What this post illustrates for us is that the real killer app here is the potential of the App Store and its developers. We've all got different answers to "What's the iPad's killer app?" but we all have found at least one choice that we're eager to show off.

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