The iPad Air is now available, and if you were lucky enough to pick one up, it’s time to fill it up the right way. We’re here to give you five great apps, and five great games to install on your iPad Air right out of the box. Each app, and game selection is great in their own right, and will really shine on the thinner, lighter, and faster device that maintains the same great retina display.
Apple Apps: Apple makes a number of apps that aren’t standard in iOS, but have to be installed separately. Do yourself a favor, and install as many as you can based upon your interests. The first time you open the App store on your new device, there’s a pop-up allowing you to download all of Apple apps for free with one button. Whether it’s iBooks, iTunes U, Podcasts, Find My Friends, or Find My iPhone. Apple is taking it a step further in 2013, as your purchase of a new iPad Air gets you Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand all for free. iMovie seems to be the best suited for the iPad screen size, iOS 7, and iPad’s new A7 power.
Mailbox (Free, Universal) [Review]: Mailbox took the iPhone by storm in February with a brand new way to interact with your email inbox. Mailbox is just so effortless to use with a gesture driven interface allowing you to swipe across messages to assign them to different locations. You can archive, delete, snooze, or add to lists all from swiping left and right as either short or long swipes. The snooze functionality is one of the most powerful functions of the app, allowing you to be reminded about a message later on with multiple choices for when. Everything you do in the app is about getting your inbox to zero, but there are other valuable features as well including chain conversation view, push notifications, and great speed of new emails.
Echograph (Free, Universal) [Review]: It’s one of the very best apps for iOS by allowing your creativity to flow by merging still photos and video into one new medium. It’s a three step process as you pick video, choose a still frame, and then drag your finger over the section of the still frame that you want to be in motion. This app is remarkable in every way, and works with any iOS device, and you can even use the better camera of your iPhone, and bigger screen of the iPad to first shoot, and then edit.
Pyramids 3D ($6.99, iPad) [Review]: An absolutely amazing app that is unrivaled in the App Store. There’s no app experience like it which provides the next best thing to actually setting foot on the Giza plateau yourself. You can explore the major monuments as well as the smaller entities, and the best part is that you can actually move into the various rooms within the monuments. You can travel down the shafts of the Great Pyramid, or into the burial chambers of the smaller units, and tap on every object to learn more about what you’re looking at. The combination of the photo realistic 3D walkthroughs with the detailed book information that brings you so close to the pyramids that you might get a little sand in your shoes.
Handy Photo ($1.99, Universal) [Review]: The app comes with functions that are normally reserved for desktop photo editing tools that cost hundreds of dollars, like Photoshop. It may be the most valuable app in the App Store with the bang for your buck in terms of the deluxe features included for the minimal price. It’s such a feature rich application with all of it made for touch, that allows anyone to actually enjoy editing photos. The includes all of the basic edits you expect, but also offers intelligent techniques including clone stamp, anti crop that fills in the background as you expand a photo, object removal with background fill, and more. Again, the best part is that they’re advanced photo editing techniques, made for touch.
Asphalt 8: Airborne ($0.99, Universal) [Review]: The game delivers one of the most exhilarating racing experiences on any platform that takes the lead of iOS racers. The entertainment value provided is simply off the charts making Asphalt 8 an absolute must that you will enjoy every minute of. Asphalt 8 is feature rich to say the least with 180 events in career mode, nine deluxe raceways, 47 unlockable cars, and online multiplayer. Once a race starts, there is never a dull moment with multiple racers flying every which way with the potential for collisions, drifting, and even flight. Each of the nine tracks requires constant attention as there are forking pathways, multiple ramps, and so much potential for mistakes. You’re screaming along the tracks at high speeds so obstacles come at you in an instant, and then there are the various segments that invite extensive drifts, and huge air. The game is perfect to push the graphics, and help you appreciate the thinner, and lighter design as you tilt to steer through action packed courses.
Badland ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: An amazing iOS experience that is crafted so well for the platform. The game delivers such an intricate physics driven side scrolling adventure that offers so many nuances as you go. There are dangers in every section of a given level, and you never know what to expect. The silky smooth one touch controls remain to let you focus on managing the difficult adventure that awaits. There’s so many moving parts in the environments, and then there are various power-ups scattered about to change your character’s size, speed, and numbers. All of it is presented through a beautiful design with silhouetted colorful backgrounds against menacing black foregrounds.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($9.99, Universal) [Review]: The game has the potential to change the entire App Store, and that’s because it’s the complete high quality console/PC game, but made specifically for iOS. It’s truly the total package delivering ornate strategy gameplay controlled effortlessly through touch. It might just be the most advanced game on iOS as you lead resistance soldiers against an alien invasion with a great storyline, tactical battles, the ability to research advantages, and simply have such an involved experience. There’s so much that goes into each turn making what is essentially a new age chess board that delivers a level of depth that simply hasn’t been seen on iOS, and was recently updated with online multiplayer. Talk about pushing your brand new iPad.
DEVICE 6 ($3.99, Universal) [Review]: At the most basic level, it’s a text based adventure that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced on any other platform. Experience is a good word, because DEVICE 6 is more than just a game, more than just an interactive storybook, and it’s really a new interactive medium. It’s completely engrossing in every regard, and it’s just so finely made to truly put you in the shoes of the protagonist, with the complex puzzles, imagery, flow of text, and audio. It’s an all new art form in all honesty that is unlike anything else you have ever experienced, and it’s such a rewarding undertaking that you will remember long after it’s done.
Call of Duty: Strike Team ($6.99, Universal) [Review]: The game stands out on iOS for all the right reasons, which really elevates the platform to a new level. Future games have higher expectations, and the best part is that this isn’t just a Call of Duty port, but rather a whole new experience. The game merges first person shooter and third person strategy into one game allowing you to switch between the modes within a given level at will. You can also switch between characters to continually change perspective for targeted assaults of either first person blasting through enemies, or birds eye view of directing units. It’s a whole new Call of Duty, specifically made for iOS.
Infinity Blade III ($6.99, Universal) [Review]: The Infinity Blade series has been a continuous stalwart on iOS, and that hasn’t changed in its third edition. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, and it has been specifically updated for the A7 64-bit that’s in the iPad Air. It’s just honorable mention, because the gameplay hasn’t really changed in three versions, so it can be a bit repetitive. It’s still jam packed with content with two playable characters, and eight worlds. It’s one deluxe iOS experience that can be repetitive at times, but still is an overall enjoyable, engaging, and entertaining experience.
Pulse (Free, Universal) / Zite (Free, Universal): Pulse, and Zite are the best news apps in the App Store because they provide personalized stories with wonderful interfaces. If you ever like to read the news, Pulse and Zite go hand in hand to deliver every angle. You can read the news from multiple sources and categories, and they’re all effortless to set up with news you care about. Pulse provides a thumbnail grid of the sources you specifically add, while Zite delivers intelligent news aggregation based on your preferences, and article feedback.