If you’ve got a shiny new iPad Mini in your hot little hands and you’re looking to load up on apps for it, you’ve come to the right place! Here at AppShopper, we offer a directory of all apps available in the US App Store (including Mac apps) plus a fantastic Wish List feature to let you track the apps you’d like to buy and notify you when paid apps on that list go on sale. Sounds awesome, right?
For an overview of how to use our Wish List feature, see this article. If you’re an extreme deal hunter, check out this article on how to find paid apps gone free. Yes, app developers do sometimes go a little nuts and make their paid apps completely free occasionally and you can ferret out those deals easily right here.
If this is your first iPad, there’s one resource you should definitely check out since Apple doesn’t include much in the way of documentation in the box: the iPad User Guide for iOS 6. This is Apple’s own user guide that will explain everything from soup to nuts about your new tablet in over 300 (!) virtual pages. Note that you’ll need Apple’s free iBooks app to read it.
If you want even more information on your iPad and its features, check out iMore’s guides to iCloud, Siri, Notification Center, and more here.
Now, what apps are absolutely essential to get started? Apple covers the basics with apps to let you check your email, manage your contacts and calendar, and watch videos you’ve purchased through the iTunes store, but there’s so much more you can do with your iPad.
First, staying in touch with family, friends, and even strangers through social networking is something you can do easily. The official Facebook app is a free download and while Twitter has its own free official app in the App Store, I’d recommend Tweetbot instead for a more enjoyable yet still full-featured Twitter experience.
Compared to the iPhone, the iPad’s larger screen makes it a fantastic medium for web browsing and reading articles and there are few apps that take full advantage of this while also offering intuitive touch controls. Flipboard is one such app, letting you create your own custom digital magazine that pulls articles from your Twitter or Facebook feeds and other sources that you choose yourself. If you want to dive head-first into digital magazines and get away from the dead tree versions, check out Zinio, a company that sells digital subscriptions and offers a free app for you to access them in all their Technicolor glory on your iPad.
Though you can’t make phone calls with an iPad out of the box (aside from video calls through Apple’s own FaceTime protocol), you can make VoIP and video calls with an internet connection and the help of third-party apps. Skype offers an iPad-specific version of its app to access its calling and messaging service and the Talkatone app offers free calling in conjunction with your Google Voice account and free texting for users in the US.
If you’re going to use your new tablet to replace paper to capture class or meeting notes, you’ll need naught but a stylus (I recommend Adonit’s Jot Pro) and one of the many note-taking apps available. Noteshelf and the feature-packed Notetaker HD are both excellent choices with features like wrist protection (so you can rest your wrist on the iPad’s screen as you write without making any accidental marks) and the ability to let you customize the snot out of your virtual notebooks and paper.
If you’re a movie addict or simply want to branch out beyond your existing movie collection, there are apps that offer free movie and TV show streaming. While the selections they offer don’t always include top-tier movies, it’s still not hard to find something you’ll enjoy. Check out Popcornflix and Crackle to get your movie streaming on. If music videos are more your thing, especially since MTV just ain’t what it used to be and rarely shows actual music videos these days, check out Vevo.
Unlike the iPhone, Apple doesn’t include a weather app on the iPad out of the box but third-party developers have you covered here, as always. WeatherBug for iPad is my go-to app on my iPad to see the weather forecast and current radar while Weather HD is an eye-candy-filled option that’s just as functional.
If you’re looking for games, I’d like to direct you to TouchArcade, our sister site that focuses exclusively on games for the iPad and iPhone. For today’s release of the iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, they’ve put together some spectacular lists to get you started:
- Top Ten Best iPad Games That’ll Tax Your New iPad 4 GPU
- Top Ten Best iPad Game Classics For iPad Mini
Also, don’t forget to download the free AppShopper and TouchArcade apps so you can find those app deals and learn about the hottest games right from your iPad.