The iPad is hot: 400,000, 500,000, maybe even 600,000 sold—and that's just in the first week. Many college students will be hopping onto the bandwagon, and so we asked our friend Ryan Wood, a graduate of the University of Findlay in Ohio, and now working at 148Apps.com, for his top 10 picks for college students. (Reviews of the apps listed below are available at 148Apps.com.)
Here are the winners:
1. Dictionary.com. (Price: FREE) This made the list of top iPhone apps and is a must have for the iPad as well. Added functionality and an updated inventory of almost 1 million words makes this app a great companion in the college atmosphere. The entire dictionary, as well as the added thesaurus, is available offline. Additional features are available during Wi-Fi connectivity.
2. Pages. (Price: $9.99) With Pages, Apple has created an extremely powerful word processing application on a mobile device. Containing Templates, advanced layout tools, and easy-to-use touch commands, Pages makes putting together papers easy and efficient. Pages also offers the ability to export documents to Pages '09 for the Mac, Microsoft Word, or PDF, ensuring compatibility regardless of what your specific campus uses.
3. Numbers. (Price: $9.99) Numbers is the spreadsheet version of Pages, with the same compatibility and feature list offered with its word processing counterpart. It makes creating spreadsheets on the go simple and effective. Numbers offers exporting compatibility with Numbers '09 for the Mac, Microsoft Excel, and PDF.
4. The Elements: A Visual Exploration. (Price: $13.99) This one is a little pricey, but for anyone with a science major, it's a must have. This powerful gem of an app provides detailed information in high-definition graphics for each element on the periodic table. See visual representations of each element, read about their specific attributes, and find examples of them in day-to-day life, all from the convenience of the iPad. As a political science undergrad, I still found myself mesmerized at the detail of this app.
5. Things for iPad. (Price: $19.99) Things for iPad is another return hit from the best iPhone apps for college students. It's the most expensive app on the list, which made putting it on this list difficult. Then I remembered what it was like to have 18 credit hours, six clubs, fraternity meetings, dates, studying, campus events ... you get the idea. Things for iPad provides the same great time management that the original Things did, in a bigger, prettier, easier to use iPad-specific format. You'll be remembering which club event is where and how much time is available to cram for that economics midterm in no time.
[Read What iPad Buyers Need to Know.]
6. Articles for iPad. (Price: $0.99 <SALE>) Articles provides a gorgeous user interface to help search Wikipedia on the go. I appreciate the debate about Wikipedia's relevance on college campuses and was told by plenty of professors not to use it. That said, it provided me with excellent starting material and a great list of resources to investigate all information. Added functionality, such as shaking the iPad to bring up a random posting, makes Articles fun even on those days that you're bored and trying to find something to do in your dorm room.
7. IM+. (Price: $9.99) It's sometimes difficult to stay in contact with your friends on campus, your friends back home, your partner for the next big project, and your cousin Suzy. IM+ makes it easy to stay in contact with friends across various networks, while still doing research for the big paper coming up. This app boasts an impressive lineup of compatible networks including Twitter, Skype Chat, Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo, MSN/Live Messenger, AIM/iChat, ICQ, MySpace and Jabber. In addition, IM+ offers an in-app browser that lets you continue to chat, bring up links from instant messages, and share content across networks.
8. Netflix. (Price: FREE <subscription based>) If you haven't figured that relaxation is extremely important during college, you will soon. What better way to relax then to curl up with a good movie or TV show on a cold or rainy weekend, and just forget about all the things that you still need to do. The entire Netflix online library is available with this app and it streams right to the iPad. A Netflix membership is required. Keep an eye out for the Hulu app that's supposedly coming soon, as well.
9. Instapaper Pro. (Price: $4.99) Even if your campus has Wi-Fi everywhere, that doesn't mean that you won't ever leave campus. Instapaper Pro makes it so that even if you don't have a constant Wi-Fi connection, you can have constant access to articles and news posts that you enjoy. With Instapaper Pro, you can surf the web casually, and when you come across longer articles that interest you, save them to your iPad for later offline reading. This app received a 5-star review from 148apps and now has iPad compatibility, making excellent use of the increased real estate.
10. Scrabble for iPad. (Price: $9.99) What could be better than a game that stimulates your brain while helping you relax? Scrabble has been doing that for years, and with the newest iteration of Scrabble, it can now do so in style. With local network, Facebook compatibility, and pass and play options, Scrabble provides fun in all environments. The coolest feature is the ability for the iPod Touch or iPhone to connect wirelessly to the iPad through the Free Scrabble Tile Rack App and provide individual tile racks for each player.
Bonus Tip. Right out of the gate, many websites upgraded their design to optimize for iPad usage, including some heavy hitters like CNN, Reuters, ESPN, and Vimeo. Apple offers a nice list of the more popular websites at http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/, but anything using HTML5 should have some pretty great functionality with the iPad.
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