If you're one of the select few who greeted your UPS delivery person on Saturday or somehow got through the lines at the Apple store, you know by now that the iPad justifies all the money, time and hype surrounding it.
Sure, you can wait a few weeks to purchase the 3G model that will allow you to download apps and connect to the web with your iPad anyplace you go. But, once you actually have the magical device in your hands, you really won't want to go anywhere anyway.
So, when you had back to the office this week, you'll obviously want to download in advance apps that showcase your iPad in the best light.
Here are five iPad apps worth downloading immediately.
When the Boston Red Sox host the world champion New York Yankees for Opening Night of the 2010 Major League Baseball season, there will be no better app to own that this iPad-specific application developed by Major League Baseball. I don't think I've ever been so excited to watch an exhibition game before today, when I caught a glimpse (and listen) of my Chicago Cubbies take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on my portable boxed seat with a 9.7-inch screen.
Like the iPhone version (which you need to purchase separately at the same $14.99 price), At Bat 2010 for the iPad provides audio feeds and statistics for every Major League Baseball game. Where the app obviously really shines is in its ability to deliver video broadcasts of nearly every Major League game (there is no magic app to get around blackout restrictions, unfortunately.) The video feature requires a subscription to MLB.TV.
Expect Major League Baseball to incorporate new updates (or technological call-ups) as the season progresses. Last year, just before the playoffs, MLB.com incorporated a "Quad View" feature that enables users to watch four screens at once.
I can't wait to see what the app will feature this October when the Cubs are in the World Series. There are apps for miracles, right?
2. Magic Piano
Even if your piano skills don't extend beyond playing a mean version of Chopsticks, this majestic musical application will have you sounding like Amadeus in no time. One of many "gee-whiz" iPad apps that are available today and will no doubt emerge in the months and years ahead, Magic Piano harmoniously uses the iPad's enhanced screen size and faster processing power to create an instrument that combines novelty with serious musical chops.
The $2.99 iPad app, developed by Smule (which brings us I Am T-Pain and other great iPhone apps) replicates the action of playing a real piano simply be tapping or dragging fingers on the screen. Play solo, or form a duet with other wannabe maestros in the same room as you, or, through multi-player functionality, anywhere around the globe. The app's "Songbook" feature will also help you get started.
While digital maps and navigational tools are a virtual commodity for anyone with web access through their computers or smart phones, the marriage of National Geographic and Apple's iPad has created an application unlike anything you have ever seen or experienced before.
The elegance of this $1.99 iPad app captures that same feeling one gets opening up a classic edition of National Geographic. World Atlas HD is divided into three viewing modes: Executive (think about classic round globe featured in the CEO's corner office), Political, and Satellite. The iPads multi-touch functionality allows you to squeeze into closeups of virtually any location on the planet. Drop down libraries with information about every country give more depth behind the app's pretty face.
A great educational tool for children and adults alike. This app may actually you out of iPad mania and have you start exploring the world soon.
4. ABC Player
Be warned, this free app that features full-length episodes crashed the first two times I tried operating it. Once I got it to work (a process that overall took about 40 seconds), however, ABC Player proved to be the most seamless way to tap into watching television on a mobile (or Internet-based) device I have ever experienced. Open the app, tap into a colorful promo of an ABC show, choose from a list of recent episodes, and... presto, you're up and running.
Of course, you have to sit through a full-length ad before the show comes on, a reasonable trade-off for a free application. The clarity and performance of the video streams were excellent after the first two loading mulligans.
The app's navigation is intuitive and right to the point. Program selections are divided between "Most Popular", "Most Recent", and Staff Picks. The app also includes a schedule of upcoming ABC programs, a master directory of all shows you can view from the application, and a customized viewing history that lets you immediately return to a program you previously selected.
Lets hope CBS, NBC and Fox (or some combination of all of them via Hulu) follows ABC's lead and builds an app that lets us watch shows for free this easily.
In what is likely the most significant shot-in-the-arm to the comic book medium in more than a generation, publisher-heavyweight Marvel Entertainment released this free app that is a storefront for scores of iPad configured titles including Spider-Man, New Avengers and Fantastic Four.
While the majority of the titles are available for a $1.99 in-app download cost, there is a free section for select titles that will motivate you to buy more. Downloading the books within the app is a snap. The iPad's touch screen and brilliant clarity now only make the classics look better than ever, but also should inspire a new generation of comic authors to advance the art form in this brand new, spectacular medium.