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Oprah tops iPad Apps of the Week

by Viki Gonia

Big names and old favorites come to the iTunes iPad App Store this week, including Oprah’s debut on her favorite device, a long-enduring news program in a new format, and everybody’s favorite shiny-beaked reindeer.

O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE ($3.99)

It shouldn’t be any great surprise that Oprah has come out with a fantastic iPad app for O: The Oprah Magazine. When Oprah speaks to you from the cover, you know you’re probably in for something good. Just inside, find “The ‘O’ List Holiday Edition,” which is a list of favorite things from some of Oprah’s favorite people, including Gayle King, Nate Berkus, and Martha Stewart. Just tap on their name, which is embroidered on the stocking (an Oprah favorite is a twelvesouth.com iPad cover, which you can buy it right from the app) -- the favorites are animated, too. In the “Reading Room,” you can access book excerpts and buy from Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble (oddly, there is no link directly to iBooks). Oprah’s magazine iPad app is beautifully well-done.

60 MINUTES FOR iPAD ($4.99)

Opening up 60 Minutes for iPad and being greeted by that ticking clock sound, I was transported back to my childhood -- I always knew when it was 6 p.m. on Sunday, and I could either scatter or sit quietly with my dad and watch. While parts of this app seem unfinished (there is a gray bar that says TEST BANNER at the bottom of some of the pages, and the app locked up on me at times, requiring me to restart my iPad), the content more than makes up for it. You can quickly access this week’s stories, view previous segments (either by watching video or reading the text version of the story), as well view any  “Web Extras” that didn’t appear on television. While the videos could be clearer, this is a wealth of quality content that should not be missed.

ABC: LOOK. LISTEN. WRITE. ($1.99)

It’s hard to sift through all of the educational apps for kids in the iTunes App Store. Sometimes, simpler is better. ABC: Look. Listen. Write. is simple. Kids tap a letter, see a picture and hear the letter and its representation read aloud (some aredownright silly: “N is for Narwhal”). Tap the pencil icon, and kids can trace the letter. The illustrations are lovely, making this a nice interactive book.

 

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER ($2.99, introductory price)

I don’t know anyone (in the U.S., at least) who didn’t look forward to seeing the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special at holiday time. The only thing that would have made the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer iPad app more wonderful would be if Burl Ives were narrating. Kids (and adults) can choose to have the story read to them, read it themselves, or turn on “Auto Play” and the story will play like a movie. Words are highlighted as they’re read, which is great for beginning readers. You can tap on pictures to find hidden sounds, or pinch-to-zoom to highlight the artwork. This is a nicely done app, created by the same developers who’ve brought us all the Dr. Seuss books.

TRUCKS AND SKULLS HD ($1.99, introductory price)

Any fan of Angry Birds is going to love Trucks and Skulls HD. You guide your monster trucks into fortresses with the goal of smashing all the skulls. There are lots of different trucks, tons of levels full of increasing difficulty, and you can even create your own levels for added fun. Read more about this game in the most recent edition of iPad Games of the Week.