Our Eight Favorite iPad Applications
USA Today: USA Today's free app is the best of the daily-newspaper entries, with a layout that closely mimics the dead-tree version while adding cool interactive slideshows, graphics, and polls.
Netflix: Putting Netflix's impressive stable of streamable movies on the iPad's brilliant screen is a no-brainer (you'll need a Wi-Fi connection). The app is free, but you must pay at least $9 a month for a Netflix account to stream movies.
Sketchbook Pro: If what you miss most from kindergarten is finger painting, then download this $8 app. The controls are easy to master, but are still sophisticated enough to create real beauty in the right hands.
IMDb: You'll find no better way to settle a barroom bet over which of the Baldwins was in The Usual Suspects (Stephen, BTW) than to turn to this free app, which allows you to dig deep into the well-known online treasure trove of cinematic trivia.
Magic Piano: Play traditional keyboard classics such as "Für Elise" and "Flight of the Bumblebee" through this $1 app's fun, Guitar Hero-like interface.
Marvel: This free app presents the adventures of masked avengers in a whole new way--it moves you automatically from frame to frame of an illustrated story with merely the flick of a finger.
Epicurious: If you don't mind a few sauce splatters on your iPad, the free Epicurious app is a near-perfect kitchen companion, and you can search through hundreds of recipes. The app puts together a shopping list for selected recipes and provides easy-to-read instructions.
Instapaper: Perfect for people with a Wi-Fi-only iPad. If you come across an interesting article, click Instapaper's ‘Read Later' bookmarklet in your computer's browser. Instapaper ($5) strips out the ads and sends it to your iPad.
--Edward N. Albro