SLIDESHOW

Top 15 iPad Apps of 2012, So Far

The new iPad's high-resolution Retina display and faster processor have spurred developers to create a bunch of visually impressive apps. Here's a look at some of the best released this year.

New Apps for Your iPad

The new iPad, with its its high-resolution Retina display and faster processor, has prompted developers to come up with apps that are visually impressive apps and can handle graphics-intensive tasks. Another trend this year has been a departure from some traditional iOS conventions, in the form of apps inspired by the Metro UI on Windows Phone 7. Here are some of the best iPad apps released in the past six months.

Taposé

Taposé brings to iPad life the Courier tablet concept that Microsoft axed in favor of Windows 8. The app uses a pair of side-by-side windows to accommodate modules such as notebooks, a Web browser, maps, contacts, or a calculator. You can then make cutouts from Web pages; record audio; use the handwriting tool (with your finger or a third-party stylus); type text; and add images, videos, or maps.

Get this app ($2.99)

Pocket

Pocket, the updated and renamed version of Read It Later, lets you to bookmark online articles from any website and then read them later in a stripped-down format. The revised app adds support for videos and images alongside article clippings, and you can tag and arrange each article for safekeeping.

Get this app (free)

Tweetbot

Tweetbot is a Twitter client worthy of replacing the official app on a power user's iPad. It uses gestures such as swiping left to reveal conversations and swiping right to see replies to a tweet. Useful features include advanced notifications for most user actions, support for the live stream of tweets (as with TweetDeck for desktops), and the ability to mute individual users. Among the options on board are font size adjustments, a URL shortener, and image uploading choices.

Get this app ($2.99)

CloudOn

CloudOn brings Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from desktop PCs to your iPad. You get the traditional Microsoft Office interface, including the ribbon toolbar, for your documents stored in the cloud using Dropbox or Box.net. You can open and edit existing documents or create new ones from scratch--if you can put up with the small buttons, which were not designed for tablet use.

Get this app (free)

Track 8

Track 8 pulls your songs from the native iOS Music app into an interface inspired by Microsoft's Zune music player (later adapted into Windows Phone 7's Metro user interface). The result is a different way to listen to your music, in which you flick through grids of album art to listen to songs. The app also displays artist images in the background from Last.fm, but it doesn't yet have AirPlay and gapless playback support.

Get this app ($1.99)

Paper

Paper is probably the closest thing you'll get to a real notebook on your iPad. You flick through notebooks and pages, and the app comes with one free drawing tool, useful for notes and drawings. You have to pay in the app for other tools, which include pencils, markers, and colors; nevertheless, the simplicity of Paper is refreshing, with no buttons, settings, or distractions.

Get this app (free, with fee-based options)

Spotify

Spotify is an iTunes competitor that, for a monthly fee, lets you stream as many songsas you like from its library. The iPad app arrived a few years after the iPhone version, but this app is worth the wait. New iPad owners can enjoy Retina-resolution album art with their music, and AirPlay support lets you beam music directly to wireless-connected speakers.

Get this app (free, but service subscription required)

Bejeweled HD

The popular iPhone game is now available in a native version for the iPad, with Retina graphics. Bejeweled HD brings a lot of high-resolution gem bursts, four games modes--Classic, Butterflies, Diamond Mine and Zen--plus Game Center support.

Get this app ($3.99)

LinkedIn

An iPad app for LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site, was long overdue--and the release doesn't disappoint. LinkedIn for iPad becomes your social diary by integrating your calendar with contacts on the network, and by grouping status updates and stories shared on LinkedIn in a Flipboard-like grid for quick scanning.

Get this app (free)

Draw Something

Warning: Draw Something is a potentially addictive app. In this Pictionary-like game, friends challenge each other to guess the word they're drawing. The other player sees an animation of you drawing the image, not just the final version. You start by producing simple sketches; but as you earn coins for correct answers, you get more colors and drawing tools for your Draw Something masterpiece.

Get this app (free)

Flight+

Flight+ is a great companion for savvy travelers. It tracks flights from just about any commercial carrier in the world, by flight number, airline, airport, or city--or by synchronizing with a TripIt account. The app is heavy on real-time information, including weather conditions at both ends of your journey, departure and arrival times, and delays (if any). Flight+ stands out from similar apps with pretty graphics and a cool feature that displays photos, inside and out, from airports you're traveling to, plus terminal maps.

Get this app ($4.99)

Longform

If reading is your favorite thing to do on your iPad, Longform is a must-have app. It collates long-form features from most major magazines, from The New Yorker to Slate, in a simple, easy-to-read layout that you can customize with your own choice of fonts, font sizes, and margins. Keep in mind, though, that you basically pay for the app and its curation service to read articles that are freely available on the Web.

Get this app ($4.99)

iPhoto

iPhoto for iPad is a crossover photo editor and photo manager that completes Apple's lineup of iLife apps. It supplies plenty of effects, filters, and adjustments for editing your photos, including smart tools such as a loupe, automatic horizon detection to straighten photos, and skin-tone color balance. iPhoto also organizes your mobile photo library and integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. However, Apple needs to find a way to avoid the constant library update calls, which can be annoyingly slow if you have a sizable library.

Get this app ($4.99)

Iris

Instagram doesn't have an iPad version out yet, so Iris lets you view your Instagram network photos on your tablet instead. The app doesn't support photo uploading, but aside from that, you can do pretty much anything else you like in the Instagram for iPhone app, including liking, commenting, and checking popular photos.

Get this app ($1.99)

Adobe Photoshop Touch

If you're looking for more-advanced photo-editing capabilities on your iPad, Photoshop Touch for iPad is a great companion for the desktop version, at a fraction of the price. The app handles layers, curves, magic wand selections, clone stamp, and various touch-up options. You can even save files into Adobe's Creative Cloud--complete with layer preservation--so you can continue fine-tuning your photos on your desktop.

Get this app ($9.99)