Fifty essential apps for new iOS device owners

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Convert ~ the unit calculator: This friendly, well-designed app lets you convert units of measure, temperatures, currency, and more. When I need to figure how how many Danish Kroner are in a U.S. Dollar, or how many ounces are in a liter, or what a warm 80-degree day is when I’m talking to Canadians, Convert is the app that does the job.—Jason Snell

Convert: $1; Optimized for iPhone and iPod touch

Due: Apple’s Reminders app works well with Siri, but it’s a bit limited on its own. Due is a wonderful addition to your reminder roster, providing quick ways to set up and change events, a set of multiple timers, and a logbook for all your past activities.—Serenity Caldwell

Due: $5; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Elements: If your on-the-go writing demands more than what the built-in Notes app has to offer, Elements is an elegant but capable text editor that syncs with Dropbox, so you can access the same documents on all your devices and computers. It offers a nice selection of fonts, light and dark modes, and a convenient scratchpad. You can also publish text to Tumblr and Facebook, and if you use Markdown, Elements includes HTML preview and export features.—Dan Frakes

Elements: $5; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Fast Calendar & Tasks

Fast Calendar & Tasks: If the built-in Calendar app doesn’t quite strike your fancy, Fast Calendar & Tasks (formerly known as Calvetica) is an excellent alternative. Sporting a Spartan design influenced by the Helvetica font, this app lets you view and organize all your calendars, edit details, and add alarms.—Serenity Caldwell

Fast Calendar & Tasks: $3; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

GoodReader for iPad: This all-purpose document reader for the iPad keeps getting better (as does the iPhone version of GoodReader). While it’s always excelled at providing users with great tools for downloading, viewing, and marking up PDFs and many other types of files. GoodReader also allows you view and work with text, iWork, and Microsoft Office documents, and download and watch or listen to audio and video files from a variety of popular cloud services.—Jeff Merron

GoodReader for iPad: $5; Optimized for iPad

Keynote: The deceptive simplicity of Apple’s presentation app belies remarkable power. Not only can you present right from your iOS device (with the right adapters), but it’s easy to create and edit your slideshows, complete with animations, multimedia, and transitions. Plus, iCloud keeps those files synced across all your iOS devices.—Dan Moren

Keynote: $10; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Notability: While there are lots of note-taking apps, Notability may be the most complete one I’ve used. It includes the ability to write and draw with your finger, record voice memos, annotate PDF files, and sync your notes with Dropbox.—Christopher Breen

Notability: $1; Optimized for iPad

Pages

Pages: Whether or not you use Pages on the Mac, the iOS version of Apple’s flagship word processor is full-featured in its mobile form. Just about anything you can do on a computer, you can do on your iPhone or iPad, including even relatively complex tasks such as creating footnotes, headers, and footers, and inserting and manipulating graphics and tables.—Jeff Merron

Pages: $10; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Pear Note: Perfect for students, Pear Note records audio while you type, then syncs your document to the recording. Click on a word later and you can hear what was being said at that precise moment, letting you flesh out and ensure the accuracy of your notes.—Joel Mathis

Pear Note: $5; Optimized for iPad

TextExpander: The iOS version of the venerable Mac utility, TextExpander Touch works with well over 100 third-party text-focused apps (including Elements, listed above) to make it easier to type frequently used snippets of text. You just type a simple abbreviation, and TextExpander automatically expands that abbreviation to its corresponding longer text blurb. (For example, addy could expand to your full postal address.) It even syncs with the Mac version, so you can use the same snippets under OS X and iOS.—Dan Frakes

TextExpander: $5; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Writing Kit: There are a lot of Dropbox-powered text editors for iOS, but features such as a Quick Research panel that lets you speedily look up word definitions and investigate topics, touchscreen controls for easily moving the insertion point, and a built-in Web browser give Writing Kit a serious edge. Integration with a handful of popular services and apps and support for the Markdown markup language don’t hurt either.—Dan Moren

Writing Kit: $5; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Social Networking

Beejive IM with Push: If you’re looking for an instant-messaging app without equal, BeejiveIM’s at the top of the list, with support for pretty much every major IM network, including AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, MSN, Facebook, Google Talk, and more. You can even transfer images, videos, and other files while you’re in a chat. iPad owners can get the same features in an app optimized for their device with Beejive IM for iPad.—Dan Moren

Beejive IM with Push: $5; Optimized for iPhone and iPod touch

Tweetbot: The App Store is rife with Twitter apps, but none make the microblogging service more fun to navigate than Tweetbot. Beyond its clever visual design and cute sound effects, the app offers easy-to-master gestures for quickly exploring tweets, replies, and conversations.—Lex Friedman

Tweetbot: $3; Optimized for iPhone and iPod touch

Travel

FlightTrack Pro

FlightTrack Pro: It may be brand-new, but your iOS device can help you out right off the bat. Have a flight to catch back home? Picking up someone at the airport? FlightTrack Pro offers clean, detailed information about flights, airports, and planes, giving you everything you need to know for that next airport excursion. You can even share flight details via email, text message, Twitter, or Facebook.—Serenity Caldwell

FlightTrack Pro: $10; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

LocalEats: Life is too short to spend one minute in a chain restaurant. LocalEats is a hungry traveler’s best friend, serving up recommendations on great local eateries, helping you find the ones closest to wherever you happend to be. Recent updates have added menu information and daily deals to further whet your appetite.—Philip Michaels

LocalEats: $1; Optimized for iPhone and iPod touch

Utilities

1Password Pro: This utility enables you to securely save usernames, passwords, credit card and other account information—anything you want to keep from prying eyes. All you need to remember is your 1Password Pro password to save and access sensitive information. It’s easy to securely sync with the 1Password Programs for the Mac and Windows, as well. In a word: Indispensable.—Jeff Merron

1Password Pro: $15; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Air Video

Air Video: Install Air Video on your iOS device, set up the simple Air Video Server on your Mac or Windows machine, and then stream any video you want over your Wi-Fi network. If the video isn’t iOS-compatible, Air Video will convert it for you, either on the fly or in the background.—Jeff Merron

Air Video: $3; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

FileBrowser: There are many schemes for accessing files on your computer from your iOS device but FileBrowser is one of the easiest. Just enter the IP address for a computer on your local network and you can use FileBrowser to copy files from that computer to your device. If you have an app capable of opening that file, you can do that too.—Christopher Breen

FileBrowser: $5; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

iTeleport: VNC: This is the app you want if you want to control your Mac (or PC) from your iPhone or iPad. I use iTeleport to check on my Mac at home when I’m on the road or in the other room. If you need remote access to your Mac’s screen from somewhere else, iTeleport will do the job.—Jason Snell

iTeleport: VNC: $25; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

PCalc: A considerable upgrade over the iPhone’s Calculator app—or the only iPad calculator you’ll ever need—PCalc’s polished interface offers a full scientific calculator, a virtual tape, and even RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) input. It’s also a great unit-conversion utility, and lots of interface customizations round out the package.—Dan Frakes

PCalc: $10; Optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

WeatherBug Elite

Weather

WeatherBug Elite: Apple’s Weather app for iPhone is pretty bare bones, so for more information turn to WeatherBug Elite. With support for severe weather warning and alerts, detailed forecasts, local weather cams, and—best of all—multi-layer maps, this app should satisfy even the most dedicated meteorological enthusiasts.—Dan Moren

WeatherBug Elite: $1; Optimized for iPhone and iPod touch

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