Starter apps for your new iOS device
Did you get a new iPhone or iPad for the holidays? Here are some of our favorite apps for getting started with your new device. Games, video, productivity, and reading: We've got it all.
Amazon Instant Video
You probably subscribe to Netflix already, but here’s why you want this app—and to pay the $99 yearly subscription fee for Amazon Prime. (That works out to $8.25 a month, comparable to other digital streaming services.) First, you’ll get many of the same streaming movies and TV shows you do on Netflix. But you’ll also have the option of purchasing and renting newer movies and TV show episodes a la carte. Taking a plane trip? You can download the purchases for offline viewing, which is something Netflix doesn't offer.
There are a million great note-taking apps out there for the iPhone and iPad, but this free app combines comprehensiveness with ease of use: Save text, pictures, even audio to notebooks. Great for students, reporters, or anybody else who depends on ideas and middle-of-the-night thoughts for their livelihood. Looking for something else? We’re also big fans of Simplenote.
There are probably a million-and-one great writing apps out there for iOS, but if you’re just starting out on a tablet, Google Docs is probably a good place to start. You can create documents, share them, edit them, and even save for offline use. Why start here? Google Docs is also available as a web app for desktop computers, meaning it's easy to shift your writing efforts between devices. If you’re a bit more advanced and want to write using the Markdown language, iA Writer is a popular choice.
The iPad can be a great reading device, and the Kindle app is probably the best reading app—letting you take notes, make highlights, share passages on social network, even stop reading and have the audiobook pick up at the exact spot you left off. Why use this instead of iBooks? Because you’ll have the option of shifting to and from a dedicated e-reader: Amazon’s own e-ink Kindle. Oyster's "Netflix for books" is also a cool option here.
The iPad is a great platform for gaming, whether they’re 3D shooters or fancy re-vampings of old board games. Scrabble, of course, is from the latter category: Build your word-game skills by challenging the computer, or have your friends join you—either in person, or remotely. There’s a free version and a $10 version: The former interrupts your game with ads so often than dropping the cash is worth it.
Lots of apps want to help you move through your email quickly. There may be better apps for simply organizing your inbox, but Triage is a favorite because it’s so simple: Swipe through your emails, immediately deciding whether they’re worth saving for later reading. It’s a real time-saver.