Top 5 iPad Apps


The iPad (s aapl) App Store is growing steadily, with over 10,000 apps for the slate now available. There are a lot of good apps for the iPad, and since buying one on day one I have tried quite a few of them. My top 5 apps change regularly, but no matter which apps are on the list at any given time they add a lot of value to my usage of the iPad.

Lists like this are heavily dependent on how the list maker uses the iPad, and especially what kind of tasks are performed regularly. That’s certainly true with my list, so if you have your own app that is on your top five share it in the comments.

1. DocsToGo Premium. This office suite has become my go-to app for working with documents of all flavors. It offers superb compatibility with Office documents, and also works with my two cloud services — SugarSync and Google Docs. The application uses the iPad interface to great effect making it easy to work with documents of any stripe. $11.99.

2. ToDo. I use my iPad to keep up with my To-do list, and Todo is my iPad app of choice to do that. It syncs with my online Toodledo account, and gives me a lot of control over how I track my list. I detailed how I use ToDo each day in this article. $4.99.

3. Bulletin XL. I spend a lot of time keeping up with hundreds of RSS feeds as part of my work, and a good app to do that is precious. My RSS reader of choice currently is Bulletin, as it presents a simple user interface and tight Google Reader integration. I have recently been giving Reeder a try so no telling if Bulletin remains on the list in the future. $2.99.

4. iThoughtsHD. This mind mapping app is still one of the most heavily used apps on my iPad. It is a great mapping/ outlining tool and lets me organize my thoughts on any project with ease. I have covered iThoughts a bit as it has been on my top list for a while, and have a review available. $7.99.

5. Air Display. I have gotten more use out of this app than I ever thought I would. It turns the iPad into a wireless external monitor for my MacBook, giving me a mobile two monitor setup. It works so well it still impresses me every time I use it. You can see Air Display in action in my video. $9.99.

That’s my current list of the five top apps I use on the iPad. I do a lot of app experimentation and this list changes quite regularly. Some of these apps have been on my list for a while but there are a few new ones. What’s your favorite?

Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Hot Topic: Apple’s iPad



Hi James,

I would like to share the app that my family is really enjoying right now. I found one called BallFallDown by FlatPack Interactive. It is an Entertainment App that allows users to take an empty iPad screen -”board”- and construct thier own interactive game. You can make all sorts of things including pinball machines. It’s fun and exciting. You guys might want to try this. It is free in iTunes, anyway!

Merry Christmas.


Seavus DropMindâ„¢ is developing mind mapping application for iPad and it will be released by the end of the summer. More information, coming soon.

Stok Guru

Hi JK, since u read lot of feeds, which rss reader wud u recommend of the two? BulletinXL or Reeder? I usually have 1000 items to go thru daily and offline reading is very important. I use feed demon on the desktop synced to google reader.


I’m laughing about Air Display, James. Two weeks ago when I suggested it, you said you’d have no use for it. Now, it’s an asset. (I’ve been there many times myself…:-)) You just can’t have too many monitors — I have four on my desk.

My current top iPad apps are:
– Zinio
– Boggle
– Mobile Noter
– LogMeIn
– NewsRack

I’d applaud Zap to It, Scrabble, Wikipanion, Vanity Fair, ESPN Score Center, and The Cat in the Hat. too.

How about a list of apps that SHOULD be on iPad? I’m hopeful that the Washington Post, Sling, Facebook, eReader, Entertainment Tonight, and a few others will release iPad apps. Those iPhone apps just don’t cut it for me.


Does DocsToGo Premium support Track Changes in Word yet? If not, it’s hardly a “professional” suite is it?

Justin Withers

The docstogo rating confuses me. The reviews on iTunes are dreadful, please take a look and let me know (anyone) if they are flat wrong. I feel that the pages, numbers, keynote combo is lacking but won’t shell out for replacements given those reviews

And: Reeder is fantastic!


If you have Pages+Numbers+Keynotes, dont go for DocsToGo unless you need office compatibility. I just bought DocsToGo and I find it awfull and unusable. I feel ripped! The only thing that keeps me from using Numbers is its inability to export to xls and the general lack of auto sync with the apple apps


All this iPad apps are of course great, especially the Bulletin XL :)) But just for me it would be perfect if iPad developers created more iPad apps were free


Here’s my top list:

NoteTaker HD (the new version is great, using a home-made stylus)
Mindnode (I find it simpler to use than iThoughts)
GoodReader (love the cropping, as well)
Reeder (I deleted all other feed readers now. Portrait mode is perfect)
iCab (the browser that safari should be ;-)

And Circuitious so that I can instantly switch between the top three (and Mail) ;-)))


My favorite ipad apps are

PressDisplay/Pressreader read newspapers on iPad
Goodreader (and now it can crop margins away from PDFs)
Zinio – Read Magazines on the iPad
AirDisplay (but where is the windows driver)
SlingPlayer (Iphone version but works okay)

No-really-and-ipad app – but great with iPad anyway
XX: HP MediaSmart 495EX Homeserver – converts videos/sat recordings automatically to bring with me – and Scripts automatically grabs new files and puts them in iTunes on the Mac.


Ok, Now which is better Docs2Go or Office2 HD?
Both was mentioned on jkontherun

Tom Reestman

Bulletin was IMO the best of a rather bland set of iPad RSS readers until late last week. Reeder for iPad is now out and it’s wonderful. You might want to give it a try.

Tom Reestman

Scanned the list, commented, and now look like a moron. Reading is Fundamental. :) Curious what you think of Reeder.


Thanks James. I agree, iThoughtsHD and Air Display work well and are useful. I’m still hunting for a great office suite tho’. I just got QuickOffice Connect, which is ok but it won’t allow me to plot any of the data I have in the spreadsheet. I think it also doesn’t handle graphics in documents very well either. Does DocstoGo have these functions?

James Kendrick

I don’t see charting mentioned anywhere in Docs2Go. I have opened some Word docs with graphics and they seem to be OK.

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