The iPad (s aapl) is many things to many people, but one use most can appreciate is using it for some fun time. I’m not only referring to games — and it’s certainly good for playing those — I’m talking about fun diversions in general. We’re such a busy, task-oriented society that sometimes you need to let your hair down and have a little fun. Here are five good apps to help you do that.
PixelSwarm. This app is in the cool but unusual category. It features a swarm of cosmic pixels that represent clouds of “space dust” that you can play with. Swoop the pixels around the screen, then tap to make them run away. You can even play catch by tossing pixels back and forth between two fingers. It is a mindless activity, but neat to watch and fun to do. Sometimes that’s just the ticket. £0.59 ($0.92 USD).
Marvel Comics. If you were born in the last 50 years, you grew up in the colorful, exciting world of Marvel Comics (s MVL). They’ve come to the iPad screen, and while missing that awesome pulp paper smell, they look pretty good on the electronic screen. You can zoom in on cartoon panels by mere tapping, and the comics look so good you’ll keep expecting to hear the characters talk to you. The app is free, but comic books are not. You didn’t expect them to be free, did you?
Real Tennis HD. Sometimes a good tennis match is just what the body needs to keep in shape. For those other times this tennis game by Longines is good enough. The game controls, a combination of tilting the iPad and tapping the onscreen doo-dads, are pretty easy to master. The graphics are very nice, and the iPad has a complete stable of worthy opponents trapped inside. Free them and then beat them at either singles or doubles tennis. It’s the least you can do. $4.99.
iZen Garden for iPad. The best thing you can do on the iPad is to relax and create a harmonious, beautiful Zen garden. This app opens the door to total relaxation, from the delicate music in the background to the faithful reproduction of working with the hands. You build your garden with the supplied objects and by raking the sand to reflect your mood and channel energy. This is the single best way you can pass time on the iPad when real life gets hectic and crazy. There’s a free version, but pay the $5.99. It is the best six bucks you will spend for your peace of mind.
Synth. If you’re a budding musician, this app will open the door for creating fantastic tunes all by your lonesome. If you’re a real musician, then things get really good, really fast. This synthesizer for the iPad doesn’t overdo it with lots of controls like some apps, yet gives enough control over the music to make it a really good experience. I can guarantee you’ll have a good time. Even if you don’t play an instrument you can play an instrument with Synth, and for less than a buck. $0.99.
Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Hot Topic: Apple’s iPad