Five Must Have Apps for Your iPad Air/Retina iPad Mini

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The iPad Air and Retina iPad mini are incredible devices. The 64-bit A7 processor in each is more than capable or running the absolute best mobile apps on the market today. But with over 1 million iOS apps to choose from it’s  hard to know where to start. Here is a list of five must have apps every iPad owner should download:

Flipboard (Free)

Flipboard is the best, most beautiful personal news aggregator for the iPad. Once you create an account you simply choose what type of news stories you want to read about. For example, I have chosen Sports, Travel, Technology, and Business with many more options available. You can even link your social networking accounts and view all your feeds and photos in Flipboard’s beautiful magazine like layout. There are also some new features like saving items to your own personalized ‘magazine’ for viewing later. You can easily spend hours within Flipboard and never be bored.

Netflix (Free)

While the iPad has come a long way in terms of content creation, its strongpoint is still content consumption, i.e. watching videos. If you have a Netflix subscription (and really, who doesn’t these days?) make sure to download the free iOS app. The app basically turns your iPad into a television anywhere you have an internet connection. This is great when you are on vacation, but I find myself

using it the most at night before bed. Netflix has added more and more content to its streaming collection and it’s the best (and most reasonably priced) way to watch movies and prior TV seasons on your iPad.

Pocket Casts ($3.99)

If you’re like me, you ditched the FM stations long ago and switched to podcasts. Why deal with overplayed songs and ads galore when you can listen to a podcast that interests you? That’s where Pocket Casts comes in. It has a beautiful iOS 7 interface that is extremely easy to navigate. You have the ability to customize your audio and video playback features. Maybe space is at a premium on your iPad and you want to stream podcasts by default. Or maybe you want to skip forward by default by 1 minute. All of this is available to you along with syncing and backup between your devices (This is a universal app that also works on your iPhone or iPod Touch). You can even reorder your podcasts by holding down and moving them around like you would do with iOS apps on the home page. There are some alternatives like Downcast ($2.99), Instacast 4 ($4.99) , and Apple’s own Podcasts (Free) that work pretty well, but Pocket Casts is my favorite.

Dropbox (Free)

These days our information is in a bunch of different places. I have photos on my iPhone that aren’t on my iPad. I have word documents on my macbook that aren’t on my iPad. I have excel documents on my work computer that aren’t on any of my other devices. You get the picture, it’s hard to keep track of where you keep everything. Enter Dropbox, which allows you to upload your files to the cloud and access them on any device you want. I have my camera roll automatically uploaded to dropbox so I can quickly and easily attach it while I am writing an email on my iPad. It works seamlessly and is very useful for the person who does a ton of work all kinds of devices. You start off with 2 GB of free space, but can earn up to 16 GB by simply linking your various accounts to dropbox. If you really want to have every file you own you can upgrade and pay for storage options >100GB. Make sure you are never caught without your resume or any other important document ever again!

Kindle (Free)

An iPad makes a great indoor e-reader. You basically have two options as far as apps go, iBooks or Kindle. I give the nod to the Kindle App because of its versatility. You can read e-books you have bought through Amazon in the past or if you belong to a library that has an e-book loan option, the Kindle App allows you to read books for free. Simply download the app and you can choose to download any book you own or are loaned from the cloud. The one caveat to this is that you cannot buy a book directly from the Kindle iOS app. This is due to Apple’s policy of taking 30% of in-app purchases, so to circumvent this you need to purchase from Amazon’s Kindle store via a web browser. Besides this little hiccup text looks great in the Kindle app and you can always pick up where you left off on a non Apple device.

These are five must have apps that I use in order to get the most out of my iPad experience. There are certainly many other wonderful apps I have not mentioned here. What are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

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