Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

The iPad App Store is open! Here are the best of the apps so far—the ones you'll actually want when you finally get your iPad.

This guide will be updated multiple times this weekend, since apps are still flowing in by the hundred. Also, check up on our app review marathon liveblog, running all day today.

You might notice a few things about these apps: A lot of them are iPhone carryovers, and a lot of them cost more than you might be used to in the App Store economy. Both are valid observations! But for a first batch, these apps do look rather spectacular.

Also, check out our Essential iPhone Apps Directory.

Entertainment and Video

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Netflix: Netflix streaming, over Wi-Fi. That's thousands of movies and shows, if you have an Netflix account. (Which costs, what, like 9 bucks a month nowadays? Brilliant.) Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

ABC Player: One of the first TV apps in the store, and a promising start. It's essentially a slick interface for the ABC video content you can already stream on their website, and it's free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Marvel Comics: The iPad is like something out of a sci-fi movie. Or a comic book. Also, it is a comic book. Excelsior! Free reader, paid comics.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

iBooks: Apple's ebook store, which we saw in the keynote. It's the best thing going for iPad ebooks for now; we'll have to wait and see how if anyone else (Amazon, B&N) can do better.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

NBA Game Time Courtside: Imagine having a full, interactive dashboard for every basketball game you watch. It's like that. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

MLB At Bat: Lets you watch games live, just like the iPhone version, but for games you can't watch for licensing/blackout reasons, it'll basically simulate them. Also: Stats overload. $15.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

ESPN ScoreCenter: If game-specific apps aren't your bag, ESPN ScoreCenter provides a sickeningly constant feed of sports information. Drilling down for specific game scores on your iPhone was one thing, but the columns, panes and frames here are almost too much. $5

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Yahoo Entertainment: A TV listings guide/entertainment news/video hub, which pulls from Yahoo's vast network of sites. Free, and worth the download if just to see the sheer level of design.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

SoundHound: IDs any music that's playing with a seriously fast recognition engine, but doesn't stop there: It does lyrics, music discovery, charts (based on what people are IDing, not buying) and full playlist playback. $5.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Shazam: Song recognition, but it won't recognize your own singing or humming like SoundHound, nor is its song recognition quite as good. But! It's free. So...

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Pandora: Pandora's free music discovery app isn't overly ambitious in its transition to the iPad, sticking to its basic customized radio feature, while presenting artist info along your playlists. Still though, the music is free and unlimited, and exceedingly well chosen. (Algorithmed?)

Games

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Flight Control: The objective: make sure your planes don't hit one another before they land, by tracing their paths with your finger. A natural fit for the iPhone, and an even more natural fit for the larger iPad. $5

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Plants vs. Zombies: A simple tower defense game, in which you plant a variety of monstrous foliage to stop a horde of zombies from invading your house. Conceptual weirdness aside, the extra space granted by the iPad opens this game up. $10

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Fieldrunners: The classic iPhone tower defense game, except bigger. $8

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Scrabble for iPad: This is one of the apps early reviewers really flipped out about. Basically, it's a very pretty, very animated version of Scrabble. And if you have an iPhone, you can use it as a letter tray. $10

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Mirror's Edge: An adaptation of that awesome jumping/sliding/shooting game that made a bunch of people motion sick when it came out on PS3 and Xbox. $13

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Civilization Revolution: We sent around an email a few weeks ago about which kind of apps we really wanted for the iPad, and RTSes and turn-based strategy games were in everyone's top 5. Civilization is a classic in the genre. $13

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Labyrinth 2: The iPhone's best marble rolling game was enjoyable precisely because of how complicated it had become—you weren't just dodging holes, you were dodging lasers, cannons, winds and security cameras. Plus, the subtle 3D graphics were always beautiful. $8

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Uno: Little kids don't care about Flash, or multitasking, or whatever nerdy technical hangup you've got about the iPad. All kids care about is Uno. Uno! $7

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Geometry Wars: Super-popular space shooter/puzzler makes more sense with touch controls than it ever did on a console, where it was fantastic anyway. $10

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Smule Magic Piano: Piano apps for the iPad were inevitable. Contorted, bizarre, gamelike piano apps? Even better. $3

News/Social

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

NYT Editor's Choice: This is what the New York Times looks like on the iPad. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

USA Today: USA Today, too, decided to go with a faux-newspaper look. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

WSJ: The Wall Street Journal's paper-chic app is conservative, so to speak. (Also, notice the three biggest newspapers in the country released free apps on day one? Or really, day -2? Though there may be hidden subscription fees.)

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

AP: Gotta respect this news wire for going with an unorthodox design, and for making their app—which includes video as well as text and image content—free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

NPR for iPad: This is NPR, reimagined as a digital magazine. You can browse text and photo news while listening to audio. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Popular Science: It's tough to tell how the layout really works here, but the App Store tease suggests it's more than a simple magazine scan—and we're told it's influenced by the stunning concept we saw back in December. And hey, it's PopSci! $5

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

BBC: There's something serene and reassuring about the BBC's news coverage, whether it be video, print, or radio—all of which are here.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Bloomberg: Well hey, you iPad is now a hardcore finance terminal. Extra points for the All Business aesthetic. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

StumbleUpon: Simple link sharing and discovery, via your StumbleUpon account. The service's wandering appeal makes more sense with two hands than a pair of thumbs. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Instapaper: Save just about anything you've come across online in a cleaned-up format for later perusal. $5

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

NewsRack: Every iPad needs an RSS reader. NewsRack is my personal favorite for the iPhone, and carries over well to the iPad. Special bonus: If you've already ponied up the $5 for the iPhone version, the iPad download is free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Feeddler: If you don't want to spend another $10 just for a feed reader, Feeddler covers the basics (read: news leeching) for free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Fluent News: If RSS readers aren't your style, and you want your daily news mashup to be a little more guided, fluent consolidates major new sources into a single interface. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Accuweather Cirrus: YOU ARE NOW THE MASTER OF WEATHER! (PREDICTION! [READING!]) Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck for iPhone takes the app's column-based desktop app, and adapts it to the iPhone's screen, in either two column (portrait) or three column (landscape) modes.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

AIM: AOL's instant messaging app looks pretty great, especially for the price. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

IM+: If you're looking for serious multi-protocol messaging—Live, Facebook, Yahoo, whatever—you'll have to shell out for IM+. $10

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Loopt Pulse: Localism! Figure out what's going on around your sofa, from your sofa. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Dash Four: $2. Foursquare on the iPad might sound like a strange idea now, but it won't seem so strange next time you're in Starbucks, checking in on your iPad.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Craigsphone: Craiglist, the website, looks like shit. Craigslist, the iPad app, looks kind of great! I gotcher' free bikes and old couches and casual encounters, right here. Free

Productivity/Utilities

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

iWork: Again, expect some competition in the word processor/presentation app/spreadsheet arena, but not for a while. Until then, Pages, Numbers and Keynote make for a fairly impressive productivity suite for $30, or $10 each.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

The Elements: A Visual Exploration: Sounds a bit pricey for a periodic table, but the vividly animated illustrations of every substance our world is made of more than make up for it. $14

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Dragon Dictation: You speak, it writes. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Wolfram Alpha: Remember when this was $50, available for the iPhone, and slightly less useful than Wolfram's website? Well, now the megasmart mathematical search engine/calculator is $2, available for the iPad, and looks wonderful.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

National Geographic World Atlas HD: The earth, annotated by the people who've been obsessed with documenting it since before your grandparents were born. $2.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Dictionary.com: You need a dictionary on your iPad. Here is a free dictionary for your iPad. (And even a thesaurus!)

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Epicurious: Expect a slew of iPad cookbooks to show up in the App Store, and expect a lot of them to be less useful than Epicurious' tremendous database of recipes. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Kayak: A travel planner, writ large. It always felt weird dropping hundreds of dollars on airline tickets on your phone, anyway. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Wikipanion: Again, an app that presents the data of its source in a better way than its source ever could—this one for Wikipedia. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

IMDB: The ender-of-all-movie-arguments app will now sit dormant on your iPad, on your coffee table, waiting to distract you from that movie, with that guy. (What's his name?) Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Brushes: Scribbling/drawing/painting apps are such an obvious use for the iPad's touchscreen. This one's full-featured, but garish and toylike. $10

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Sketchbook Pro: Sketchbook, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated, and a bit more powerful. This one's for the serious artists, while Brushes will probably appeal more to the kids. $8

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Ebay: You got your iPad early, congrats! Now turn around, mark it up, and sell it to some dude in London, stat. Free.

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Desktop Connect: Want to know what the iPad would be like running Windows? OS X? Linux? Download this VNC client, and control any computer in your house, wirelessly. $12

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Bento: A life organizer, portfolio, scrapbook, and general information receptacle. $5

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

Voice Memos: The iPad doesn't come with a voice recorder app, for some reason. Here's a free one that looks like it records sounds just fine. Free

Gizmodo's Essential iPad Apps

iDisplay: Want to use your iPad as a second monitor when it's docked, without messing with complicated manual VNC setups? That's what iDisplay does. It's pretty buggy now, but the developer (the same firm that does IM+) says fixes are coming. $5.

Special thanks to Rosa and David

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