Some of the best apps for the iPad come pre-installed. This means you won't need to download your own maps software, calender, email inbox or contacts list. So before you hit the app store in search of the perfect app, you will want to familiarize yourself with what apps come with the iPad.
Apps on the Home Screen:
The following apps come pre-loaded on the iPad's home screen, which is the main screen that holds all of your application icons. I've listed these apps in the order they are arranged on the iPad by default. (Learn how to move apps.)
- Messages. The Messages app will allow you to send an instant message to anyone with an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch for free. Messages is a great way to cut down on your text messages bill if you aren't on a monthly plan.
- Calender. The calender app will allow you to set up events and share them through iCloud with any other compatible devices such as your iPhone.
- Notes. The equivalent of Notepad on Windows, the Notes app does exactly as you would expect: allow you to type in a quick note.
- Reminders. The Reminders app can serve two purposes. First, it is great for setting up a reminder. You can choose a day and time for the reminder and even have it repeat on a regular basis. Second, it can be a great task list.
- Maps. Easily one of the best apps that come pre-loaded, the Maps app is a great version of Google Maps. If you have an iPad with 3G, you can use the Maps program as a GPS for the car. And even if you don't have 3G, the Maps application can be used to get quick directions or look up stores or restaurants in a certain area of town.
- YouTube. The iPad does not support Flash video, but most YouTube videos can be delivered in a supported video format. You can use the YouTube video to search YouTube, or if you are in the Safari browser and click on a video, the YouTube application will launch.
- Videos. The videos application is where you play the Movies and TV Shows you buy on iTunes or transferred to the iPad from your personal library. Many DvDs now come with a digital copy, which can be transferred to the iPad via iTunes.
- Contacts. The iPad supports both instant messaging through the Messages app and video conferencing through the FaceTime app, so having your contacts on the iPad can be very handy. Best of all, these contacts can be synced with your iPhone via iCloud, so you never have to worry about manually typing in the contacts from your phone.
- Game Center. The Game Center holds leaderboards and achievements for games that support it. It's a great way to connect with friends, find out what they are playing and coordinate a game night.
- iTunes. The iPad version of the store has most of the same features as the PC version. You can buy movies to play with the Videos app and music to play using the Music app. You can also download any music you bought using iTunes on your PC without actually hooking up your iPad to your PC.
- App Store. The App Store is where all the fun begins. This application is used to buy games and apps for your iPad. And don't worry, even if you don't want to spend money on an app, there are plenty of great free apps available for the iPad.
- Newsstand. The iOS 5 update introduced the Newsstand, which is where you can subscribe to digital versions of popular magazines. Many magazines will give you an issue for free so you can try them out.
- FaceTime. FaceTime is the video conferencing software that links the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. First introduced on the iPhone, it is actually rather easy to use FaceTime on the iPad.
- Camera. The iPad 2 added both a front-facing and a back-facing camera, and both can be accessed through the Camera app. Simply tap the button in the upper-right corner to switch between cameras. You can also go from picture-mode to video-mode with the switch at the bottom right.
- Photo Booth. This neat application will let you take fun photos, including one with a twirl effect that will make the image look like it was taken through a circus mirror and stretch effect that can create the longest chin in the world.
- Settings. If you need to customize your iPad -- such as adjusting the brightness to save battery life or setting up automatic iCloud backups -- the settings is where you want to go. Find out more you can do in Settings.
Apps on the iPad Dock
The dock is the bar across the bottom of the iPad's display. The iPad comes with four apps on the dock, but it can actually hold up to six. Moving an app to the dock allows you to have quick access to it even when you are scrolling through pages of apps.
- Safari. This is the default web browser for the iPad. As such, it makes a great candidate for remaining on the dock. You'll find that the iPad makes a great way to browse the web.
- Mail. The mail application can be set up through settings. It supports Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, AOL mail and most other forms of email. The Mail app has a universal view that shows all of your incoming email as well as the inboxes broken out by the specific client. It is also a great candidate for remaining on the dock.
- Photos. Where do all those photos go that you take with the Camera and Photo Booth? They go to an internal folder that can be access with the Photos app. You can also set this app up to do a slideshow. If you aren't going to be using your iPad to take many photos, this app makes a great candidate for moving to the home screen. How to Move an App.
- Music. The music app will let you play music downloaded through the iTunes store or synced from your computer. You can also play music on your PC without syncing to iTunes by using Home Sharing. How to use Home Sharing to Share Music and Movies.
You'll notice that I didn't mention Siri, the voice-recognition digital assistant that comes with newer iPads. Siri is built into the operating system and can be activated by holding the home button down for several seconds. This works even if you are inside another app. Find out more about using Siri on the iPad