1.31.2011

Best New and Notable iPad Apps for January 2011

Article first published as Best New and Notable iPad Apps for January 2011 on Blogcritics.

2010 introduced the iPad into our lives, and early adopters were treated to a ton of great free and paid apps. Coming off the heels of my Top 10 lists of 2010, here is the beginning of a monthly feature designed to keep you up to date with all that is new and improved in the App Store.

Highlights:
This month, I was particularly excited about the long awaiting debut of the TiVo App for iPad. A full review can be found here, but in a sentence, the app provides a fast and efficient way of managing your TiVo subscriptions, recorded programs and season passes, all on the iPad without interrupting any viewing on the big screen.

Those intrigued by Angry Birds mania but not ready to plunk down some cash for the addictive apps were treated to a free edition this month. The app (Angry Birds Free) provided just enough sample levels to hook you in, so I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be a savvy business move by the folks at Rovio. The full versions can be found here: Regular, Seasons.

Lingering in the Top 10 Paid Apps for most of the month was Penultimate, a $0.99 cent app designed to be your one stop source for notetaking. The handwriting looks very pretty in the screenshots, though I have trouble getting mine to look as good, especially when I use my finger as the writing instrument.

By Category:
Peering into some of the specific categories, we see a few more interesting additions and updates:

Music: The third installment of the Virtuoso Piano series brings another free app designed to transform your iPad into an 88 key instrument. Following up on the success of VP Free 2 HD, the app delivers on bringing music via a portable piano anytime anywhere.

NewsMacWorld released a free reader app that's been near the top of the Free apps for most of the past week. Featuring a decent layout and content similar to the monthly magazine, the app represents a promising start for all things Mac, though recent App Store reviews reveal a dislike for the amount of popup ads that seem to populate the reader.

Social Networking: Although Friendly Plus for Facebook made it on my Top 10 list of 2010, the app gained a competitor in 2011 as a native app from Facebook itself eludes the App Store.  Thiss allows more third-party developers to come up with the best solution to view the most popular social networking website. Facepad+ boasts swipe-based navigation, chat and push notifications, and themes.

Sports: Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, the official game program is now available as an app. What's even better is that videos are included, so learn all about the big game and the teams that will be fighting for the Lombardi trophy. Super Bowl XLV Game Program offers a magazine viewing experience straight out of a Harry Potter scene. Just be prepared to sit through a lengthy download and install time.

Utilities: Craigslist fans will rejoice as the first really useful and full featured app seems to have hit the App Store. CraigsPro+ allows you to post, bookmark, and browse through photos thus catering to the strengths of the iPad.  I'll be testing this one out over the next few weeks, but for $1.99, it seems like a solid bet. 

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