Best New and Notable iPad Apps for February 2011

ipad home screenArticle first published as Best New and Notable iPad Apps for February 2011 on Technorati.

February brings us the shortest month of the year, but there were plenty of new titles flooding the App Store. Compared to last month's offering, these 28 days provided plenty to choose from. Continuing the monthly feature, I detail some of the best along with many of the rest as we head into March which should also bring us news of a new device on which to load these apps.


Highlights:

ipad the daily app
The Daily (Free) - In my full review, I detailed what I liked and disliked. Since then, The Daily has seen several updates along with an extended free subscription. My wife and I have continued to enjoy the light on content magazine, though as I feared, both of us have failed to read the periodical on a regular basis which leads me to believe that we will not be paying for a subscription despite its reasonable cost. Overall, the app still provides a pleasant and innovative reading experience worth checking out if you haven't already.

Battleheart ($2.99) - Conquering the top of the paid charts is a game that takes me back to the days of fantasy role playing programs (anyone remember Ultima?).  With characters that resemble Legend of Zelda, and utilizing the touch interface effectively to control the characters and their actions, Battleheart successfully captures the fun and strategy of a simple role playing game, with the only major complaint being the lack of multiplayer features.

MLB.com At Bat 11 ($14.99) - Always a bit controversial, At Bat is back for another season, with spring training features such as live streaming of games and a free preview of MLB.TV. The controversy lies in the separate pricing for the app across platforms with the most vocal being those having to purchase the app on both the iPad and the iPhone. We'll also need to wait and see if MLB releases a free version of At Bat (without streaming of course). Those looking for baseball coverage of their favorite team, you might as well step up to the plate now to enjoy the full season.

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

Entertainment: I'm not a big viewer of Adult Swim (Free), but the popular cable channel released an app this month that provides clips and episodes of popular shows such as Family Guy and Robot Chicken. A schedule, music player, and other goodies are also included, though fans would settle for more episodes available directly through the app.

Finance: Taking cues from the look and feel of CNBC's real-time app, Yahoo released MarketDash (Free) this month, and users can quickly create a stock watchlist on either their desktop or iPad and the app syncs across all platforms. Nice visuals and real-time tracking of the markets make for a great free app for managing those portfolios.

Games: Aside from Battleheart, two free games made their big debut in February. WackaMonsta (Free) is a popular release from DanLabGames and a simple, colorful, and engaging puzzle game. Holes and Balls (Free), despite its unfortunate name, provides an easy and fun game experience where players drag balls into um, well...holes. It's like miniature golf on the iPad, and there's something rewarding about hearing clapping sounds whenever you complete a level.

Lifestyle: More magazines are making their way to the iPad, and the formula seems to be this: 1) create an iPad app. 2) Give away the first issue. 3) Charge in-app prices for future issues. This month we were treated to Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine (Free) and National Geographic Magazine (Free) (found in News) as the big names to enter the App Store.

Music: I don't find the instrument apps to be more than eye candy apps, but there are plenty out there (with more musical talent than me) who can take an app such as Classical Guitar (Free) and create beautiful masterpieces. With preset chords, this app may be the bridge between Guitar Hero and a real Guitar, though those who want real fretting on the iPad will be better suited with the app, Guitar Complete with Songs.

Social Networking: Another month without a native Facebook app from Zuckerberg and company means another third party developer cashing in on the opportunity.  This month, Friended - Facebook for iPad ($0.99) makes its way to the iPad with...wait for it...another great way of viewing Facebook on the iPad.  Check out the free ad-supported version first if you want to save a buck.

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