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Best New and Notable iPad Apps for April 2011

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We’re almost a week into May, but let us not forget the abundance of apps and app updates that showered us in April. The Best New and Notable feature gets you caught up with the what was most talked about last month in the iTunes App Store.

Flipboard (Free) update – The innovative do-it-yourself social media magazine received a big update this month. New to the application is the ability to add pages from Oprah, Rolling Stone, and Wired, integration with the popular Instagram photo sharing app, and faster loading of content. If you haven’t given this app a try, check out my overview or download it today.

Terra Web Browser (Free) – There are several browser alternatives to the native Safari app. Some of the benefits include better management of tabs, the ability to view flash content (Skyfire), and with the updated version of Terra, the ability to open any document (.docx, rtf, pdf and more) just by tapping on it. Terra also provides full screen browsing, offline viewing, and swipe gestures. It remains one of the best browsers in the App Store, and this month’s update shot it to the top of the Free charts for a few days.

Groupon HD (Free) – It was only a matter of time before the uber popular coupon pushing mogul made its way to the big screen tablet. As a user of the Android app for a few months now, I have found it extremely convenient to access my purchased Groupons as well as the ability to purchase new ones from a mobile device. The app is a no-brainer for any existing member. New Groupon members can sign up here to get started.

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

Books – Our Choice $4.99 – Did reading or seeing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth leave you wanting more? Well, the former Vice President returns with an interactive application that explores global warming using the full capabilities of the iPad. Images, video, and data all come to life with this stunning example of a digital book experience.

Business – Bloomberg Businessweek+ (Free) – Following the lead set by other periodicals such as The Economist, Bloomberg decided to release a fine looking app that lets you download the week’s magazine which includes all of the content from the print version and then some. Not surprisingly, the downloads are free for print subscribers, but the interesting news may be the very reasonable $2.99/month subscription available. If more periodicals adopt similar pricing models, we may have a significant uptick in terms of digital subscription sales.

Entertainment

HBO GO (Free) – In a move sure to please a large contingent of cable TV subscribers, HBO released an app that allows for streaming of the network’s shows. Of course, the app will cost money to non-HBO subscribers, but it is free with subscription to the cable network and verified through account login. A simple yet visual interface provides the gateway to over 1,400 shows. Early reviews indicate some difficulty with certain cable providers, but these issues will probably be rectified over time. 

Crackle (Free) – Hmm…free movies and free TV shows streaming on the iPad? Yes, please. Although the selection is very limited, the performance of the application is strong and the app shows promise as a competitor to Hulu. The question is how many shows will Crackle really have access to, or will Hulu and other video streaming apps eventually change to a fully ad-supported model?  Not much to lose when downloading this free app other than a few hours catching up on Seinfeld episodes or reciting the “You can’t handle the truth!” speech from A Few Good Men. 

Fitness: iMuscle (NOVA) $4.99- I’ll be the first to admit that I have fallen off the wagon in terms of exercising and getting to the gym. However, spring is in the air and that means more opportunities to get outside for runs and other activities. If I could afford a personal trainer, I would utilize one, but a $4.99 app might get me started. iMuscle provides opportunities to focus on specific muscles and then use the suggested exercises and stretches in order to build a custom workout. A beautiful app to explore the human body and a great accompaniment to wellness classes.

Games:

Electronic Arts Sale – Depending on when you check the App Store, you are likely to find sales going on each and every day. Electronic Arts had a big one this month, and if you were lucky, you caught deals on apps such as FIFA ’11 or Risk for only $0.99. Don’t be left out of the next one – sign up for their newsletter here.

Gears ($2.99) – This ball roller game hit the top of the paid charts this month with its launch sale, though the app has returned to its $2.99 price point. A visually stimulating game that is challenging and takes advantage of the iPad’s touch screen and graphics engine.  

Medical: Anatomy 3D: Organs ($6.99) – Those in medical school and those who simply want to learn more about the human body will find Organs to be more engaging than a traditional textbook. With 3D models that can be manipulated and stored audio and video files that can be viewed on demand, the developers have created a fine tuned product that can appeal to the student in all of us.

Music: Song Exporter Pro ($1.99) – Free for a limited time, this nifty little music app lets you share songs found on your iOS device with other computers complete with the metadata (song/artist names, cover art). Use this to backup your music library, or wirelessly stream music to other applications, all with less than two clicks and through a simple web interface on your computer.

Productivity:  DisplayLink (Free) – There have been several apps that allow for a second display using the Mac platform, but DisplayLink is one that does a great job of extending the same functionality to Windows machines. Having used DisplayLink at work with my desktop, I can attest to the simple and effective software that extends my monitor onto a second display, thus prompting visitors to remark on how cool it appears. More importantly, I find my productivity increases exponentially with a second screen, so those without an extra monitor but with an iPad will be interested in using this app.

Reference: QWiki (Free) – Focusing on visual elements (photos and videos) as opposed to just text, QWiki displays information commonly found in reference sites such as Wikipedia in a user friendly interface that encourages users to become a part of the learning experience. I had a chance to explore the web version of QWiki a while back, and was impressed with its structure. The iPad app is a logical next step for the company, and a touch interface makes it that much more enjoyable to explore.

For more apps from previous months, check out the Best New and Notable archives here.

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