40 Essential Apps to Download on Christmas Morning

So, Christmas is nearly here, the trees are going up, and the presents have been bought – they have haven’t they?

I would imagine that more than a few people will be waking up to the delightful surprise of an iPad waiting under the tree! Unwrapping it is a joy in itself, the wrapping paper and ribbons being only the start – I’d bet on Apple having a whole team employed to design their packaging, making sure each and every device looks at its tantalising best on first opening…

But, what next? The standard apps are all good and well, but it disappoints me when people don’t delve a bit deeper. Here is a guide to the essential apps to download on Christmas morning, the good, the great, and the downright amazing!

This is one to bookmark for your loved ones, a place to send them once the grand unwrapping is complete!

Reading

These are the apps that will help to cement the iPad into anyone’s daily life! Never get newspaper ink on your fingers again…

Flipboard

Flipboard

Flipboard is one of the most popular news readers for the iPad due to its fantastic, intuitive interface and its sheer ease of use. It pools various news websites (which you can customise) and displays them in an easy-to-read format. I love the recent update, it’s taken the use and scope of Flipboard to a new level!

It’s perfect for those who are still enraptured by the swiping gesture!

Price: Free

Zite

Zite

Zite is a great way to consume all kinds of news and articles, that gradually learns your preferences and what you like to read. It’s definitely worth trying out both Zite and Flipboard before settling on your favourite way to browse and enjoy the news.

Price: Free

Reeder

Reeder

We’ll continue with the reading theme by looking at an app that I use every single day, several times. Reeder is a fantastic app for reading any and all articles fed through your Google Reader account. I love the minimal interface and gorgeous textures, it exemplifies the kind of app design the iPad was made for – why not add iPad.AppStorm to your RSS feed today!

Price: $4.99

Instapaper

Instapaper

Instapaper is a fantastic app for looking after all those articles you want to save for later, or file away for future use. The minimal interface is perfect for avoiding distraction, while the intriguing social features add another dimension to the app.

Price: $4.99

Photography

We’ve looked at some awesome apps for reading, now let’s get visual!

Snapseed

Snapseed

If you love photography, then you’ll love Snapseed. It’s as simple as that! Snapseed can help you make any photograph extraordinary and puts a fun high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips.

It’s versatile and intuitive, but above all it’s enjoyable!

Price: Free

Guardian Eyewitness

Guardian Eyewitness

The Guardian Eyewitness app is one that’s worth opening every single day. It’s effortless charm is down to its simplicity, it does one thing very well indeed.
It describes itself as:

A showcase for the world’s most distinctive and provocative photographs, providing a daily, visual reflection of global events.

Price: Free

Art

Anyone new to the iPad is bound to want to get involved in some finger art of their very own! Here are a couple of artistic apps to get you on the right track…

Procreate

Procreate

Procreate touts itself as possibly the most exciting digital painting app on a mobile device, I think it lives up to that claim. It features a great deal of functionality that’s packaged in an effortlessly intuitive interface, it can’t fail to appeal to the artistic!

Price: $4.99

Zen Brush

Zen Brush

Zen Brush is a gorgeous way to get involved and make your own art! Rather than being a fully fledged painting app like Procreate or Brushes, the beauty of Zen Brush lies in the simplicity of the concept.

Create delicious images using an ink brush to write or paint, the textures and tactile feel of the app are just brilliant. The restricted concept makes Zen Brush compelling easy to pickup.

Price: $2.99

Van Gogh HD

Van Gogh HD

There are actually a vast array of these high quality art apps available – but I thought I’d showcase my favourite nonetheless. To be able to take in all of Van Gogh’s works in one place is truly awe inspiring!

These apps are perfect for anyone studying art, the educational content is there, but also ideal for any lover of great works of art.

Price: $0.99

Music

There’s a plethora of fantastic music apps available for the iPad, but here are a few of the best to get you started!

djay

djay

djay is simply an amazing achievement. The power that lurks beneath the surface of its slick interface is immense, and a great example of the potential of the iPad.

Whether you’re an aspiring amateur or a professional music maestro, djay has something to offer everybody. It’s vastly entertaining but with great potential for much more advanced and serious use.

It’s perfect for showing off what the iPad can do – check out our review if you need convincing!

Price: $19.99

Garageband

Garageband

I reviewed Garageband personally back in May and stand by every word; it’s a must-have app for any respectable iPad owner! Apple have succeeded in creating a gorgeous and effortlessly enjoyable music app that appeals to people of all ages and abilities.

It’s one of those apps that you could play with for hours – perfect for Christmas day!

Price: $4.99

Planetary

Planetary

Keeping with the musical theme, Planetary is a fascinating way to explore your music collection that’s only available on the iPad. It allows you to fly through a 3D universe dynamically created by information about the recording artists you love – you can lose hours here!

Price: Free

Aweditorium

Aweditorium

Do you ever feel a little disappointed that an app exists, purely because you wish you’d thought of it first?

That’s exactly how I felt using Aweditorium the very first time. It’s a beautifully immersive way to listen to and discover new music! Simply dive in and start exploring the vast expanse of organised sound that awaits you, Aweditorium even provides images, and text, to help occupy your eyes and keep them out of trouble.

Price: Free

Writing

Writing on the iPad, despite what you might think, can actually be rather delightful. Here are two apps to try!

iA Writer

iA Writer

There is a wealth of simple writing apps in the App Store, but iA Writer is one of my personal favourites. It takes all formatting decisions out of your hands and allows you to truly focus on what you’re typing.

Its focus mode shows you only the last couple of lines, taking editing distractions away from you, while the extra keyboard functions allow you to type quicker than you ever thought possible on your iPad.

Price: $1.99

Simplenote

Simplenote

For those who love minimalism, there’s no better note-taking app than Simplenote. It syncs seamlessly with your computer and all your devices. It’s extremely easy to use. For those who want more power, you can also use tags, pins, versions, and sharing.

Price: Free

Entertainment

Let’s have some fun and dive into some of the incredible things your iPad can do in the world of entertainment!

Netflix

Netflix

While you do need a subscription to the service, Netflix is simply an exemplary app for the iPad. It gives you the ability to stream TV shows and movies straight to your iPad, what more could you want?

Price: Free

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer

For those of us not based in the US, there are still some great apps out there for getting on demand video content; BBC iPlayer is a great example. I love the purple and black interface and the wealth of immediately available programming, you can lose hours in this app.

Price: Free

Remote

Remote

It’s a pretty simple suggestion, but Remote should be one of the first apps you download. It’s free and the perfect way to take control of iTunes from your iPad, and fantastically useful if you own an Apple TV.

Price: Free

Games

Everyone loves games, right? The iPad is fast becoming a powerful gaming platform in its own right, with a whole host of great developers releasing new titles every month! Rather than go into lots of detail about a few games, here’s a quick list of some great titles to have a look at – you know what you’ll like better than I do!

  • Battleheart: Enter a world of epic fantasy combat!
  • Dead Space: An award winning console game, that you can now enjoy on your iPad.
  • Plunderland: Play as Captain Peg Leg’s ghostly spirit and help your wannabe pirates steal back his treasure from wicked sea tyrants.
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP: Is it a game? Is it art? Whatever it is it’s beautiful. Set some time aside and delve into this fantastical musical world, hopefully you’ll find yourself mesmerised.
  • Infinity Blade II: Are you ready to get stunning console quality graphics in an amazing hack-n-slash game? Good.
  • Gears: Who would have thought that rolling a ball around would be so much fun?
  • Grand Theft Auto 3: Pretty self explanatory…
  • Contre Jour: Apple’s Game of the Year 2011, a beautiful and engaging game that blurs the lines between games and interactive art.
  • Angry Birds: Yep…
  • Fruit Ninja: My personal favourite of the casual games, slice massive bits of fruit!
  • Real Racing 2 HD: Racing, iPad-style.
  • Shadowgun: The best of the current crop of shooters on the iPad.
  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition: Re-live the hilarious swashbuckling misadventures of the wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood as he attempts to become the most infamous pirate in the Caribbean!
  • Scrabble: It’s Scrabble, but like you’ve never seen it before! If you have iPhones in the house, you can use them as your tile racks and play the most extravagant game of Scrabble ever…
  • World of Goo HD: An ever-enjoyable classic, that works just beautifully on the iPad.
  • Cut the Rope: Experiments HD: The perfect quick fix! A delight of finger swipes and little taps…

Productivity

Nope. Have some fun and play with your new toy before putting it to work! If you really need to get your hands on a task app, check out The Ultimate Roundup of iPad Task Apps.

Boxing Day

So you think you’ve got to grips with what your iPad can do? You’ve got it sussed? Think again. Here are a few apps to keep the magic going on Boxing day!

Star Walk

Star Walk

Star Walk enables you to point your iPad at the sky and see what stars, constellations, and satellites you are looking at in real-time.

Wait for the sun to set, and be amazed!

Price: $4.99

Square

Square

Send off for your free card reader and begin taking credit card payments on your iPad! Start a business in your lounge…

Price: Free

Appetites

Appetites

Appetites is one of our favourite recipe apps here at AppStorm, the concept and execution working perfectly to create a beautiful interactive experience.

You can get recipes from a variety of food bloggers and chefs and watch step-by-step video instruction, it’s almost foolproof.

Price: $4.99

LogMeIn Ignition

LogMeIn Ignition

It’s expensive, but a vastly worthwhile app that deserves its place in the Hall of Fame. Being able to access and remotely control your laptop from anywhere in the world can be completely invaluable.

The interface is easy to use and effective, the power behind it is impressive – it’s another one to show your friends!

Price: $29.99

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. It’s also the best example yet of a book fused with interactive animation that makes a whole new experience on the iPad.

Price: $4.99

SoundHound

SoundHound

Proven to be the worlds fastest and most-accurate music recognition app, SoundHound is the perfect way to find out the name of the Christmas song that’s stuck in your head!

The depth of features in SoundHound make it a great way to find new music, plus it has the world’s only viable singing and humming recognition!

Price: Free

Merry Christmas!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our essential guide to Christmas morning! This is just scratching the surface of what your new iPad can do – be sure to come back for more great app goodness!

You can subscribe to iPad.AppStorm to avoid missing out on the all the great stuff, including weekly giveaways, that we have coming up. Once the dust has settled it’s definitely worth heading over to our extensive roundup of The Top 100 iPad Apps!


  • Neil G Smith

    I can not wait til Xmas morning :)

    Merry Christmas I only wish the burglars would return my armani watch and my I po touch

    Regards mr a little bit happier x

  • http://Www.snaptin.com Ian Yates

    Great help Joel! Almost as if you were speaking to me personally :)

  • http://alexlb.com Alex Leeson-Brown

    I’ve just been on the App Store and it appears Snapseed is £2.99 / $4.99. I presume it was free at the start then the started charging for it?

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