12 Apps and Games Optimized for Your New Retina iPad

On Friday, Apple’s latest and greatest iPad launched in ten countries around the globe. If you were one of the lucky people to pre-order one online before they sold out, or if you happened to make your way through the lines at retail stores, then you’ve seen the “resolutionary” Retina display that the device touts.

But what good is such a display without apps that are prepared for it? In this article, I’m going to show you twelve apps that are completely optimized for your new iPad’s beautiful 2048 by 1536 pixel display, taking advantage of every last pixel. Read on for the roundup!

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Tapbots’ beautiful calculator has every feature a basic user would ever require from a calculator, including a scientific mode that supports anything from trigonometric functions to pi. It’s not meant for the extreme mathematics student or scientist, but I assure you it will do for most everything else.

But there’s one thing special about this app: it has a virtual tape that records everything you do, just like your more high-end desk calculator would do. In addition, you can use any of the results on the tape for something else later on, copy it, or send it as an email. This isn’t necessarily a feature-packed calculator, but it gets the job done well. Lastly, it’s a universal app.

Price: $1.99
Requires: iOS 4.1 or later
Developer: Tapbots

Infinity Blade II

I’m sure you’ve heard of this truly epic game that features the most amazing graphics ever seen on an iOS device. Infinity Blade II is the sequel to an award-winning iOS game that’s really just as good as, if not better than, its precursor.

And it’s not just the graphics we’re talking about here, but even the gameplay that’s amazing. Infinity Blade II is fully universal and will not be a purchase that you regret. But in the end if you want to show off that great new high-definition Retina display, then this is the game to demo for your friends.

Price: $6.99
Requires: iOS 4.0 or later
Developer: Epic Games

Reeder for iPad

If you’re one of those RSS fanatics like I am, then you always require a good client for it wherever you are. And while the iPhone may be great for portability, the iPad is far superior for reading, and this iPad is even better for it.

The developer of Reeder for iPad has just updated their app with full Retina display optimization, meaning that you’ll be able to have that truly amazing reading experience that you may have with a Kindle right on your iPad. Reeder has a very minimalistic user interface, syncs with Google Reader, and sends to Instapaper, Readability, and more, so what’s not to like?

Price: $4.99
Requires: iOS 3.2 or later
Developer: Silvio Rizzi

Day One

Ah yes, journaling — or, if you prefer, writing in one’s diary — at its finest. Our own Nathaniel Mott reviewed this one back in November of last year, calling it “gorgeous” and “an absolute steal” for the price, which I completely agree with.

Journaling cannot get any better than this on a tablet, I tell you. It supports Markdown, is a universal app, syncs automatically with iCloud, has a passcode lock for security, supports iOS 5’s Twitter integration, and much more. In addition, the developers are working to bring search (which is crucial to a digital journal), photos, and more soon.

Price: $1.99
Requires: iOS 4.2 or later
Developer: Bloom Built

iA Writer

Oh yeah, and speaking of Markdown, here’s one of the best iOS editors out there. Featuring Dropbox or iCloud sync, iA Writer aims to be the best Markdown editor you’ve ever had by working seamlessly across all of your Apple devices.

This beauty features AirPrint support, is also a universal app (I mean really, what isn’t these days?), has a great special keyboard that extends the abilities of your iPad’s default one, includes a bunch of great gestures for quickly editing things, and more. And for $.99, the price is most definitely right for any writer out there.

Price: $.99
Requires: iOS 5.0 or later
Developer: Information Architects

Labyrinth 2 HD

If you’re a puzzle-solving gamer, then this is your heaven. As one of the original iPad apps, you may know this one well. It used to be featured in quite a few areas and is really entertaining. The developer just updated Labyrinth 2 HD with enhanced graphics for all devices and Retina display support for the new iPad, making it the most high-definition version yet.

Other features of Labyrinth 2 are multiplayer support over WiFi or Bluetooth, the ability to create your own level and submit it to the community, lots of community levels to choose from, and more. The expandability is really great and I think it’s what makes the game.

Price: $7.99
Requires: iOS 4.2 or later
Developer: Illusion Labs AB

OmniFocus for iPad

Okay, so you have ADD, or you just can’t concentrate on something. That’s why The Omni Group brought the best task management ever to the iPad: OmniFocus. It’s the best app to keep you on track during your daily work with every tool you can imagine.

Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it if you really need it. OmniFocus for iPad features iCloud sync support so that you can keep everything in the app synced with your iPhone or Mac, image attachment support, voice note support, and much more.

Price: $39.99
Requires: iOS 4.0 or later
Developer: The Omni Group


I could have put Twitter’s official iPad client here instead of Tapbots’ solution to it, but that would just be wrong because Tweetbot is by far the best Twitter client on the iPad and iPhone. I did a huge in-depth review just last month giving it a nine out of ten stars for a beautiful user interface and true functionality – of which Twitter’s app truly lacks.

So, if you want a beautiful Twitter app that has an abundant amount of functionality – at least, more than any other Twitter client on the iPad – then I’d recommend this be your only purchase. Be sure to read my full review before buying though, just so you know what to expect.

Price: $2.99
Requires: iOS 5.0 or later
Developer: Tapbots


Even though Reeder may satisfy your RSS needs, you may want an alternative solution to that problem, so let me introduce (okay, you probably already know what it is, but just let me go on) Flipboard. I see it to be the pinnacle of reading in its time – the social reader.

The developers at Flipboard, Inc. had the right idea when starting their app. It’s not just another reading app like Reeder or Mr. Reader, but rather a digital magazine that allows you to connect anything from your Twitter feed to your Tumblr. You can share using them too with a simple tap. I use Flipboard all the time to discover many new things; you should try it out sometime – the Retina graphics are crystal clear.

Price: FREE
Requires: iOS 4.0 or later
Developer: Flipboard, Inc.

Real Racing 2

Real Racing 2 HD

This is the best racing game on the iPad – any iPad. But wait, it just got even better with Apple’s latest truly high-definition tablet. Real Racing 2 HD now looks better than ever – almost better than your tele, since there are actually more pixels in it than the average HDTV.

Among the many great features of this game are 30 fast cars that you can drive, 15 beautiful locations that you can go, multiplayer that lets you compete, the most beautiful graphics that you’ve ever seen on a tablet, and more. Also, it’s only $2.99 for a limited time, so go grab it while you can!

Price: $2.99 (for a limited time)
Requires: iOS 4.0 or later
Developer: Firemint

Sketchbook Pro for iPad

If you’re an artist, then it’s likely that I’ve bored you with the previous ten apps, but this one might just get your attention. You see, Autodesk brought this great app called Sketchbook Pro to the iPad back when the first one was released in 2010 and with it came art.┬áNo, I’m not just talking about digital art that you find in Photoshop, I’m talking about art that you would typically find bound to a canvas, but this time in the palm of your hand instead.

Yes, it’s no replacement for a tactile canvas, but it sure has a lot of great features that make it worth checking out. These include more than 60 brushes with 90 more add-on brushes, gestures, a color palette, and much more. This may very well be the most artistic iPad you’ve had yet. I’m not saying it will replace your canvas, but the display sure is crystal clear as it never has been before which brings opportunities.

Price: $4.99
Requires: iOS 4.0 or later
Developer: Autodesk

Star Walk for iPad

Now here’s another interesting one that has been with the iPad since its inception back in 2010. I myself love the stars and would gaze at them forever, given the time. The only problem is, how am I to know what I’m looking at? That’s where Star Walk comes in – it’s not in the education category by mistake, you know.

Star Walk is for the avid viewers of stars, constellations, and even satellites. In midday even, this app will show you exactly where certain objects are in the sky through its amazing augmented reality engine. Other than that, it features a picture of the day, a satellite tracker, a search for your favorite planet or star, and more.

Price: $4.99
Requires: iOS 3.2 or later
Developer: Vito Technology

That’s it for this roundup! I really hope you enjoyed a tour of ten fine apps that are fully optimized for Apple’s high-definition tablet. While you’re browsing about the App Store, do give a good look to this special section that will be updated with the latest apps that have been optimized for the iPad 3rd generation’s Retina display.

Oh, and you should also be checking for updates once a day or so since there will surely be quite a few arriving in the coming weeks. There are ever so many possibilities, so do be sure to enjoy this weekend with your new iPad!