iPad has enormous amount of apps that are specifically designed for it (Apple stated there are about 100,000+ apps for iPad in App Store). It has been known that a lot of iPad apps have great beautiful interface and buttery smooth animation. These beautiful UI will leverage the user experience. I know there are so many great apps in the App Store but in this article, I only want to talk about several great looking apps that I personally use in my iPad. By the way, these apps appear in no particular order and if you are interested in these apps, you can download them via the links embedded in each app title.
Flipboard is definitely my favorite news aggregator. Its interface is beautiful and very user-friendly. You can subscribe to various sources that are available and enjoy the content in beautiful format. Not all sources content can be formatted by Flipboard, though. So, the one that can’t be formatted will appear in its original format (with the side borders and ads, etc). Some sources have collaborated with Flipboard so their content will have unique typography and formatting. Flipboard has also been released for iPhone and today’s version has option to create account. With Flipboard account, you can always synchronize all your subscriptions when you use other iOS devices. All you have to do is type in your username and password, then all your subscriptions will appear. In my opinion, Flipboard is definitely a must-have app for iOS devices, especially if you like to keep up with the latest news. Flipboard used to be lacking in the ability to learn our preference, our interest and fine tune the content they presented based on that information. Other RSS aggregator like Zite has been able to record our preferences and interests to fine tune their content. However, the new version of Flipboard (until now it’s still for iPhone version exclusive feature only) has the new feature called Cover Stories. It’s basically some highlights that are suggested by Flipboard based on our preference and interest.
The Weather Channel is a beautiful weather app. It’s not only beautiful but its information is also very detailed. It can show hourly and daily weather forecast, weather map, weather news, twitter updates about weather, etc. Things that sometimes bothers me are the time to load the app and its stability (at least in my iPad with iOS 4.3.3). Due to its beautiful graphics, it can be a little slow to load the app and the app is not very stable too. Sometimes it freeze and forced close suddenly. Overall, it’s still a very decent weather app and it’s free.
iBooks is the app that your iDevices will prompt you to download the first time you open the App Store. The interface is very simple. It mimics the wooden book shelves and your e-book lay there, displaying its cover (if available). iBooks can handle e-pub books and PDF. The book interface itself is very nice. When you turn the page, it mimics the real page being turned. The animation is smooth and the detail is amazing. You can also make note, see definition via in-built dictionary, highlight, share parts of the book via social network, etc. You can also shop for book via iBooks store. In my opinion, the selection is less than Amazon Kindle. Since iBooks 2.0 (released at 19 January 2012), Apple has added textbook session in iBooks store. The digital textbook is not a digital version of traditional textbook but it also embedded with interactive multimedia content, such as video clip, picture gallery, 2D/3D animation. The textbook has the capability to add notes and able to show the notes later when students need to review the material. Apple plan to disrupt textbook publishing via iBooks 2.0 and its Mac-app companion iBooks Author. The iBooks Author enables people to write textbook easier and can be uploaded to iBooks Store. Unfortunately, iBooks Author is Mac-only. iBooks can handle PDF files quite well too. The rendering is fast enough but I prefer e-pub version to PDF documents. You still need to pinch in and out to be able to read the text properly, especially if the documents contain small texts.
Epicurious is a cookbook app. You can search various recipes here. The culinary pictures here can make you (me) hungry. It’s good for as a replacement for traditional cook book. You can also make a shopping list for the recipes you’re interested to make. So, you won’t miss anything when you are shopping. You also can share the recipes via social network sites or bookmarking sites like Instapaper.
Snapseed is one of the best photo editing apps in iPad. Its interface is simple and beautiful yet contains very powerful function. You can crop, rotate, adjust brightness and contrast, and filters. This app has been praised a lot by various tech blogs as one of the best apps.
Evernote is an app for saving and sync your notes across multiple devices from multiple platforms. It is available in iOS, Android, OS X and Windows. With this app, you easily make sure your notes are always available as long as you have internet connection.The iPad app has beautiful interfaces, too.
Livestand from Yahoo is a news aggregator like Flipboard. Its interface however is different than Flipboard. The content of Livestand is also mostly from Yahoo news sites but they also cooperate with some news sources to provide content for Livestand, like AccuWeather, Pro Publica, etc. It also sync to your Yahoo account.
Twitter for iOS is a universal app, for iPhone/iPod touch and for iPad but they have different interfaces. Twitter for iPhone has more standard interface but its interface in iPad is significantly different and arguably better. It really makes use of iPad larger screen. The main interface contains several columns. The most left column is your navigation section, the right is the content and sometimes it can reveal a third column. The third column will show additional content. The app also support multi-touch gesture. If you want to see the conversation, you can swipe down on particular tweet with two fingers. This app is also a must download since Twitter is integrated natively in iOS 5.
Discover is an app to read Wikipedia in a beautiful way. It shows today’s highlights in the main page. You can also search for other articles from Wikipedia and it will present the article in beautiful format. However it will lose all the embedded links. So, if you want to experience Wikipedia in a different way, you should download Discover. It’s free in the App Store.
Vodio is dubbed as the Flipboard for video content. It will present contents from various sources and it will shown per category. You can swipe the carousel of category, then select any videos you’re interested in. You can also link your social network account, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and the video contents from those sites will also appear.
11. Wall of Sound
Wall of Sound is a unique music discovery app. It also displays the music in your library. If you like the music they suggested, you can purchase the song via iTunes. The interface is very simple and beautiful. It fills your screen with album art. You can click any of those tiles to reveal other songs from that album.
12. Bing for iPad
You can use Bing for iPad to search and browse news, movies, Bing homepage images, local business popular searches, Bing maps, etc. Its interface is influenced by Microsoft Metro design language with its live-tiles. You can also do voice search using this app.
13. CNN for iPad
CNN for iPad fills your screen with tiles. These tiles show picture or video snapshot of the represented content. You can watch your favorite CNN shows LIVE on this app. I like the tiles interface as it put the contents as the main show.
14. NASA App HD
NASA App HD is a learning tool for people that are interested in astronomy. You can see images from NASA IOTD, APOD and NASAImages.org. You can also find out facts for each planet in our Solar System. It can be a great educational app for astronomy class.
15. Editions by AOL
With Editions from AOL, you get personalized news daily. It will be delivered to your iPad at a pre-scheduled time every day and the news is tailored based on your preferences. The interface looks nice and it mimic real magazine. On its cover, you get label with your name, address and weather information placed in the bottom-right corner.
I have found several blogs/websites that also discuss about apps that have beautiful interface:
If you have other suggestions or if you know other websites that discussed about similar topic, you can add it in the comment section.
Images sources: Google images and personal collection