When my husband and daughters got me an iPad for Christmas, my first reaction was “hooray!” followed by “now what do I do with it?” Well, Sharp Eye fans, wonder no longer: here is your iPad set-up cheat-sheet, and, for non-believers “ten reasons to get an iPad”*

* As you’ve probable heard, the iPad 2 was recently released; slimmer, faster, and more dual-camera-d than the original, it’s definitely aroused our interest. It also comes in a choice of black and white, with a swanky new cover. Check out our A-Store to pick yours up.


10. Penultimate: Cool app that allows for free-style drawing and note-taking in a virtual “notebook”. In order to take full advantage of this, you’ll need a stylus, which is like a virtual pen. See the “accessories” section for our stylus recommendations.

9. Dropbox: 2GB of storage free, and allows you to bring up documents, pictures, etc. on your iPad wherever you are. Suddenly the iPad’s anemic memory matters less. (See recent Sharp Eye article).

8. Evernote: A great place to archive .pdfs and other things you need to read.

7. Instapaper: Allows you to grab the content of web articles (sans advertising) and archive them to read at your leisure. Like the world’s-greatest newspaper.

6. Scrabble, the NY Times Crossword and Bridge Barron: Because, trust me, they’re all much cooler on an iPad screen…and, for the truly tech-savvy, you can use your iPhone as a scrabble tile rack. (ASE hint: If you are stumped in scrabble, you can ask the app to give you the optimum word possible with your tiles – it is humbling.)

5. Kindle for iPad: Enables you to share books with your friends and family who have Kindles; also allows you to read books on the iPad itself.

4. Flipboard: New media in an old-media format, Flipboard gives you the software to create your own virtual “magazine” by aggregating your favorite blogs, websites (especially www.ASharpEye.com), social media feeds, and any other online reading you do. Instead of bouncing around to six different websites, you need only open your own, personalized “magazine”.

3. Epicurious, Big Oven: Both are good cookbook apps (with reviews) which allow you to search for new recipes, archive favorites, and cook straight from your iPad.

2. Weather Channel App: Sets out the weather in a very user-friendly and interactive format.

1. OpenTable, Netflix, UrbanSpoon, Flixster, and SeamlessWeb: All the laptop-based applications that you use to choose restaurants, make reservations, order food, find movie times, and manage your DVD queue, available in iPad format.



For those who like to D.I.Y., loading your iPad with the best apps is pretty easy: just click on the pre-loaded App Store icon, set up or log into your iTunes account, and start downloading.  Many apps are free, most are under $5.00.

For those who need a little help getting set up, we recommend that you visit the Apple Store and request an Apple “genius” to help you get started. Print out this guide, as ask him or her to help you organize your iPad the ASE way.



To minimize clutter on my iPad, I’ve got my “most used links” lined up along the bottom of my screen. While I can scroll sideways through other icons, these are always at the bottom of my home page:

Mail – Gmail

Safari – Surf the web

Productivity – Pages (an iPad version of Microsoft word, which is compatible with Word), Notes, Calculator Pro, Evernote, Instapaper, Penultimate, SketchBook Pro

Then, I’ve created various folders on my iPad desktop, organized by category, and containing all the apps I have in each category. This really cuts down on clutter; instead of a bunch of App icons, I have neat folders with apps organized within them. You can make these folders by holding your finger down on an App icon until the icon begins to wiggle. When it’s in motion, you can then drag and drop the icon on top of another App icon. When you do this, a folder with automatically be generated and the two icons will be inside. The folder will be named according to the App store category that the icons originally came from. You can also modify folder names yourself, by holding your finger down on the folder until it begins to wiggle, then tapping the wiggling icon so that an “edit” window appears. Edit away.


Here are the folders I have on my iPad:

Books – iBooks, Kindle, Google Books

Contacts – My address list software

Cool – GoSkyWatch (stars and constellations), Flipboard

Food – Epicurious, Big Oven, OpenTable (to make reservations)

Games – Scrabble, Crosswords, Bridge Baron (you can set your conventions)

iPod – Music, Podocasts, Audiobooks

Lifestyle – Gilt Groupe, Rue La La…

Music and Movies – Pandora, Shazam, iTunes, YouTube, Shazam, Flixster, Fandango

News – NYTimes, WSJ, CNN, Reuters NewsPro

Photos – iPhoto, Photoshop

Travel – Links to Kayak, Google Earth and Directions

Videos – Downloaded movies and TV



As most ASE readers know, accessories can make the outfit. The iPad is no exception to this rule. Here are the pieces we recommend:

With a keyboard and the Pages app, my iPad mostly replaces my laptop for travel.  My keyboard is $59.99.

  • You will need a stylus for many of the drawing apps; as a bonus, it’s also handy for tapping icons on the iPad screen and playing iPad Scrabble. We recommend the Griffin or the Box Wave Stylus, for $15 or $20.
  • It seems like everyone is making iPad cases now, and Apple has just released a new magnetic cover for the iPad 2. However, we’ve found that the best-looking and well-made selection is by M-Edge. Get one at our A-store or at the M-edge store. Note that their iPad2 selection is “coming soon”.

If want to buy yourself an iPad, the originals are available on our A-Store.

For the brand new models, go to Apple.