Tablets can be enormously useful. Far from just being an oversized smartphone without the phone part their big screens allow you to make the most of media and even get creative with music and art tools. In a pinch they can even do the job of a laptop for writing and editing documents.
The iPad range is particularly accomplished, not just because of the quality of its hardware (which in the case of the iPad Pro really does make for a convincing laptop replacement) but because of the quantity and quality of apps available.
Some are just blown up smartphone apps, but others really make the most of the screen size available and the following selection are among the best.
Creating digital art on an iPhone is going to be a challenge for even the best painters, given the small size of the screen, but on the 9.7-inch iPad or better yet the 12.9-inch iPad Pro it’s a joy, especially as the latter supports the Apple Pencil.
And if you want to draw something more than just a doodle on your tablet Procreate is a great tool. With 128 different brushes, complete with 35 different customisable settings for each, you’d have to spend a lot of money to get the same selection from physical brushes.
You can even create your own brushes, or just get painting and with continuous auto save you’ll never lose your work.
Ereaders are great for books but their grayscale screens mean they’re not so good for comics, but the big and bright, high-quality screen on an iPad makes it a perfect fit.
Madefire is one of many comic readers on the platform, but it goes beyond the others, adding sounds and motion to stories, so they straddle the line between comic and cartoon.
There are hundreds of comics available – both old favourites and new creations designed specifically for it and more are added all the time, so dive in and discover a new form of media.
That price tag might have put you off, as it’s well above what most things on the App Store cost, but that’s just testament to what a serious, feature-packed app KORG Gadget is.
It’s an all-in-one music production studio, with over 20 different synthesizers and drum machines built in allowing you to create professional quality electronic music.
The big screen of an iPad gives you room to manoeuvre and its portability means you can make music anywhere. It might be overkill for amateurs, but if you’re passionate about music creation you won’t find much better on the App Store.
It’s never too late to learn something new and with over 10,000 videos and explanations for maths, science, history, economics and more Khan Academy makes it easy.
But it’s not just passive learning, as the iPad app also has over 150,000 interactive exercises and a scratchpad which you can use to write answers with your finger or Apple Pencil.
The app covers everything from basics to more advanced fields of study and is suited to people who know nothing about a given subject, those who want a refresher and even experts.
This is an obvious one, but no less deserving. Netflix has a huge library of shows and films, including an ever growing selection of Netflix originals and you can enjoy it all comfortably from the big screen of your iPad.
Or cast it from your slate to a Chromecast or Android TV to view things on an even larger screen. Netflix is also great for content discovery, recommending new things based on what you’ve already seen.
The only downside to it is that you do need a data connection, be it Wi-Fi or mobile data, as you can’t currently download content, but it’s a small issue in an otherwise brilliant app.
If you’re more into instruments than electronic music or just can’t stomach the price of KORG Gadget, then you should definitely check out GarageBand.
This app is made by Apple, so it’s highly polished as you’d expect and it gives you access to ‘touch instruments’, like guitars, keyboards, an organ and a piano.
Or you can go a step further and plug an actual guitar into your iPad, which can then act as a simulated amp.
If you’re just missing a drummer you can add a virtual session drummer to any song and thanks to iCloud Drive your creations are synced across devices.
Microsoft Word may not be the most exciting of apps, but it’s testament to the power of tablets that it’s almost as useable here as on a laptop.
The iPad app gives you almost all the same features as its desktop counterpart, allowing you to create and edit documents, add tables, charts and images, track changes, change the layout and more.
This would be impossible to do comfortably on a phone, but on an iPad it works brilliantly. If you’re lucky enough to have an iPad Pro and a Smart Keyboard it’s even better.
TED combines entertainment with education, through a huge range of over 2,000 bite-sized talks covering tech, science, emotions and more.
Most of the talks are given by experts in their fields and they’re almost all engaging and pitched at a level that anyone can understand.
The iPad app gives you access to the full range, enjoyable on its high-quality screen wherever you are, and it’s a smartly designed app too, allowing you to bookmark favourites to watch later and even download talks for offline access.
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