Slimmer, lighter, and not as reflective, the new iPad Air 2 is more than just a looker — under the glass there’s a beefed up processor, more powerful camera and Touch ID, to name a few upgrades.
Get the most out of your new Apple tablet with these 10 great apps.
With Touch ID sensors on the new iPads, Apple’s tablet becomes much more secure. But outside using your fingerprint to unlock the device or buy apps, your personal information is still only as safe as your passwords. 1Password stores your passwords remotely and even recommends tough-to-crack randomized ones.
While the service isn’t new, as of iOS 8, it can be opened using the Touch ID sensor, making for one less password to remember (or forget).
1Password is available for free in the App Store.
Combining the educational gaming of Carmen Sandiego with the urgency of The Amazing Race, this interactive novel-like adventure game is stylish and fun. The object? Transport Mr. Phineas Fogg across the globe in 80 days, using all manner of steampunk and conventional transport to traverse the more than 150 cities, all while solving puzzles along the way.
While not a processor-crunching title, its chic graphics look smooth and seamless on the new Air.
80 Days is available for $4.99 in the App Store.
Adobe Shape CC
Time to put the myth that iPads are for consuming, not creating, to pasture. This whip-smart app lets users snap photos and convert the shapes in the images to vector-based objects. Once the domain of Adobe’s expensive Illustrator and Photoshop desktop programs, this app can turn anyone with an eye into a designer or graphic artist.
Adobe Shape CC is available for free in the App Store.
Itching to get your fingers on Apple Pay? Got $250 to burn on a Scarface Action Figure? If yes to both, this social-shopping app is your soul mate. Just set up your credit card with Apple’s new Touch ID-operated payment system, and a pop-up hot dog toaster, a deck of wooden playing cards, or a wall-mounted fishbowl could be on your doorstep, with only a thumbs-up to your iPad’s home button.
Fancy is available for free in the App Store.
The new iPad’s autumn launch gets it in shoppers' hands just in time for nesting season. Home design inspiration and shopping app Houzz is also Apple Pay-enabled, which means users will have an easy time snapping up everything from bar carts to bath towels. And unlike the Restoration Hardware catalog, the iPad Air is getting thinner and easier to carry, which makes this app great for snuggling up with on idea sessions.
Houzz is available for free in the App Store.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Like the Peanuts gang itself, this app is an oldie, but a goodie. An interactive book voiced by the actor who played Linus, it’s the timeless Charles Schulz tale of the Great Pumpkin, who every year rises out of whichever pumpkin patch he thinks most sincere. Now before you think Charlie Brown has “gone commercial” with this app, stop being a blockhead and think how much fun it is to flick, spin, and fling the pop-up book-type elements. It’s a great annual read for kids and adults alike, and already set to be downloaded when your new iPad arrives.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is available for $5.99 in the App Store.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout
Once just a blank slate where casual games spun on aimlessly, the iPad has evolved into a platform where high-powered shooters, simulators, and brawlers tear up the screen. This first-person situational shooter lets users play multiplayer or in a mission-based story mode with stunning worldwide settings.
On the new iPad, with its A8X processor, the game — one of the earliest programmed using Apple’s graphics-maximizing Metal API — has detail and speed not available on any other Apple or Android device.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout is available for $6.99 in the App Store.
With apologies to this website, the best way to enjoy a magazine is still in well-designed page layouts, and that’s where the recently updated Next Issue app shines. A monthly subscription-based service that delivers more than 140 publications straight to your tablet, this Netflix for magazines looks better than ever on iPad Air 2’s 9.7-inch display, thanks to the tablet’s new antireflective coating.
In addition, the Air’s screen is just one sheet of glass, unlike previous iPads, which had three layers, making the new model brighter and more vibrant—perfect for taking in fantastic magazine layouts.
Next Issue requires a subscription, but the app is available for free in the App Store.
Though not yet available on the iPad, this powerful image editing app was previewed at the iPad Air 2 launch, and its jaw-dropping visuals make it worth waiting for. A layer-based photo editor, Pixelmator gives users professional level graphic abilities on a tablet, the same tools available on the desktop version of the app. With the Air’s beefier processor, it handles 4K resolution images with ease. And it can even use iOS’s Handoff feature to let users work on files either on the iPad or on a Mac desktop or laptop.
Pixelmator will be available soon for $4.99 in the App Store soon.
Replay Video Editor
Another app demonstrated at the iPad’s launch, this movie-making tool takes the pain and patience out of producing fun personal movies. Programmed using Apple’s Metal API, it hauls when running on the new iPad’s faster processor. Just select some photos and/or video clips, choose a theme with graphics, and tap. Less than a second later, all the media is stitched together, rendered and ready to be shared, making sharing vacation videos almost as fun as going on the trip itself. Almost.
Replay Video Editor is available for free in the App Store.