December 26, 2012, 8:51 PM — If you were lucky enough to receive a new iPad for the holidays this year, we hope you have fun exploring what the tablet has to offer. By now you've probably acquainted yourself with the built-in apps on your iPad, so you may want to reach outside the sandbox for more interesting fare. The App Store, which you can access on your iPad or via iTunes on your computer, features more than 750,000 downloadable apps. If there's something you want to do on your iPad, chances are good you can find a tool for it in the App Store. But separating the truly great apps from the weird and wacky ones can be tough. Here are a few of our favorite apps to get you started.
Apple's iBooks (free in the App Store) lets you read ePub-format books and PDFs in both portrait and landscape modes. You can purchase books from Apple's iBookstore, organize your books, create collections, and delete books you no longer want. Apple also offers support for interactive multimedia textbooks created through iBooks Author on the Mac; these are similarly available through the iBookstore, and offer a more immersive experience--one replete with videos, slideshows, and other touchable elements. You can read books by swiping virtual pages or by scrolling the content vertically as you might in Safari or Mail.
Apple's music-making software, GarageBand ($5 in the App Store), is one of three apps in the iLife suite for iOS. It offers a slew of virtual and smart instruments, and you can strum chords or bang out tunes with just a few taps. Professional and amateur musicians alike can use the app to record eight tracks of audio, and you can even plug in USB accessories such as microphones and piano keyboards using the connection from Apple's Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.