Here are a few of our favorite apps for Apple’s new iPad tablet. It is a computer, but it’s designed more for reading and entertainment than productivity. That’s all right, as long as you understand it going in. It’s incredibly fast, and battery life is more than 11 hours. That makes is sort of like carrying around your own personal TV, radio, movie theater, photo album, and library. The apps:


iBook: This could kill the Kindle for reading downloaded books, but the iPad is heavier and harder to hold. The iBook application on the iPad looks like a bookshelf, with all of your downloads right there. It’s easier to find free books here than it is on the Kindle. We searched for “Daddy Long Legs,” the 1912 classic on which the movie is based. It came up on our Kindle as available for 99 cents but it was free from the iBook app. The same thing happened for “The Ordeal of Richard Feverel.”  Of course 99 cents isn’t much, but you can’t beat free. On the other hand, when you buy a Kindle book, you can read it on your computer, phone, iPod Touch or iPad; if you use the iBook app, the book stays on the iPad.

Movies and Video

Besides YouTube, we tried out Netflix, which streams movies to subscribers. (We pay $9 a month for unlimited streaming, and get a movie in the mail as often as we like as long as we send that back before getting the next one.)


You can read the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, or Time magazine and it looks almost exactly like the paper publication. The New York Times is available in an “Editor’s Choice” edition.  As with everything else on the iPad, the screen is in full color and the picture is sharp. If you see a video in a story, you can tap and watch it.

Getting Organized

Bento for the iPad is a $5 app and is just like Bento for the Macintosh. It is a cut-down version of Filemaker, the powerful database program. Bento now has over 600 database templates you can download, and the iPad app opens with seven of them.

Templates include forms for address books, “to-do” lists, recipe files, projects, inventories, notes and expenses. Synchronize these with any Bento database info on your Mac.  Create a new library by tapping the “+” sign. Other templates are for contacts, event planning, items sold, exercise, membership list, etc.

See gallery of 20 free iPad apps

Here are a few Bento for the iPad tips:

1. Touch the “+” sign and drag it to create a new field.

2. When you are in “portrait” orientation (as opposed to “landscape”), click on the record count to see a list.

3. To change themes click on the “pencil” icon at the top.  Then look for the change theme button in upper left corner.

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