iPad Apps and Ideas for the Holidays

As the holidays approach, many of my colleagues and peers are asking questions about the iPad. With a bit of guidance you, too, will be able to purchase the iPad and make someone in your life very happy.

First, who are you buying it for? Does the person love music, movies or pictures? The average song takes about 4MB of space, the average photo about 500kB of space and the average movie about 1.5 GB of space. This means a 16 GB iPad could hold 20 hours of video, 4,000 songs or up to 32,000 photographs. Does the person need Internet access everywhere and anywhere? This feature is especially nice for those who are on the road. The cost is the deciding factor. The 32 GB WiFi only iPad is $599.00. If you add the 3g, the price goes up $130.00 and depending upon the data plan, add another $20.00.

Once you've selected the best iPad for your recipient's needs, it's time to think about which apps you might want to add. There is a book for everybody, including interactive books like Alice for the iPad lite (free- full version $8.99) which lets users tilt their iPads to make Alice grow big as a house, or shrink to just six inches tall. This is Alice in Wonderland digitally remastered for the iPad. Play with the White Rabbit's pocket watch - it realistically swings and bounces. Help Alice swim through a Pool of Tears. This wonderful lite edition is the first installment of Alice's journey and includes an amazing selection of animated scenes. Another interactive children's book is Violet ($.99), a wonderfully curious and clever girl who has a secret -- when she ties on her black satin mask she becomes Phantom Girl, the world's most daring experimenter!

Does your teen love music and play an instrument? How about Musicnotes (free)? Access your Musicnotes.com sheet music library on your iPad. Download this free app, link it to your existing Musicnotes.com account and all of your iPad compatible sheet music files will be imported so you can display them on your iPad. Or, if you're new to Musicnotes.com, try one of the five free sheet music selections included with the app.

Gathering with friends and family? How about Starmaker-Karaoke (free)? Record over 500 hit songs from Adele, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and others and share your recordings using Facebook, Twitter, and email. Once you've tried the free songs, you can cover artists like Eminem, Pink, Coldplay and Miley Cyrus and other favorites for 25¢ to 75¢ a song. Each comes complete with backing band, scrolling lyrics and removable vocals -- just record your singing voice and the lead singer gets replaced by you as the star.

Who needs a video camera or a camera? With the new iPad 2, you have both on one device. Record and take pictures of your holiday gatherings, then load iMovie ($4.99), which allows you to take HD movies as well as add music, sound effects and edit.

Need a simple user-friendly movie app for the novice movie-maker? Consider Flixlab-movies-slideshows (free) for iPhone or iPad. Make movies and slideshows using the videos, photos, and music on your iPhone or iPad. There's also Animoto (free), which turns the pictures on your iPhone/iPad into beautiful music videos. It takes just a few minutes to make one, and then you can share and collect them with your friends.

Remember the days of the darkroom? Now take your pictures with your iPad and use Photopal ($1.99) whose interface, navigation, tools, effects and photo filters make it your reliable photo- editing friend.

Keep the following in mind when purchasing apps:

  • "Lite" apps are a great way to preview the full-featured app before purchase.
  • If you are buying an iPad for a child, consider a passcode prior to your child using the iPad. In addition, in your settings, you can set restrictions on activities such as installing deleting apps, Safari and YouTube, and allowed content.
  • If you just bought the iPad for someone with special needs, go to Settings>Accessibility, choose from Vision, Hearing, Motor and Physical settings. Many apps allow you to customize the font size, sounds, choice of voice, color, etc.
  • If you have Apple TV, you can use Airplay and see your iPad on your television set. This allows you to have the family slide show and music on when company comes over.

The iPad is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Enjoy listening to the laughter, the sense of accomplishment, whistling to a favorite tune and tears of joy.

Vicki Windman is a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South.