As a proud owner of a new iPad, I can honestly say I love the higher resolution screen. I was never dissatisfied with my old iPad actually, but the increased fidelity of text really does have to be seen to be loved.
Apps that haven’t been updated for the new retina screen are now painfully obvious, so here are 5 apps that have been updated, and are now among my most used apps for precisely that reason.
StarWalk ($4.99, iTunes link)
I’m starting off with my favorite app to show off the iPad, because not only do tiny twinkling stars look even more gorgeous on the new iPad, but the addition of a great camera (I had a first generation iPad before) makes augmented reality star gazing possible now too.
StarWalk is your ultimate guide to the night sky. In tabletop mode, it features a beautifully rendered star map with constellations outlined as you center on them and a complete index of what’s out there. That in itself is impressive, but hold up your iPad toward the sky, and the star map will automatically adjust to whatever you should be looking at, using a combination of location and tilt sensors.
On an iPad with a camera, you can enable augmented reality mode which will overlay the star map onto your actual view – which can only be described as magic. Wait until it’s dark and take your iPad into the garden to rediscover the night.
Reeder is a news aggregation app which syncs with Google Reader – it does one thing, and it does it well. The app needs a Google Account though, and there is no local management of your feeds – this is purely for consumption. An additional feature that makes it better than the Google online equivalent is that starred items are separated by folder or site, something which Google Reader is oddly missing.
The app has a selection of gestures which make reading and marking apps quick, as well as full integration with Readability (which basically grabs the full content from the page when sites only publish shortened RSS feeds), and a good selection of sharing options (such as Read it Later and Instapaper – speaking of which, Instapaper has also been updated for retina graphics, though I don’t use the app myself).
A large chunk of my iPad time is taken up in this app because it’s simply the best way to consume RSS feeds from my favourite sites. The app is basically all about text which is automatically rendered higher resolution on the new iPad, but it’s nice to see the other interface elements looking just as gorgeous so they don’t stand out like a sore thumb.
iStopMotion for iPad ($9.99, iTunes link)
Who said the iPad couldn’t be used to create content? The title of this app perhaps gives it away, but iStopMotion can create stop motion and timelapse videos using either the front or back camera on the iPad, or even the remote camera of an iPhone, iPod or another iPad. Here’s one I made earlier of a recent Catan game (note, this isn’t the native resolution, I cut it to remove some faces):
I’m sure you can come up with something better though. It’s a simple app to use, and I think it would a make a great creative project for the kids!
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro ($4.99)
This was an impressive app anyway, but really shines with greater resolution, clarity, and speed on the new iPad. Sketchbook Pro is the best freeform artistic sketching app, and with the addition of a stylus (such as these ones) you could be on your way to making a masterpiece. It features a variety of brushes and drawing tools, and comes complete with an in-app store to download expansions (at the time of writing, there are 5 free downloads of additional brush shapes).
My drawing skills suck no matter what I use sadly, but if you have even an inkling of artistic talent, this really is a must-have that just got better.
Labryrinth 2 HD ($7.99, iTunes link; Lite version)
The only game on this list, and a little on the expensive side – but utterly worth it. If you won’t take my word for it, check out the lite version which I linked to up there, as that has a good number of levels to get you started. The game is digital version of the old “roll a metal ball around and avoid the holes“, and the full version not only offers an immense number of official levels, but also a level-creator and community selection. It looks gorgeous and you may find yourself losing a good few hours to it.
That’s it for my round-up, I’m off to play on my iPad. Do you have any favorite apps that have been updated to take advantage of the retina display, and want to tell the world about them? Let us know in the comments!