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Essential iPad Apps for the Beginner User

Updated on June 14, 2014
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don is a retired engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.


The great iPAD, new users and computer problems

This article gives a summary of the top iPAD APPS that I have evolved to using the most. It includes good basic APPS that will make the iPAD user more productive, in the shortest period of time.

Also, these are either FREE APPS or their price is very competitive for the power you get from that particular APP.

Once you are using these basic APPS, you will eventually go on to more and more specialized APPS that make your iPAD reflect your personal needs.

ipad newspaper app

newspaper app on the ipad
newspaper app on the ipad | Source

My iPad and my Essential APPS

APPS that I consider necessary

I have been using a iPad for some time now and I am an avid proponent of it as a personalized power tool. Using an iPad has given me a new sense of freedom to write, track things, and just generally keep up with the rest of the world.

Oh, I have a very nice and cranked up notebook PC with a large hi-res screen, enormous hard drive, CD/DVD drive and multiple processors.

You see, I am a techno geek, and I do require the level of overall power such a machine gives me when I do some of the things that I do.

For instance, when I edit and manage my photography, I use the "big dog".

When I am drawing complex objects to scale, I use the big dog, agai,n for that level of power. Sometimes, and under certain circumstances, you just have to have the power, size, speed and resolution.

But, most of the time, I have found, you just need the convenience of an iPad. You need small size, you need light weight, and again, you need the right tools.

Oh, the iPad does have a number of limitations, mostly physical, that can really aggravate you, the user, sometimes, such things as not having a decent data I/O port, not even a single USB port, for one thing.

But, on the other hand, there are so many acceptable Apps that help the user work around even this limitation.

In reality, it is the Apps themselves that make the iPad so powerful and useful.

There are literally tens of thousands of Apps for the iPad user, regardless of their needs or aptitudes with computers. And, of course, I have my favorites that I use regularly.

PAGES the word processor APP

Here are what I consider the absolute best and most essential of the Apps on my iPad, and why I think they are so indispensable.


When Ifirst loaded this word processor App, I was surprised by how flexible and user friendly a package it was, especially considering it's relatively low price.

You see, I have been a user of MS Word since version 1.0, so I hope you can see how set in my ways I was when it came to generating my documents.

But, imagine how happy I was when I found that I could write an article, a short story or even a poem in Pages, and easily export it as a MS Word document for management, publishing or storage on my PC.

And of course, I could take an unfinished Word document and import it into Pages and have it there, ready for further editing and even expansion at my convenience.

All of a sudden, when inspiration hit me, I could write stories, poems, commentary, whatever, at my convenience, wherever I might be; in a Doctors Waiting Room, in a Shopping Mall, on a park bench, or even just sitting by a swimming pool. I was, suddenly, set free!



Just like Pages, Apple put a very friendly and useable spreadsheet App out there for the iPad. And, as with Word, I have been a heavy user of Excel from day one of it's existence.

Most of my Excel documents are multi-sheet workbooks with cross references, formulas and "lookups" imbedded everywhere.

So imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I found that my workbooks transferred back and forth between Excel on my PC and Numbers on my iPad without any problems, just like my documents do with Pages and Word.


The Web Browser App, Safari, turned into a yet another pleasant surprise for me.

It is a relatively fast browser on the iPad, and it is also, relatively, bug free. I like it better than MS Internet Explorer, but then that doesn't take much, considering that clunky package.

And, with Safari, Apple lets me select my favorite search engine from several of the top packages, and as I am comfortable with Google as a search engine, that too makes me happy.

Add to that, the way that the Safari App let's me put my bookmarks into my own special bookmark folders for easy access, and I can go manage my business and web tasks a lot quicker than with any other package that I have seen.


The Mail App on my iPad has really spoiled me.

I have five, yes five email address' that I use heavily.

And they are not all from the same mail server, so having the capability to chronologically review all of my emails from all of my different mail servers, in one mail list, is a real plus for me.

And the capability to quickly review, trash or save in my favorite mail folders, with just a few screen taps, makes this a powerful and user friendly tool.

I assume that you noticed that these are all Apple Apps, and not third party Apps.

Along with these favorites of mine, I also use the other Apple Apps; specifically CONTACTS, NOTES, and CALENDAR.

And I use them a lot. Not because they were there and were free, but because, they are simple and easy tools that you can open and use quickly and then move on.

Great Third Party Apps for the iPAD

Now to the Third Party Apps that I use extensively.

USB Disk Pro-

The top third-party App in my mind, and probably the one I appreciate the most is the App called; USB Disk Pro.

What does it do? Well with this App, I can place those Word/Pages and Excel/Numbers documents of mine into an iTunes folder, and pull them from that iTunes folder with either my PC or my iPad.

This capability is so important when using your iPad. No signing up for storage on the web, just a straight and simple transfer folder.

And, here is a little tip; If you need to transfer between PC and iPad right away, just email the document to yourself in the default MS-Office format, and there it is, ready to use on either machine.


I purchased a new HP printer that is "eprint" capable and the world of printing my documents immediately became a simple task and no longer a chore.

With most of my iPad Apps, the major ones anyway, I can just select print, and select my online WIFI (eprint capable) printer from the list of printers detected, and just walk over and collect my document, perfectly formatted, just like it looked on my iPad screen, every time.

In fact, one additional function that I now use often is the capability to mail a document or picture to my printer at my home from anywhere in the world that I and my iPad can get onto a WIFI system.

Yep, printing is easy with my iPad now.

Using the iPAD Camera for great pictures


It may look a little strange, but I use my iPad for taking pictures and short movies relatively often.

The Camera itself is easy to use, and you have a heck of a viewfinder with the large HD display of the iPad.

OK, it is a little cumbersome to use considering its size, relative to those little cameras that are everywhere.

But what I find is that, like my iPhone, if I have it with me most of the time, then I find that there are more opportunities that pop up for me to catch that great shot.

More opportunities means more pictures and videos. Remember, they are digital pictures so, just take the shot, and if it is poor quality, or what you expected, just delete it later. Nut take the shot.


And, FaceTime? It is a great video chat tool, and makes video conferencing fun and easy with our kids and grandkids.

I could go on and on, but there are dozens of other Apps that I use regularly, and I will just list a few here.

  • I use my banks App for my financial needs,
  • I use TDAmeritrade for stock trades,
  • Dragon Dictation is great for converting voice to text,
  • Facebook and GOOGLE+ are for my social App,
  • Twitter to Tweet my friends,
  • Google Earth for finding places,
  • Square for taking Credit card payments when I seel things to people,
  • Hub Pages App is the place for my writing Hubs,
  • Yellow/White Pages to find business' and people around the country,
  • Amazon Kindle App for reading books,
  • eBay App to manage my sale items on eBay,
  • Glucose Buddy to track and manage my blood sugar and weight,
  • and on and on.

And, even though I already have over 90 Apps loaded on my iPad, I do check once a week for what is new. You just never know when yet another "perfect" App will be released.

How to use your iPad as a Document Scanner

My Rights and Your Rights

What this means is that I own this document, and you are free to use it and enjoy it, but if you want to use it commercially, then you need my permission, in writing.
What this means is that I own this document, and you are free to use it and enjoy it, but if you want to use it commercially, then you need my permission, in writing. | Source

© 2011 Don Bobbitt


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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks rsspenser, for the response. You get hooked on the convenience, don't you? My wife and I RV, and we both have an iphone and an ipad. This is fantastic when you are traveling and can take it anywhere and do so much with it.

      Have a great day!

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub, Don. I write most of my stuff on my first generation iPad and have found that I like typing on it more than a keyboard. If it gets stolen or breaks, I'll HAVE to have another!

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks Paul. I had no idea when I got mine that I would end up customizing it with so many useful (and some just fun) Apps that would in turn make it a necessary item for me to carry nearly everywhere. No more notepads, No more pieces of paper with strange numbers that I can't remember where they came from, No more getting an inspirational thought or phrase and forgetting it when you get home.

      Yeah! i kind of like my iPad! ;>)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hello Don,

      The I pad is on my wish list and if i am ever lucky enough to own one then i know who to come to for advice,

      Thanks for sharing, voted up and useful.

    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      7 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks Phil. And Yes, the App market is pretty competitive, and it is not unusual for the companies that write them to put one on sale, or even free for a short while so they can build up a clientele of users and generate some "buzz".

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Great list and advice. A buddy of mine has an app tracker, I don't know what it is called, but he says that by using it you can do a search on apps and then add them to a list and then get notifications if their price drops, which apparently happens often. I'll see if I can get the name of it to pass it on to you. Vote-up and useful for this hub.

    • TiffanySprouts profile image


      7 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Pretty good stuff. Very informational. Thank you.


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