When Steve Jobs introduced the very first iPad, one of his big statements was that the 75 million iPhone users in the world already knew how to use it. Well, many of those users were suprised to discover that four of the built-in apps that they had grown to love on their iPhone were missing on their iPad. Namely, Clock, Voice Memos, Weather, Calculator and Stocks. Rumor has it Apple didn't think those apps would scale to look good on the bigger iPad screen. Fortunately, many great developers have filled that void and proven that, not only can these apps look good on the iPad. They can look great.
In fact, there are so many great apps in these categories that it can be overwhelming. That's where we come in. We took all the top Clock, Voice Memos, Weather, Calculator, scrutinized them, and tested them some more and named a single app in each category as the best of its kind. So without further adieu, here they are!
Night Stand for is a gorgeous clock app for the iPad the supports the new iPad's Retina Display. In the background of your flip-style clock, you can have a slideshow of included movies/animations or photos, or you can have it play through your own photos.
As for the alarm clock, you can add as many alarms as you need with custom interval times and wake up to your own music or one of the included sounds. There is also a large range of intervals for that precious snooze button.
But that's not all, Night Stand includes widgets for Twitter, Facebook, RSS, and weather, so that you don't even need to leave the app after it wakes you up to check up on all the social networks and news -- something you normally do before rolling out of bed anyway.
If you're looking for a Voice Recorder for your iPad that offer great quality and professional features, look no further than Audio Memos. It in three different versions: a free one that does only the basics, a $0.99 version that does a little bit more with optional extensions available as in-app purchases, and a Pro version that includes all the extensions available in the $0.99 version. So whether you're looking for something basic, middle of the road, or full-featured, Audio Memos has got you covered.
Living Earth is a gorgeous way to check the weather. It features an interactive earth in the background that can be rotated and zoomed in and out of with your fingers. You can also tap a button that keep the earth slowly rotated on its axis, and as it spins, you see which part of the earth is currently being hit by the sun.
Regarding weather, Living earth will give you 10 day forecasts that are broken down into 2-hour intervals as well as show you sunrise/sunset times. There is also an option to have the current cloud formations overlaid on the earth, so that you can get an idea of any clouds that might be heading your way.
In addition to weather, Living Earth also include an alarm clock that allows you to wake up to your own music and set custom repeat intervals. It only supports one alarm setting at a time, however.
Living Earth may not be as fully-featured as some other weather apps, but it provides the information that most people want -- and does it beautifully.
Calcbot is a great scientific calculator for the iPhone and iPad. It features nice, large keys and a SwipePad that switches between the basic operations (including numbers) and scientific functions. It also keep track of all your calculations on a tape where you can copy and paste into a new calculation. Another nice feature is that it keeps a live history of what you type, so that you never get lost with where you are in your calculation.
Whether you need to casually monitor stocks on your iPad or just find the urge to check out financial news, Bloomberg provides the best of both worlds combined with an easy to use interface. I've found that some of the applications in the App Store are quite hard to navigate and may be confusing for many users to figure out. Sometimes too many charts and graphs can be overwhelming. Bloomberg gives you what you want to know right up front.
If you're more interested in world and financial news than you are stocks, Bloomberg doubles up as a great resource for such information. It ties news and the stock market together in a fluid way that users will appreciate.