The Apple iPad is launching today, but owners of this new tablet computer already have a tremendous array of third-party software options. Many of them were designed for the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen, but a growing number of titles have been tuned for the iPad’s 9.7-inch display.
Apple’s latest runs the iPhone OS, so it can run software created for the company’s smartphones and handhelds. The apps can be pixel-doubled to fill most of the 1024 x 768 pixel display (see an example).
While these apps are usable, they aren’t particularly satisfying. That’s why companies have been rushing to re-format their apps to take full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen.
Apple Is First In Line
The tablet computer comes with a suite of software for surfing the Web, exchanging email and watching video, as well as a calendar and address book. These apps resemble the ones on the iPhone, but, of course, have been reformatted for the larger screen.
Apple is also offering apps for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.
Fun and Games
Games are a major percentage of all iPhone apps, and unsurprisingly, many are being ported to the iPad.
EA Mobile, a division of Electronic Arts, is bringing five of its best-selling titles to Apple’s new tablet: Tetris, Need for Speed SHIFT, Mirror’s Edge, and Command & Conquer Red Alert.
Astraware is another major producer of games for a wide range of mobile platforms, and its versions of Solitaire and Sudoku have been ported to the iPad, along with its OddBlob arcade action game.
Ngmoco is also throwing its hat in the ring with seven apps: GodFinger, We Rule, Charadium, Flick Fishing, NBA Hotshots, Warpgate and CastleCraft.
Neil Young, ngmoco’s CEO, said “iPad radically reshapes how players feel about interacting with games. The bigger screen and innovative multi-touch capabilities make our games more immersive than we ever imagined.”
In addition, Sling Media is in the process of bringing its streaming TV service to the tablet. When available, this will allow users to watch and control their home TV from around the world.
And these are just a drop in the bucket of the entertainment apps that are coming to the iPad.
Many companies are passing on the iPad because it lacks the power of a Mac OS X or Windows PC. LogMeIn Ignition helps remedy that problem by allowing users to remotely control a distant computer almost as if they were sitting in front of it.
The iPad is not a smartphone, but Truphone is a VoIP app that offers customers free calling to other Truphone and Google Talk users when connected over Wi-Fi, and international calling to mobile phones and landlines.
SugarSync can synchronize files and folders between an iPad and Macs and Windows PCs.
Apple’s FileMaker subsidiary has released Bento for iPad, which helps users manage contacts, track projects, plan events and more, and can be used alone or synchronized with Bento 3 for Mac.
More On their Way
This is a small sampling of both available and soon-to-be available software for the iPad. Since it just hit shelves today, it’s likely that third-party developers will continue to release software with Apple’s latest toy in mind.