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The 10 Best Apps for Your New iPad

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech
iPad Air and iPad mini

You’ve been pining for an iPad for months, and now you’ve finally got one, thanks to that special person (or jolly elf) in your life.

And after reading our iPad setup guide, you’ll be ready to browse Apple’s massive iTunes library and start getting apps for your device. Which ones? Here are the best starter apps for your new iPad.

1. Netflix (free to Netflix subscribers)

Netflix iPad app screenshot

House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Bojack Horseman: Netflix has them all. And with the Netflix iPad app, you can watch all your favorite Netflix originals, and pretty much any terrible 80s movie you can imagine, anywhere you have an Internet connection. It doesn’t get much better than that.

2. HBO GO (free to HBO subscribers)

HBO GO iPad app screenshot

Whether you’re on the road or lying in bed eating a sleeve of Oreos, the HBO GO app gives you immediate access to everything from HBO Originals like Game of Thrones and True Detective to new movie releases. You can also stream shows and movies from your iPad to your Apple TV via AirPlay.

The only catch? You still need an HBO subscription through your cable provider. But there’s hope, as HBO will begin offering HBO GO as a standalone app sometime in 2015. So stay tuned.

3. Comixology (free)

Comixology iPad app screenshot

If you’re a fan of comic books, your iPad just became your new best friend. That’s because you can get access to nearly every comic in existence with Comixology, although you do have to buy them through your Web browser.

Still, the app supports a huge array of comics from a variety of publishers and offers an excellent reading experience. If you’re a comic book fan, get this app.

4. Hearthstone (free)

Hearthstone iPad app screenshot

Want to try your hand at some gaming on your iPad? Then you need Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Based on Blizzard Entertainment’s incredibly popular Warcraft series, the card-based game sees you play against computer opponents or take on actual people, online.

It’s easy to learn, absolutely gorgeous, and free to play, although you can buy better cards. Or simply play more to collect them. Just know that once you start, you’re guaranteed to get sucked in. 

5. Chrome (free)

Chrome iPad app screenshot

Google’s Chrome is the most popular Web browser on desktops and laptops in the United States. If you already use it on your Mac or PC, then you’ll definitely want to download it on your iPad, as you’ll be able to sync everything from your browsing history to your bookmarks, and view tabs you’ve left open on your desktop or laptop.  

6. Spotify (free)

Spotify iPad app screenshot

Spotify offers a seemingly limitless library of your favorite musicians and their songs — with a few notable exceptions, like Taylor Swift — for free (with ads). On top of that, there’s an impressive array of playlists for nearly any occasion you can think of. And if you’re looking for some new tunes to rock out to, you can always check out what your friends are listening to and get great — and terrible — suggestions.

7. Flipboard (free)

Flipboard iPad app screenshot

Flipboard is an immensely popular app that aggregates news articles from a host of sources. And while it’s available for the iPhone and Android phones, the app looks better than ever when viewed on the iPad. With its gorgeous layout and impressive selection of stories covering more topics than you can ever hope to read in a single sitting, Flipboard is one of the best news apps you can download. And with its Read Later function, you can save interesting stories you haven’t had a chance to get to for a better time.

8. Pocket (free)

Pocket iPad app screenshot

If you want to spend a lot of time reading your favorite online magazines (like Yahoo Tech, for instance) but won’t be within range of a Wi-Fi signal for a while, Pocket is the app for you. The app lets you save articles (although without photos) via your Web browser and read them offline. It’s a great app if you know you’re going to be commuting without a Web connection but still want to be able to dig into that profile of Miley Cyrus.

9. YouTube (free)

YouTube iPad app screenshot

Want to watch ridiculous videos of puppies trying to walk down stars for the first time, people cooking various bacon-related meals, and rap videos by historical figures? Then download YouTube.

10. Cracked (free)

Cracked iPad app screenshot

This one is a personal favorite of yours truly. Cracked is a humor site that runs listicle-style articles based on factual information — for the most part. The site covers everything from incredible animals to soldiers that make Rambo look like a whimpering baby and everything in between.

There’s even a recurring piece that debunks all those too-good-to-be-true news articles you’ve read. Throw in some hilarious videos and community-driven Photoshop contests, and you’ll see why the Cracked app is worth checking out.

Bonus round: Yahoo News Digest (free)

Yahoo News Digest iPad app screenshot

Yahoo News Digest was developed by Yahoo, so we’re biased here at Yahoo Tech. But we do love it.

Digest provides a clear and concise breakdown of the day’s top news stories twice a day, in the morning and at night. If you want to find out what’s going on in the world, use this app.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+ here.