Instapaper ($4.99): It happens – you come across a few articles online that you want to read, but you don’t have the time. What do you do? You email yourself a link, or you bookmark it for later and forget to come back. Try Instapaper instead. Simply install a bookmarklet in your browser, then click it when you come across an article you’d like to read later. Instapaper strips out the ads and other fluff, leaving you with just the text and any necessary pictures. The app syncs these articles down to your iPad, creating a curated magazine of your bookmarks that’s available anywhere – even without an Internet connection.
Zite Personalized Magazine (Free): Why should you have to trudge through content you’re not interested in? Zite is an iPad magazine app that pulls in articles from across the Web. “Thumbs up” the ones you like, “thumbs down” the ones you don’t. Zite learns your tastes and alters its results based on your choices, eventually giving you everything it thinks you’d like to read and nothing you don’t. They call it a “smart magazine” and based on many of the reviews in the App Store, that seems like an apt description.
Flipboard (Free): When people show off iPad apps, Flipboard always comes up in the conversation. Enter your credentials for Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader, maybe a few blogs you like to read, then let Flipboard show you everything in a beautiful magazine-like layout. View Facebook photos at fullscreen size, open links people post on Twitter right within the app and see what people are saying about a current post on your favorite blog – then comment on it yourself. It’s social media done right without all the cruft you find on the actual sites.
Pulse News for iPad (Free): If Flipboard turns your favorite websites into a magazine, Pulse turns them into a mosaic. Load up all the blogs and websites you visit daily into Pulse, then read articles in a clean, user-friendly view. The app is horizontally-oriented, meaning you tend to scroll from left-to-right, rather than up and down like with other news applications. Anything you’d like to read later can be synced to a variety of other services, like Instapaper and Evernote, or you can share articles over Facebook and Twitter.
Kindle (Free)/Nook (Free): The Kindle and Nook apps are being tied together because they fall under a single app category – e-book readers. Both apps push you out to their respective websites to download books, or you can sync books across multiple devices if you happen to have a Kindle or Nook e-book reader. Highlight passages, make notes, look up words and bookmark pages in any of the thousands of titles in each app’s store, or simply read until the battery dies. The iPad is a great e-reader, so make the most of it with the Kindle and Nook apps.