Facebook (Free): The official Facebook app grants you access to just about every aspect of your Facebook profile – the wall, photos, videos, links, pages, messages…everything. While you won’t be able to play games like Farmville or Bubble Witch Saga within the app, you can do everything else, like chat with friends and comment on their wall posts. The Facebook website isn’t fun or intuitive on the iPad (or the desktop, for that matter), but Facebook for iPad makes keeping up with friends and family a little easier.
Tweetbot ($2.99): This recently released Twitter application was a hit on the iPhone and now there’s a version of it on the iPad – and it’s fantastic. Using a combination of touch and swipe gestures, you’re able to swiftly navigate your timeline and conversations.
The app looks and sounds like a robot. Manipulating onscreen elements often results in servos whirring and hydraulics “psshhh”-ing, which can make the app feel “heavy” at times, but it adds to Tweetbot’s charm and personality.
Besides the various gestures available, you can mute tweets with specific hashtags for certain lengths of time, send links to services like Instapaper and Readability, and customize the navigation. This is arguably the best Twitter client on the iPad and it’s only $2.99.
Verbs IM ($0.99): Verbs is your all-in-one IM application for the iPad. I know, you’ve seen these before, but Verbs’s interface is very reminiscent of the stock Messages app in iOS 5, so it feels familiar and user friendly.
Log into your Facebook, GTalk, AIM and MobileMe accounts and start chatting with friends. Local notifications are persistent for 10 minutes when the app is running in the background and accounts are logged in for up to seven days.
You can also share photos and view downloaded Office and iWork documents from within Verbs all over a secure, encrypted connection.
Skype for iPad (Free): We all know and love Skype on the desktop and iPhone. Now it’s on the iPad and brings full screen video calling right into your lap. Simply sign in, view your contacts and with one touch, you can be chatting with them over 3G or Wi-Fi in seconds. Of course, two-way video chat only works on iPad 2, so iPad 1 owners will have to settle for receiving video and sending audio only.
Those who use Skype to make actual phone calls can pay for Skype credits and use the app in the same way as they’d use the desktop version. It’s incredibly easy and tailored specifically for the iPad’s touch interface. Happy Skyping!
SoundCloud (Free): Sure, we all share photos and videos with each other, but what about sounds?
SoundCloud records anything you want – your voice, a song, street noise – and allows you to share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare. Follow friends and comment on their sounds, or just listen to what they’re posting on SoundCloud – even in the background. It adds one more layer of texture to an otherwise flat social networking experience.