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App Friday: The 20 best iPad apps for UK launch day

iPad day is finally here in the UK, with Brits around the country getting their hands on Apple’s tablet. If you’re one of them, which apps should you be grabbing on launch day? Having bought an iPad from the US a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been rooting around the App Store to find the gems. Here’s our guide to 20 of the best iPad apps so far.

FOR GAMING…

Mirror’s Edge
EA’s action game sees you scampering along rooftops jumping and rolling like a parkour pro. It’s got impressive 3D visuals, but the best thing are its entirely swipe-based controls, which work beautifully on iPad’s large screen.

Plants vs Zombies HD
If you’ve played Plants vs Zombies on PC or iPhone, you’ll know it’s one of the most addictive casual games ever made, pitting you and your plants against a voracious horde of zombies. Well, it’s just as marvellous on iPad.

Flight Control HD
Another upscaled iPhone game this, except there are some excellent new features to enjoy on iPad. You have to guide planes and helicopters into land by drawing their flight paths, with new maps and a two-player co-op mode.

Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior
The world’s most legendary martial artist (yes, even more legendary than Terry Jacks or Hong Kong Phooey) is the focus of this excellent iPad beat ’em up, which blends motion-captured animation with Tekken-style gameplay.

Civilization Revolution
The classic civilisation-building strategy game worked well on iPhone, but really benefits from iPad’s bigger display. Plot global domination, double-cross your fellow rulers, and be relieved that you’re not squinting any more.

We Rule
You can’t play Facebook smash hit Farmville on an iPad, because its Safari browser won’t run Flash. We Rule is the next best thing though, with a similar mix of crop cultivation, city building and social aspects.

FOR E-READING…

Wired Magazine
Talking of standalone apps, Wired Magazine is a jaw-dropping example of how print publications may evolve to take advantage of tablets. It’s the June print issue, spiced up with animation, video, audio and a lovely interface.

iBooks
Apple’s e-books app is a no-brainer to download because a.) it’s free as are b.) many of its e-books. Oh, and c.) you also get a free Winnie The Pooh e-book when you download it. It’s a slick e-reader, including a built-in dictionary.

Zinio
What iBooks does for books, Zinio does for magazines. It lets you subscribe to digital versions of some of your favourite mags, from T3 and FHM through to Wallpaper. Would standalone apps be better? Sometimes, but this still works well.

Financial Times
One of the first British newspapers to hit the App Store was the FT, which has done more than simply slapping its print pages onto the iPad screen. Navigating its pages is fast and efficient, with a wealth of content to explore.

Marvel Comics
I never quite got into the comic-collecting habit, and now never will, so impressive is Marvel’s app. You can browse a big selection of its classic issues, buy them, and then whizz from panel to panel, or view entire pages.

Alice for the iPad
E-books can be apps on iPad, and this new version of Lewis Carroll’s novel shows the potential. Every few pages, it has an interactive bit based on the original artwork: jumping lizards, telescoping Alice and flingable jam tarts.

The Elements: for UK & Ireland
This is the other example of book-as-app. It’s based on the periodic table, except it presents every element as an interactive object that you can play with, or even look at in 3D if you have a set of stereo-3D glasses. Amazing.

FOR USEFULNESS…

TweetDeck
There’s no official Twitter app (yet) for iPad as there is for iPhone, but Apple’s tablet is made for TweetDeck, which presents your tweets, lists and searches in columns running across the screen. And better still, it’s free.

NewsRack
For all the blather around newspaper and magazine apps, there will be plenty of iPad users who get their news from RSS feeds. NewsRack is already one of the best iPhone RSS readers, and now it’s equally impressive on iPad.

Evernote
This isn’t an iPad-specific app: it’s on a host of smartphones as well as computers. But it’s still hugely useful: an app that lets you create ‘notes’ (which can be audio as well as text) and save them to the cloud for later reference.

Pages
It’s a bit unfair to pick this one out – its companion apps Numbers and Keynote are equally good. But Apple’s iPad word processor is likely to have the widest appeal, for anyone looking to create documents on their device.

FOR CREATIVITY…

Magic Piano
This comes from the developers who made Ocarina on the iPhone, and is just as creative. It’s an on-screen piano that warps into swirly shapes, but there’s also a mode that teaches you to play famous songs, and online duets too.

Granimator
iPad lets you create your own wallpapers for the homescreen, and Granimator is a fantastic app to do it with. You choose from visual elements created by expert designers, and create colourful collages for use on iPad, or to be shared elsewhere.

Rj Voyager
It’s hard to explain Rj Voyager in a couple of lines, but it’s a music manipulation app that lets you take a basic song and warp its various musical elements, all using tactile touchscreen controls. Head-spinning, in a good way.

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