Big names unveil iPad apps

Netflix, Electronic Arts, and Marvel Comics are just a few of the vendors debuting iPad apps in time for Saturday's launch of the tablet.

The iPad will let you watch streaming movies from Netflix, play games from Electronic Arts, and read the latest adventures of Spider-Man, thanks to new apps announced Friday.

Netflix is offering subscribers a free app that lets them instantly watch an unlimited number of TV shows and movies streamed to the tablet. iPad streaming will be free on all Netflix plans costing $8.99 or more per month. Netflix subscribers can also stream TV episodes and films by selecting them from a broad list of genres via the iPad's touch screen or by adding them to a queue for future viewing, said the company.

Electronic Arts is launching several games for iPad buyers. Scrabble ($9.99), Tetris ($7.99), Need for Speed Shift ($14.99), Mirror's Edge ($12.99), and Command & Conquer Red Alert ($12.99) will debut in larger, higher-resolution versions designed to take advantage of the tablet's screen. Certain games will deliver additional benefits by tapping into the iPad's interface, noted EA.

The Scrabble app lets up to four people--each with an iPhone or iPod Touch for their tiles--to play together over a Wi-Fi network, using an iPad as the virtual game board. Need for Speed Shift adds a visual accelerator and brakes, controls for manual shifting, and a rear-view mirror to check out who's on your tail. In Command & Conquer, players can use a three-finger multitouch approach to move their armies around the screen and zoom in and out of the battlefield.

What's an iPad without superheroes? Marvel Comics

Fans of Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk will be able to view more than 500 comic books on the iPad's high-resolution screen, via an iPad app from Marvel. Each comic has been optimized for the iPad by redigitizing and recoloring each print issue for the tablet's larger, brighter format, said Marvel. Using the device's touch screen, readers can virtually flip from one page to another by swiping their fingers and can zoom in or out of each page and panel.

Marvel's iPad app is free, but each individual comic will cost $1.99. Readers can view the first three pages of a comic for free before deciding whether to buy it. And for the launch, Marvel is offering a few titles for free for a limited time, including New Avengers No. 1, Captain America No. 1, Invincible Iron Man No. 1, Thor No. 1, and, for the younger readers, Super Hero Squad No. 1.

The app can offer all fans recommendations of new comic books based on their past reading habits. And for people who miss the feel of a good, old-fashioned print comic book, the Marvel app even features a comic shop locator to track down their friendly neighborhood comic book dealers.

These are a few of the apps debuting in time for Saturday's iPad debut. Other new iPad apps launching include:

  • Citrix Systems' GoToMeeting (free)
  • The Weather Channel (free)
  • Yahoo (free)
  • Zillow Real Estate Search (free)
  • Dragon Dictate (free for a limited time)
  • Autodesk SketchBook Pro ($7.99)
  • Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences ($19.99)

Updated 11:00 a.m. PDT with further details on Marvel app and list of other companies announcing iPad apps.

 

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