The wildly anticipated Apple iPad hits store shelves Saturday. A day ahead of the launch, publishers, game companies, and others unleashed a torrent of announcements touting their apps for the iPad. Here's a quick look at what's coming.
Famed for its home delivery of movies on DVD, Netflix has added streaming video to its repertoire. Its iPad app here shows a movie being streamed on the Apple tablet. The app is free, said Netflix, adding: "Streaming to iPad is at no additional cost to Netflix members on plans starting at just $8.99 a month."
Will the iPad reinvigorate the publishing business? That's certainly a fervent hope among many magazines and newspapers. This is the app for The New York Times. "The app is free and advertising supported," the venerable newspaper company said. "The Times is also planning a full, paid app for iPad as part of its overall paid strategy."
Some people have described the iPad as little more than an overgrown iPod Touch. Whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing, certainly you'll see a lot more on the larger screen.
Game publisher Electronic Arts on Friday announced the availability of five games for the iPad: Scrabble (under license from Hasbro in the U.S. and Canada only), Tetris, Need for Speed: Shift, Mirror's Edge, and Command & Conquer: Red Alert. This is the Scrabble app.
And here is EA's iPad version of Need for Speed: Shift. EA's five apps announced Friday are available immediately. EA added that "any previously purchased iPhone or iPod Touch game can run on iPad in its original size or can be expanded to fill the iPad screen. All games will be available in Europe with the worldwide launch of iPad later this month."
Yahoo Entertainment for iPad is a free app. "Devices like the iPad allow Yahoo to create new experiences and expand the art of what's possible in the eyes of consumers," Tapan Bhat, senior vice president of Yahoo's Integrated Consumer Experiences business, said in a statement.
For the younger set, there's the Super Why app from PBS Kids. "The PBS Kids characters that children love will help them explore the wonderful world of reading on the iPad," Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president for children's media at PBS, said in a statement. The app is available for $2.99.
The Marvel Comics App for iPad launches with more than 500 comic books featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, and other superheroes. That app is free, and individual comics are priced at $1.99 each, with new content set for release every week.
Nuance Communications is now offering Dragon Dictation for iPad, which uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking technology to speak users' e-mail messages. The app also includes a new dictation feature that lets users speak and save drafts of documents, e-mails, to-do lists, social media status updates, and more, the company said. The Dragon Dictation App for iPad is available for free for a limited time.
Networking giant Cisco Systems announced an iPad version of its WebEx Meeting Center business application. Said Cisco: "Once downloaded, participants easily engage in meetings by tapping the meeting URL found in the e-mail or calendar invitation. This application provides users another way to benefit from today's widespread global Wi-Fi access."
FileMaker announced the availability of its Bento for iPad offering, based on Bento for iPhone, the company said, "with enhancements to make the most of the big, beautiful iPad screen." The app lets users manage contacts, track projects, plan events, and so on. Its price: $4.99.
For piano players, or wannabes, there's the Music Piano app from Smule. "Impress your friends with how quickly you've mastered 'Flight of the Bumblebee' and 'Fur Elise'," enthuses the press release about the "whimsical" app. "You get to determine what your keyboard looks like--if a standard piano has too many keys, you can reduce the number to what works for you. And why does the keyboard have to be a straight line, when a circle is much more fun?"
All that whimsy will cost you $2.99--a limited sale price that, the company says, expires on Mozart's birthday.