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Found an iPad lurking beneath the tree? Perhaps this collection of our favourite apps will help you get started.

Whether it's taking notes or sharing data, these apps will make your life easier

Atomic Web Browser (AU$1.19): Web browser with tabs, multi-touch, bookmarking, video out and a whole lot more.

Flipboard (FREE): Get all your feeds and social networking in one smoothly integrated and easy-to-read place.

Pages (AU$12.99): Apple's word processing app redesigned especially for the iPad.

Instapaper (AU$5.99): Save web pages for reading later offline.

Dropbox (FREE): Sync and share your files quickly and easily across computers or online.

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Productivity (part 2)

1Password (AU$12.99): Store your important information in one secure location and log into websites with a single tap.

GoodReader (AU$3.99): Read, mark up, highlight and sticky note large text and PDF files using a range of tools or freehand drawing.

PDF Reader — iPad Edition (AU$1.19): File viewer for PDFs and Office files, and audio, video and images.

Evernote (FREE): Like a PDA, Evernote helps you create text, image and audio notes wherever you go.

iTeleport for iPad (AU$23.99): Remotely access your home computer desktop via VNC from anywhere in the world.

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Like the smartphone, the iPad has rapidly become an innovative and powerful gaming console in its own right.

Angry Birds HD (AU$5.99): Rovio's amazingly fun bird-catapult physics game.

Battle for Wesnoth HD (AU$5.99): One of the best fantasy strategy games the iPad has seen so far.

Civilization Revolution (AU$15.99): Sid Meier's Civlization Revolution, on the iPad.

Scrabble (AU$1.19): Use your iPad as a Scrabble board, and sync with your iPhones for a personal tile rack.

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Games (part 2)

Age of Zombies (AU$1.19): Fun and frenzied action-comedy zombie dinosaur adventure. Now that's a sentence full of awesome.

Real Racing HD (AU$12.99): iPad racing as good as it gets.

Fruit Ninja HD (AU$1.19): Halfbrick Studios' strangely addicting ninja fruit-slicing app, EMBIGGENED.

Infinity Blade (AU$7.99): An absolutely stunning and intuitive sword-and-sorcery game.

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Whatever your flavour of reading, one of these apps will get you the book fix you need.

Comics (FREE): Download and read comics from Marvel, DC, Image, Red5, Slave Labor and many more.

Kindle (FREE): Access and buy books from the Amazon store, to read on your iPad.

iBooks (FREE): Apple's bookstore and e-reader doesn't have a huge lot of stock yet, but it's adding more all the time.

Stanza (FREE): Read books, comics and documents transferred from your PC.

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News and TV

Get the latest delivered direct to your iPad.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (FREE): Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from the ABC.

Newsrack (AU$5.99): A full-featured RSS reader with a clean and user-friendly interface.

Sources — Australian News (AU$2.49): Get all your Aussie news in one place with this easy-to-use aggregator.

The Guardian Eyewitness (FREE): The news of the world in gorgeous photos.

ABC iView (FREE): ABC iView catch-up TV service in high definition — watch all your favourite programs free.

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The iPad can be a pretty powerful learning tool — and the best apps are as fun as they are educational.

Starmap HD (AU$22.99): Follow the movements of the night sky with this gorgeous and comprehensive astronomy companion.

The Elements (AU$16.99): You ain't seen the periodic table until you've seen this beautifully animated interactive version.

Wikpanion (FREE): Take Wikipedia everywhere you go, properly formatted for the iPad's screen.

WolframAlpha (AU$1.19): Got a question? WolframAlpha has the answer!

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Learning (part 2)

GoSkyWatch Planetarium (FREE): If you don't want to lay down cash for your sky-watching activities, GoSkyWatch is a fun and serviceable basic astronomy app.

TED (FREE): TED presents talks from some of the world's most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus and music legends.

Ultimate Dinopedia (AU$7.99): Interactive dinosaur encyclopedia by the National Geographic.

PCalc RPN Calculator (AU$12.99): A comprehensive scientific calculator that looks slick and is loaded with features.

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Art and photography

The iPad's sharp display and responsive touchscreen make it a wonderfully tactile interface for visual artists.

Brushes (AU$9.99): Colourful and intuitive painting app capable of some surprisingly beautiful and detailed works.

Adobe Ideas (FREE): Adobe's digital sketchbook for the iPad using vector tools.

Sketchbook Pro (AU$3.99): Professional level painting and drawing app including layers, blending and multitouch.

FlickStackr (AU$2.49): Browse Flickr photos, upload your own and edit metadata in one sleek app.

Photo fx Ultra (AU$5.99): Upload and edit your own photos with a range of nifty effects.

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Food, travel, weather, shopping, mates.

Kayak HD (FREE): Find flights and hotels quickly and easily.

Epicurious (FREE): Access Epicurious' entire recipe database and create shopping lists based on what you want to cook.

OZ Weather HD (AU$2.49): Weather all over Australia sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology presented in a gorgeous and easy-to-read interface.

eBay for iPad (FREE): eBay shopping, streamlined and optimised for the iPad experience.

TweetDeck for iPad (FREE): Do all your twittering from one customisable location.

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From radio to drumkit, your iPad can be almost anything ...

Beatwave (FREE): Create your own synth music using preloaded samples or samples of your own via a colourful kaleidoscope interface.

Pianist Pro (AU$12.99): More a synth than a piano, but almost as good as the real thing either way.

Drums! (AU$1.19): Get drummin' with a choice of four different kit layouts, three different kit sounds and an excellent interface.

Soundhound (AU$5.99): Search for and find those unidentified earworms by singing or humming.

TuneIn Radio (AU$1.19): Listen to and record over 40,000 radio stations in Australia.

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