I ordered an iPad. What apps should I install first?

I admit it: I'm late to the iPad party. So once I've unboxed my new gizmo, what are the essential, must-have, seriously killer apps I should load up straight away?

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
No doubt the Marvel Comics apps is an iPad showpiece. But what else? Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

What are the must-have apps for a new iPad owner?

You see, it finally happened: I'm the proud owner of Apple's much-ballyhooed tablet. No, I didn't win a contest or rip one out of some poor guy's hand. I actually plunked down some cold, hard cash.

As readers of my Cheapskate blog know, that's something I'm loathe to do. But for me it was a legitimate business expense, and dang if my curiosity didn't get the better of me. Would the iPad live up to the hype? Would I find new and unexpected uses for it?

I'm about a week away from finding out. My local Apple Store was out of stock, so I had to order it online.

When it finally arrives, I'll no doubt go spelunking in iTunes for interesting apps. And needless to say, there are several I'm already keen to check out. The new Marvel Comics app, for example, is a favorite on my iPhone, and I imagine it must be ever more spectacular on the iPad's spacious screen.

But, let's face it, I'm an iPad newbie. I have no idea which apps will rock my world, make me the envy of the neighbors, and convince the missus I was right to buy now instead of waiting for the inevitable price drop. (Mark my words: Apple will cut iPad prices before 2010 is out.)

So it's over to you, faithful readers. You already have weeks' worth of screen testing under your belts, so you tell me (and other folks late to the iPad party): what are the must-have apps for a new iPad owner? Hit the comments and list your picks. (While I'm waiting, I'll sift through CNET's recent roundup of the 20 best free iPad apps.)

Oh, and if you have any case recommendations, I'd love to hear those, too.