You've seen the commercials; Apps are what makes an iPad come to life. Here are the very best ones for work, play, creation, consumption and everything in between.
Twitter: The official Twitter app for iPad packs in the features, giving you a full Tweet-and-browse experience. It can be a little bit overwhelming at first, but powerful things often are. Free.
Flipboard: A true testament to the iPad's transformative powers, Flipboard scrapes your Twitter and Facebook feeds for links and arranges them in a simple, beautiful magazine-style format. Free.
BeeJive IM for iPad: If you're looking for one place to corral all your chats, BeeJive is it. It's the best, best-looking IM client for the iPad, connecting to AIM, GTalk, Facebook chat and a handful of others. $10.
Korg iMS-20: A faithful reproduction of Korg's MS-20 analog synth, this is the app that will make your music-playing friend get the iPad. It's proof of just how powerful the tablet can be as a music production machine. $16.
Sketchbook Pro: The challenge with drawing apps is packing the most features in the most accessible way possible. Sketchbook Pro walks that line, offering up enough stuff to keep real deal artists busy while making it easy enough for schlubs like me to enjoy. $8.
Remote: With AirPlay, Apple's signalled its intentions to not just sell you music and movies but to let you move them around your house, too. The official Apple Remote is a key piece of the puzzle, serving as a rich controller for iTunes or AppleTV. Free.
TED for iPad: TED talks are some of the best content the internet has to offer, bar none. The iPad, safe from the constant, pinging distractions of the internet, is the perfect place to watch them. Free.
Kindle: Even if you don't have an actual Kindle, Amazon's still the king of ebooks. Their iPad app lets you buy books from the vast Kindle library, and you can rest easy knowing that they're on a platform that's almost guaranteed to have some staying power. Free.
StreamToMe: The iPad doesn't play nice with many file formats natively. Along with a server app you install on your main machine, StreamToMe will re-encode pretty much any video you throw at it on the fly and beam it to your iPad. Magnificent. $3.
Netflix: I've gotta say, when you're curled up in bed streaming some old TV show to your tablet, the future starts looking like a pretty alright place. With great new Instant Watch offerings popping up all the time, a Netflix subscription is essentially mandatory. Free.
Google Earth: You haven't experienced Google Earth until you've experienced it on the iPad. Seamless swishing, flicking, pinching, and zooming. Free.
World of Goo: The smash Wii Ware hit somehow makes even more sense on the iPad, like this is how it was meant to be played all along. Pure gooey physics fun. $5.
Osmos HD: One of, if not the most, immersive, unique iPad games in the App Store, Osmos makes cellular life captivatingly beautiful. $5.
Dead Space: A new, tablet-optimized extension of the popular console shooter series, Dead Space shows just how robust an iPad game can be. From the visual details to the spooky sound design, it's got the full package. $10.
Infinity Blade: How good can an iPad game really look? Uh, check out Infinity Blade to find out. Spoiler: really f-ing good. $6.
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: The iPad's big touchscreen breathes new life into the LucasArts classic, and its smart UI stays out of the way while you enjoy the puzzles, humor, and animations you remember from way back when. $5.
Flight Control HD: It was one of the best games when the iPad came out and it still is—directing air traffic can quickly turn from meditation to mayhem. Both modes are fun. $5.
The Incident: 8-bit pixel revival at its finest, the Incident is at once retro and fresh, apocalyptic and hilarious. $2.
Instapaper: Reading, it turns out, is just about the best thing you can do on this crazy futuristic tech-slab of yours. Instapaper strips all the web junk from the articles you come across and leaves you with the sweet, pure text. $5.
Reeder: Thanks to RSS feeds, you will never, ever run out of cool stuff to read. Reeder is the cleverest, prettiest way to sift through it all. $5.
Elements: An attractively sparse text editor for the iPad with a handful of features—like autosaving to the cloud via Dropbox—that set it apart. If you're used to cumbersome, feature-soaked text editors like Word, Elements is a breath of fresh air. $5.
SimpleNote: SimpleNote is the longstanding holder of the minimalist note taking crown: It lets you take notes and keep them in sync across your iPad, iPhone, and the web reliably and simply with zero distractions. Free.
Dropbox: Wanna see what this "cloud" fuss is all about. Start dumping your files in Dropbox on your PC or Mac and watch them magically appear in the iPad app. It's quick, it's clean, it works, and it's free.
Screens: VNC can get confusing, but Screens makes it dead simple. Turn internet sharing on on your Mac (or PC, or Linux machine) and Screens will let you control it. You can even use all your favorite multitouch gestures. $20.
Pulse: So you like the idea of RSS—news coming to you, instead of you going to it—but don't want to deal with adding feeds and endless lists of headlines. Pulse makes the whole thing visual, giving you swipeable columns and rows of stories and sources. Free.
NightStandHD: If you happen to dock your iPad next to your bed, you might be thinking, "Hey, this thing could probably make for a pretty beautiful clock." You're right! NightStandHD has a handful of beautiful clocks both analog (looking) and digital. $2.
Epicurious: You like food, right? Epicurious has got tons of recipes presented in a nice, photo-friendly format. Show this to your Mom to justify your iPad purchase. Free.
Wired: No one's really made the slam dunk tablet magazine yet, but if you want to get a sense of how the magazine of the future mightlook, Wired's leading the pack. $4.
Gravilux: Most people looked at the iPad and saw a device for creation or consumption. Scott Snibbe saw it as the perfect platform for interactive art. Gravilux, a whirling, touch-baed gravity simulation, is addictively purposeless. $2.
New York Times for iPad: After a somewhat clunky start in the app world, NYT has pulled it together and put together a clean, content-packed tablet edition of their paper. You'll have to start paying for it soon, but for now it's free.
Yelp: The preeminent food-finding service goes great on the tablet. Just make sure to wash your hands before you pick it back up. Free.