March 20, 2012 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for beautiful, unique, high-quality iPad apps (and/or references to sites that share lists of such apps).

I recently picked up an iPad 2 on deep discount following the iPad 3's announcement. Throughout the years that I'd avoided owning an iPad, it seems as if there were countless examples of gorgeous iPad-optimized apps throughout the web. Naturally, I ignored them as I didn't own an iPad, but now I'd like to find some of those again.

This isn't just a general "wut apps do u liek!?" question. I know about most of the regulars recommendations - Dropbox, Flipboard, Instapaper, etc. I'm looking for great examples of intelligent, polished, beautiful apps.

Perhaps it's the most gorgeous calendar replacement. Or some music app that may not offer much in the way of new features, but is a sheer pleasure to use.

Great typography and rich user interface design are important factors. Intelligent, logical design would be as well. Extra points for creative, unusual approaches to app design. It could be either minimalist or packed full of features. Basically, what apps are the best of their breed, and heighten the iPad experience?

Specific app recommendations are great, as are links to any websites or blogs that regularly share or review top-tier apps like this.
posted by sprocket87 to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The apps made by Bloom are pretty much designed with beauty in mind first.
posted by vacapinta at 7:20 AM on March 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I always show people the New York Public Library Biblion. It's an archive of photos and information about the 1939-40 World's Fair in Flushing, NY, at it really exemplifies how the beautifully the iPad can display information. As you look through the photos, changing the orientation of the iPad shows additional content. It's just a beautiful way of reframing "old" content.
posted by kimdog at 7:25 AM on March 20, 2012

Best answer: In terms of minimalism, you just can't beat TeuxDeux. It's just a To Do list and because it's not filled with a jillion bells and whistles, and it's beautiful, I adore it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:25 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: > Or some music app that may not offer much in the way of new features, but is a sheer pleasure to use.

Thumbjam. Though in this case, it does offer a lot of features in addition to being a pleasure to use.
posted by alikins at 8:00 AM on March 20, 2012

Best answer: Emerald Observatory is a beautiful clock/astronomy application that I frequently use when my iPad is in the stand.
posted by jquinby at 8:02 AM on March 20, 2012

Perhaps this recent question will have some suggestions.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:07 AM on March 20, 2012

Best answer: Beautiful Pixels often features iPad apps.

Some apps that I think fit your requirements:

The app - artCircles
Carcassonne (boardgame)

Path is for the iPhone, but works pretty well on iPad
posted by backwards guitar at 9:33 AM on March 20, 2012

Best answer: It might not be beautiful but it very usefull .You might already know about it but zite rocks for the ipad. I use it everyday. its a personalizeable magazine.

I especially love the wine and food parts.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:41 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Night Sky
posted by LonnieK at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2012

Best answer: The Chimerist is a blog covering unusual and beautiful iPad apps.

I've enjoyed Beautiful Tarot, History of Jazz, Everything Is Its Own Reward, Meanwhile. On the useful end, Paprika.
posted by Erasmouse at 10:57 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the awesome responses so far! Looking forward to more.

Another blog/repo of such apps I came across: Landing Pad

Keep 'em coming :)
posted by sprocket87 at 11:21 AM on March 20, 2012

My last answer for app recommendations was made primarily with visuals in mind: Aweditorium, Fractile Plus, Google Earth, and World of Goo HD. Also, note that the Google Earth app recently updated to allow viewing of Earth Gallery content, making it much more useful on top of being beautiful to look at.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2012

You didn't really mention if you were looking for games or not, but if you should be so inclined:

Fractal is an interesting puzzle game with great polish.
SpellTower is a delightfully minimalist twist on a word search.

And I using the Nlug particle clock when my iPad is sitting on the shelf for stylish timekeeping.
posted by erstwhile at 9:46 PM on March 20, 2012

Bjork's Biophilia app features different beautiful and surprising ways to interact with each song.
posted by carrienation at 5:39 PM on March 21, 2012

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