Category: iPad

The 10 Most Epic iPad Games for 2013 (With Video Examples of Gameplay)

Casual games are a dime a dozen in the App Store, but what about huge epic games with gorgeous graphics and dozens of hours of gameplay? With actual hardware game controllers coming to the iPhone/iPad in iOS 7, you know epic games are going to be in more demand soon. Well, here are the 10 Most Epic Games for the iPad that will soon have you reaching for those game controllers.

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Be sure to check out more of our App Lists for more great app ideas.

10 Best iPad Cooking Apps (for Recipes and Instructions)

One of the best uses for an iPad is for cooking— prop it up anywhere in the kitchen and follow along to the infinite amount of recipes and videos you can find on the Internet. Below are my handpicked 10 Best iPad Apps for Cooking.

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Be sure to check out more of our Art of the iPhone tips.

8 iPad Apps That Stream Free Full Episodes of TV Shows (Part 2)


Below is a list of 8 apps that deliver free, full episodes from TV networks in the US (make sure to check out Part 1 here). Most of the apps below deliver only a few episodes of a handful of shows from a specific network—thus, the apps aren’t replacements for watching your favorite shows on cable TV or over-the-air television. But they may be good for discovering new shows or watching the latest of your favorites. And hey, they’re free, so no complaining.

1. CBS

CBS iPad app screenshot

The CBS app (free) is one of the best iPad TV apps because it offers a lot of free content from some of its best shows; in fact, there is a least one episode for just about all of their shows. And yes, there are full episodes, with commercials interspersed throughout. Shows currently streaming as of this writing are:

  • The Amazing Race
  • Survivor
  • NCIS
  • Elementary
  • David Letterman
  • The Good Wife
  • Rules of Engagement
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • And more…

2. History Channel

History Channel app

The History Channel (free) is another app with a ton of content inside. The History Channel may not feature much actual history anymore, but its shows are still pretty entertaining. As of this writing, there are 59 episodes of Axe Man available in the app (wow!). Other shows don’t feature quite so many, but most offer 4-6 episodes for streaming inside the app. Other shows with full episodes currently available in the app are:

  • Vikings
  • Pawn Stars
  • American Restoration
  • Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy
  • Counting Cars
  • Swamp People
  • American Pickers

3. A&E

A and E iPad App

A&E (free) also offers several shows with free full episodes. Storage Wars, for example, features 12 full episodes for your viewing pleasure (as of this writing—it could change week to week). Other shows with full episodes available inside the app are:

  • Bates Hotel
  • American Hogger
  • Duck Dynasty
  • Hoarders
  • Intervention

4. LifeTime

LifeTime iPad App

LifeTime (free) has a good amount of free episodes available, but it varies from show to show. For example, Client List only features the latest episode, but The New Adventures of Old Christine has 5 full episodes available for streaming. There are also a few Lifetime made-for-TV movies available to watch in the app. Shows offering free full episodes are:

  • Preacher’s Daughters
  • Project Runners
  • Dance Moms
  • How I Met Your Mother

5. Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel HD app

Discovery Channel HD (free) offers only a few free episodes in the app. There are tons of video clips from shows, but few episodes. In fact, there are currently only 5 free episodes total from the following three shows:

  • Pot Cops
  • Bering Sea Gold
  • Weed Country

6. TLC

TLC iPad app

TLC (free) has tons of clips from popular shows like Honey Boo Boo, but sadly there is currently only 1 free full episode in the app, and it’s from the show Welcome to Myrtle Manor. Of course, many of these apps add and remove content periodically, so perhaps this is just a dry spell, but as of this writing, there’s very little full-episode content in the TLC app.

7. Animal Planet

Animal Planet for iPad

Animal Planet (free) currently offers full episodes from 3 different shows. My Cat From Hell even has 6 episodes available to watch. All available shows (as of this writing) are shown below.

  • My Cat From Hell
  • North Woods Law
  • Gator Boys

8. Adult Swim

Adult Swim

Adult Swim (free) offers a mix of free full episodes and “gold” content which is only available by signing in via your cable provider. The good news is that there is a ton of free episodes available for streaming in the app. Shows currently available for streaming in the app are:

  • The Venture Bros
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force
  • Metalocalypse
  • The Boondocks

Apple Builds Support for Audiobus, a Third-Party App, Into Garageband (Audiobus Now 50% Off in Celebration)

Audiobus icon

Independent developers A Tasty Pixel have just received the rarest of honors from Apple today. Apple has built in support for their app Audiobus ($9.99, on sale for $4.99) into the latest version of Garageband for iOS ($4.99), essentially making Audiobus the standard for piping sound from one music app into another.


Audiobus is a middleman app for music-making on the iPhone and iPad. It essentially functions as a pipeline for moving sound created in, say, a synthesizer app like Animoog into another like Garageband so you can record it, or manipulate it with more filters, etc. It also makes it easier to switch between music apps with just a tap, and to start/stop recording in app while playing in instrument in another.

To non-musicians, it may sound a bit benign, but it solves a lot of issues on iOS for making and recording music. Without a doubt, Audiobus is currently the most powerful music-creation app for iOS out there, even more so now that Apple seems to recognize it as a protocol—highly unusual because Apple usually likes to control these things. Developers have to build support into their apps for Audiobus (the long list can be found in the official app description in iTunes here), so it’s a little funny to see Apple join the crowd. Apple must be Audiobus fanboys, too.

Audiobus announced via Twitter (see the tweet below) that the app is currently half off ($4.99) in celebration of Apple’s move.

We recently chose Audiobus as one of our Most Essential iPad Music-Creation Apps, which you can view as a slideshow here (Part 1, Part 2) with example videos.

10 More Essential iPad Apps for Music Creation (With Video Examples)

Make sure to check out Part 1 here. Musicians are quickly discovering that iPad apps are some of the best values in music creation tools today. Where it can costs hundreds of dollars for a real-life hardware synthesizer, the iPad’s multitouch screen can recreate all the knobs, switches, and other features without the cost of manufacturing, leading to ultra-cheap apps that deliver nearly identical sound—hook up a MIDI keyboard and you get the same playing experience as well. The iPad is a pretty amazing revolution in music creation and recording tools. Check out my list of 10 More Essential iPad Music-Creation apps below to get an idea of some of the best apps available.

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Tip: How To Add Your Favorite MLB Team’s 2013 Schedule to Your iPhone’s Calendar

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad and want to easily add your favorite Major League Baseball team’s schedule to your calendar, just tap your team’s name in the list below, then tap Subscribe from the pop-up box. These are the official schedules from MLB’s website. Please note that you can easily hide all 162 games from view, as all those games can clog up your calendar (see instructions at end of post).

Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cinncinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland Athletics
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

How to Hide the Games in Your Calendar

To hide the games from your calendar, go to the Calendar app, tap the Calendars button in the top left, then tap the checkmark next to the team-schedule calendar to uncheck the calendar and remove it from view. You can delete the calendar by going into the Settings app > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Subscribed Calendars, tap the calendar and then tap Delete Account.

Siri Tip: Say “Google” First for the Quickest Way to Launch a Web Search on the iPhone & iPad

Siri icon

For the fastest way to search for something on the web, simply speak the word Google first to Siri, followed by whatever you want to search for. This method is, by far, the fastest way to do a web search in iOS. And, it can improve your overall experience with Siri.

Here’s an example: if you ask Siri, “Ten best Hawaii beaches,” Siri will bizarrely respond with a weather forecast. Begin that same question with Google and the browser will quickly and automatically launch and point to several great articles listing the ten best beaches in Hawaii. By starting off with Google, I avoid having to repeat myself or navigating to the browser app.

Another reason to say “Google” first is that Google is also great at correcting mistranslated words or phrases and figuring out what you’re really looking for. Compare this to Siri, which often takes correctly translated words and delivers incorrect info. Don’t get me wrong, Siri is great for creating reminders, text messages, alarms, & timers, and a handful of other things, but Siri is not so great at answering most questions.

Also note you can say Bing or Yahoo to automatically launch searches in those engines as well.

10 Essential iPad Music-Creation Apps (With Video Examples)

Also check out Part 2 here with 10 more apps. Musicians are quickly discovering that iPad apps that help create music are an incredible value in the world of professional music making. Never before has it been so cheap to own professional-quality software tools, and it’s all thanks to the miracle device known as the iPad. Below are my picks for the 10 Best and most useful apps for creating music on the iPad, with video examples.

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iPhone & iPad Tip: Why You Shouldn’t Change Siri’s Speaking Voice in the Settings

Siri icon

One fun thing you can do with Siri’s voice is change her accent and even gender in the settings. You can do this by going into Settings –> General –> Siri –> Language, and choose from over a dozen new accents, even giving her a male British voice. It’s fun, but here’s the thing, you should always change Siri back to your native language…“native” meaning, if you’re American, set it to English (United States), not English (United Kingdom).

Why? Because Siri’s ability to understand you will diminish greatly if she’s set to anything but your native language. Siri is designed to understand a specific accent that is designated in your iPhone’s settings. So if she’s expecting to hear a British accent but you’re a speaking with an American accent, she will be confused and translate your words into crazy things. While it’s funny, it’s not very useful.

The 5 Best iPad Pinball Apps

Zen Pinball for iOS icon

Pinball is one of the best genre of games to play on the iPad. The style fits perfectly on the iPad’s touchscreen—there are no complicated controls, just tap on either side of the screen to use the flippers. The shape of pinball tables in general (long rectangles) matches well with the iPad and iPhone’s long screens. I love playing pinball on my iPad, and below are my picks for the 5 Best Pinball Apps for the iPad.

1. Zen Pinball

Avengers Table in Zen Pinball

Epic Quest table in Zen Pinball

1. Zen Pinball (free + in-app purchases) is by far the best pinball iPad app in the App Store. It has the best tables, with the best designs, best gameplay, and best graphics. There are currently 14 tables available in the app, and it comes with 1 free table (called Sorcerer’s Lair, which is just an average table, so don’t judge the app on the free table). The in-app-purchase tables are just awesome, including what I think is the best overall on iOS, called Epic Quest, ($1.99 in-app purchase). Epic Quest is a fun (and funny) table that has really deep gameplay that guarantees dozens and dozens of hours of play. It’s classic pinball, but with RPG elements where you take on monsters, hit ramps to do damage and/or defend, and collect EQ over multiple games. The table is just amazingly designed, with funny sound effects and voice acting (but a bit complicated, table guides are in our forums here).

But the hits don’t stop there. There are several other amazing tables available as in-app purchases. For example, the tables based on Marvel Comics are incredible. My favorite is the Avengers table, but the World War Hulk and Captain America tables are awesome as well. The Tesla table is really unique. In fact, just about all the tables available in Zen Pinball are a cut above what’s available elsewhere. That’s because the pinball design studio behind the app, Zen Studios, is the best out there right now for creating digital pinball games. Their Zen Pinball tables are bestsellers on other consoles and mobile devices as well, including Xbox Live Arcade. The company keeps things grounded in classic pinball but adds just the right amount of computer/digital pinache (for example, animations like Thor throwing hammers across the table and Iron Man flying around, which couldn’t happen on a real pinball table). If you want the best-designed tables and the best pinball app, it’s Zen Pinball.

The only bad thing I can say about this app is that the tables are so detailed and intricate, you’ll need to play them on a Retina iPad first to get the best experience. But once you learn the ins and outs of the table, they’ll play on the iPhone just fine.

2. Pinball Arcade

Medieval Madness in Pinball Arcade

Theater of Magic Pinball

2. Pinball Arcade ($0.99 + in-app purchases) faithfully recreates the best real-life pinball tables of all time. This is a game for true pinball lovers looking to relive their best pinball experiences from the arcade days. Pinball Arcade is created and maintained by pinball enthusiasts, so no detail is too small. One table in the app, Medieval Madness ($2.99), is, according to pinball-enthusiast website Pinsinde, the #1 ranked pinball table of all time as voted by the site’s readers. To understand what’s so great about Medieval Madness, check out this video of the real-life table.

Pinball Arcade has 19 total tables currently available with more coming every month, the developers even use Kickstarter to finance their porting of the greatest real-life tables to digital form. Again, the developers are more like pinball historians. For the initial $0.99 price, you get 1 table, Arabian Nights.

If there is a complaint for this near-perfect app, it’s that not every “best ever” classic pinball table translates into a “best ever” iPad pinball table. Some special effects that dazzle on a real table fall a bit flat on the iPad. But deep, challenging, strategic gameplay knows no boundaries, and every table in this app has it.

3. Pinball HD Collection

AC DC pinball

Arcade Pinball Table

3. Pinball HD Collection (free) comes with 1 free table, Wild West, with 10 other tables available for in-app purchase. The developer, Gameprom, created one of the first pinball games for the iPhone, so they’ve had time to perfect the art of pinball on iOS. Their experience shows in the pinball physics and how great the tables look on the iPad/iPhone’s screen. Some of my favorite tables are the Navy Seals, Slayer, AC/DC, and Arcade tables. Snow Pinball, a winter-themed table, is fun to play during Christmas time. My only complaint is that the tables lack some of the depth and challenge of our top two picks—the tables dont’t feel quite as epic. The developers also confuse their customers by offering several different apps, some are standalone single-table apps, others offer multiple tables already included in this one. But what really matters is the pinball, and there is some good pinball inside this app.

4. Pinball Crystal Caliburn II

Crystal Caliburn II iPad pinball

4. Pinball Crystal Caliburn II ($3.99) is a single-table app that was a classic pinball game for the Mac. The best thing about the table is that it feels like real pinball. Add to that deep strategic gameplay where you’ll love to reach the table’s various goals, like activating Merlin’s spells, achieving accolades for your knights, and ultimately possessing the Holy Grail. The graphics are beautiful and Retina-sharp, and the table has nice lighting effects and subtle details like reflections. This is one of those tables where you can spend dozens and dozens of hours unraveling the various goals and achievements of the table and enjoy every second of it.

5. Real Pinball HD – Vampire

Real Pinball HD Vampire

5. Real Pinball HD – Vampire ($1.99) is a single-table app with a great pinball physics engine. It’s another app that nails the feel of a real pinball table. I also love how the pinball has a graphic on it so that the actual spin of the ball is visible as it moves around the table–a detail I wish other pinball apps would copy. Vampire has a goth/vampire theme and features some deep and challenging gameplay. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect—the frame rate feels a bit stuttery, and the sound effects aren’t that great. But overall, the table is a joy to play with a sweet realistic feel.

Honorable Mentions

Our number 1 & 2 picks in the list above are clear winners, and after that, the competition gets really close. Here are a few more noteworthy pinball apps that I enjoyed playing.

Pinball Maniacs: Cartoon Pinball Adventure (free) is a pinball with freemium gameplay, meaning its free to play, but includes in-app purchases to help you progress. Like its name implies, the pinball has a whimsical cartoony feel, this is not the game for realistic pinball, even though the game mechanics are based on classic pinball. Here you collect coins, destroy moving monsters by hitting them with your ball, and achieve various goals to progress the game and switch up the table environment. Overall, it’s fun because there is a feeling of progression that most pinball lacks.

Art of Pinball – Table Pack ($2.99) features old-school pinball that you might have found at a truck stop in the ’50s. The tables may be simple by today’s standards, but the action is fast and fun. And the tables won’t take you days to unravel like some other tables in our list. The Table Pack version comes with 6 pinball tables, but the individual tables are available as seperate apps in the App Store.

Monster Pinball HD ($1.99) is a strange (strange in a good way) twist on pinball with deep gameplay and a monster/alien theme. There are over 500 goals to achieve in the game, so you’ll get your money’s worth out of this one. And although it’s a single game (without in-app purchases), there are actually multiple tables you’ll visit as your pinball hits different spots in the game. There are also beautiful Retina graphics and bizarre sound effects that keeps things interesting. My only complaint is that the table lacks a narrative (a clear story) to follow, or at least, it’s not easily unraveled from early gameplay.