iPad for newbies: your first free Apps

Pocket reference cover

My wife suggested i send a list of useful free Apps to her sister that would encourage a novice to use the iPad. Everyone already has Flipboard and I urge them to start with that. Here are some others:

One free app I'd recommend is qwiki. You look up a topic, or accept its random choice. The app then assembles all the photos it can find and gives you a slideshow with audio commentary drawn from the relevant wikipedia article. The speech-to-text is almost perfect.

Wikiwiki, free version with discreet ads, offers a nicely formatted version of wikipedia articles.The settings button has a slide bar to adjust the size of the text font. Handy.

Simplepedia might be even more useful. You can adjust the font size here, too -- and download articles for reading offline.

Just for seeing what truth is out there on the Internet, I'd try Pocket Reference. It offers a celebrity site of the day, a cool dog site of the day, almanachs and reference works and lots more.

Cool dog site

You might also try Epicurious, 5 million downloads with the ability to make up your shopping list. Your helper might use it more but you she can see the great menus it offers.

A more practical app for them might be iFixit, which collects videos on all kinds of problems from cameras to computers. My brother-in-law might already know how to do a lot himself (perhaps he should be making videos for klutzes like me!) but he might find something there interesting. Of course the problem you want to fix is never featured on such sites.

I presume that our newbie will want to get Google News and explore other Google products, such as News, photos and translate. She can even get Google Mail as she is used to seeing it, though I prefer the iPad app, since I have other separate accounts.

You don't have to download new apps if you know some of the tricks and tips. Joel Bankhead offers 40+ at Appstorm. I'd recommend 2, 10,12 15-19, 28. The Mac Guy Paul Scott offers 10 tips of which 4 and 8 are worth knowing as a novice.

Most of the time you won't need notifications from new apps. So refuse them unless you understand why a program would want to know your location or send you messages. You can always change the options later in Settings.

You can explore other tricks by googling iPad secrets tips as I did.