iPad countdown. Four days to go, four apps to know



If you’ve been following tech news at all over the past few months, you’ll know that we are just four days away from the Australian launch of Apple’s iPad.

This tablet computer aims to create a new market in handheld devices, bridging the gap between laptops and smartphones.

For those who can’t wait until Friday (I’ll be sitting by the window waiting for the postie all day), here are some of the best iPad apps out there for kids (and kids at heart).

1. Drawing Pad

Drawing Pad is an “Apple Staff Favorite” and was featured in the Spotlight of the App Store when it first launched in the US. It is the most popular paint app for kids and has an amazing collection of real-world material for children to create with – crayons, pencils, paints, stickers, the list is almost endless. Kids can even choose which paper stock they want to draw on. The comments on iTunes are filled with people lamenting that after buying this app, it was so popular with their kids that they never saw saw their iPads again, so beware! $2.49 from the App Store.

2. Alice for the iPad

The iPad version of the classic tale adds just enough bells and whistles to make it fun without being cheesy. Each page features beautifully-designed interactive elements that will entertain children and parents alike. $11.99 for the full version or try the lite version for free.

3. Star Walk

I saw this running on an iPad today and it really is amazing. If you’ve ever tried to find a way to make astronomy fun and engaging, this is it. It uses the iPad tilt sensor to let you point the iPad at a section of the sky and have it display constellation maps and other astronomical data in a stunning interface. $5.99 from the App Store.

4. Elements

This one is probably more for parents than children but is another example of the amazing potential of technology as an educational tool. The periodic table is presented with animated interactive examples of all the elements, providing a completely different experience than any of us who sat through high school chemistry would be familiar with. It’s pricey for an app, but considering the price of a book, well worth it. $16.99 from the App Store.

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