Sorting through apps can be one of the most tedious tasks out there.  We all know there are great apps for the iPad, people tell us as much, but how do you discover them with the number available constantly growing?  Well, we’re here to help you with that by breaking it down to a handful of essential apps in a number of different categories.  Sure apps vary by taste, but these are some of the ones we feel will appeal to a wide audience.

And, oh yeah, we’re only doing free ones, so put your wallets away.

All links will take you to the iTunes page for more information and a link to download the app.

Top 5 Free iPad Music Apps

Pandora for iPad

AccuRadio: AccuRadio provides hundreds of radio streams (480 at the time of this writing) for all sorts of different music genres.  Don’t like a song that’s playing?  Simply skip it.  Ban songs, build a list of your favorite channels and look at a history of  the channels you’ve listened to if you want to refer back.

Aweditorium: A visual musical exploration tool that lets you jump through similar artists, see trivia about them, display lyrics and more.  Almost as much fun navigating as it is to listen to.

Goom: Listen to themed and corporate sponsored stations that bring you a wealth of musical entertainment, all in a pretty, pretty wrapper.

Pandora: Pandora has become the favorite free music application on just about every mobile device out there, and with good reason. The service itself is top notch for music discovery by letting you create intelligent “stations” built on what you already like, but the iPad app brings all that to your finger tips and lets you easily do it any time you want.  This app is probably one of the first you should download, period.

Shazam for iPad: Don’t you hate it when you hear a song, but you have no clue who sings it or what its name is?  Open up Shazam, let it hear the tune via the built-in microphone, and you’ll no longer have to wonder.  Besides music identification, this app also allows you to listen to samples, tag songs, share them with friends, see what others are listening to and more.

Top 5 Free iPad News Apps

NPR iPad App

AP News: The Associated Press is one of the largest news wire services in the world, and even if you don’t realize it, you are sure to have read at least a few of its stories in your life.  With the AP News app you can read all of their wire stories, check out local stories, watch videos, choose different categories and personalize the app to deliver the news that matters most to you.

BBC News: The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) has long been one of the most trusted names in news, and that continues into the 21st century as they deliver the news to you where you want it.  You can view news by geographical region, by category, watch short video clips that will help you keep current while on the go and you can download stories for offline reading at your convenience.

Flipboard: If you don’t want to get your news from just one source, and you really enjoy the social aspects Twitter and Facebook have brought to news gathering, then Flipboard is for you.  This app brings together all the things your friends share on those services into a magazine layout so that you can flip through them at your leisure and not feel overwhelmed by clicking on tons of links.

NPR for iPad: When the iPad first launched back in April, this was the app that everyone pointed to as the potential of the device.  You can side scroll through the different categories, listen to audio stories while reading others and download stories for offline reading.  See a story you really like, share it with friends and family by email, Facebook or Twitter.

Reader for iPad: Why not build your own news network with this handy RSS (Real Simple Syndication) reader?  Sync it with your Google Reader account and keep up-to-date with all of your favorite news sources no matter where you are.

Make sure to check back this week as we bring you more of the top iPad apps each day!

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.