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 Social Networking Apps

Twitter for iPad

GetGlue for iPad: While there is always talk of location based apps that allow you to check-in at various physical locations you visit, why not also share with people what you’re watching, reading and listening to?  GetGlue is a check-in service that allows you to do that and more, while also earning “stickers” for your accomplishments.

Gowalla for iPad: The Gowalla location based service on the iPad is basically just a blown up version of the iPhone version (i.e. you still can’t move items to your vault), but it is still a great way to interact with your account and see where your friends are.

IM+ Lite: A universal chat app that allows you to talk with your contacts on AIM, Gtalk, ICQ, Jabber, Live Messenger, YIM, Twitter, Facebook and so on.  Once you’ve signed in to the accounts you want, all your contacts show up in one master list to make for a seamless chatting experience.

Miso – Social TV: Miso aims to make TV and movie viewing more social by allowing you to check-in to a program and then chat as it airs with others who are watching the same thing.  And, of course, you can earn badges as you go along.

Twitter: There are a ton of Twitter apps out there to choose from, but the official one from the company is a very solid choice.  Not only can you see all of your messages, and, of course, reply to them, but you can also open links in a built-in browser, view images, play videos and a whole lot more.

Top 5 Free iPad Reading Apps

Marvel iPad App

Free Books – 23,469 classics to go: Who needs single apps of classic books when you this one is just waiting for you to download it?  Free Books works like other e-reader apps in that you have to download the books from inside of it, but you have 23,469 classic titles you can choose from including titles such as The Art of War and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

iBooks: Apple’s official e-reader solution for its iOS devices is graphically slick, but it does lack the number of titles some of the competitors offer.  However, if you’re into an app that takes full advantage of the iPad’s design features, this is probably the one for you.

Kindle: Amazon’s Kindle app is a great choice for an e-reader solution as it allows you to read across all of your devices with ease.  Whether it be an actual Kindle, a computer, an Android phone and the iPad, all of the devices sync up so you can pick up reading in the same spot at any given time.

Marvel Comics: The Marvel Comics app was one of the early hits of the iPad, and with good reason: it’s a must have for comic readers.  Whether you want to read a comic a full page or one panel at a time, the transitions are smooth, the colors are vibrant and it really captures the comic reading experience.  While the app is free, most comics do cost you, but Marvel puts up about six free complete comics a week for you to try and sample.

Shakespeare: This e-reader is about one thing, and one thing only: Shakespeare.  With this app you get 40 plays, six poems and all 154 sonnets with full search capability so you can find the passages you want.  This is an essential app for fans of his work and any one who may be taking a lit class.

Don’t forget to check out the first post in this series, Top Free iPad Apps: Music And News!

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