Sure, the new iPad's supersharp Retina display makes websites and even icons pop off the screen, but it's the apps that are going to make people want to buy. Apple is certainly doing its part with apps that are optimized for the iPad's better-than-full-HD canvas, such as the all-new iPhoto and updated versions of its other iLife and iWork apps. Third-party developers are also stepping up to the plate with console-quality games, breathtaking drawing apps (provided you have the talent) and more. Here are the must-have apps for the new iPad.
Apple's native photo manager and editor from the desktop makes the leap to the iPad. Intuitive, swipe-based editing is sure to make this app a must have for photographers on the go. You can also add a ton of fun effects and create Photo Journals for sharing your creations with friends and family. $4.99
If you're already using Autodesk's SketchBook Pro or SketchBook Mobile, you know how indispensable the software is for arts. SketchBook Ink gives you a similar drawing experience with the ability to take paintings from SketchBook Pro and import them into the program. The new iPad's Retina Display is sure to make every pen stroke pop. Coming in April.
Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy
This flight game from Namco takes advantage of the new iPad's quad-core processor and Retina Display to deliver crisp graphics. Combine that with the game's use of the iPad's gyroscope for control and you're in for a wild dogfight. Coming later this month.
Infinity Blade 2
Concerned that ballooning apps for the Retina display will quickly fill up the storage on your new iPad? If there's only one game you choose to install on that shiny slate, pick Infinity Blade 2. Although Apple has already announced a follow-up to the wildly popular game series by Epic Games — Infinity Blade: Dungeons — Infinity Blade 2 is up for grabs right now. Follow the immortal swordsman Siris as he quests for the enigmatic Worker of Secrets to avenge his father’s death. With eye-searing graphics and the same addictive gameplay, Infinity Blade 2 is a must-have app for your new iPad. $6.99
If you've ever used an iPad, you've surely heard of Flipboard, one of the best apps the iOS ecosystem has to offer to its legions of users. Touted as the world's first social magazine, Flipboard gathers content from your favorite websites, social networks, and feeds and rearranges them in an attractive layout, which you can nimbly flip through on your iPad. Lately, a brand new feature called Cover Stories — a hodgepodge of shared articles and photos that boast the ability to intelligently adjust itself according to your tastes — has rebooted the app's hype, lending staying power to Flipboard even in a overcrowded arena of other social news sharing apps. Now, you can expect the photos, magazines, websites and blogs you peruse on the app to look even more stunning stretched across the iPad's new Retina display. Free
While Facebook's process of developing its slate-optimized app was unarguably slow-going, the company has been making quicker strides with later updates. Most recently? The company released a Retina display version of its app even before brick-and-mortar stores started selling the new iPad to customers. Nothing drastically different here: Access to your Messages, Lists, Apps, and Groups are still right at your fingertips within the app. But now, those situated in the intersection of social network dependency and Apple fanaticism can get the familiar Facebook experience made even more immersive in its new pixel-maximized form. Free
NYTimes for iPad
Perhaps the "Old Gray Lady" shouldn't be considered so old or gray, given the new Retina-ready version of their iPad app. Sure, you still have to contend with the newspaper's disobliging paywall to access the entirety of its content, but for top stories and unequaled features, the New York Times's made over app is worth a look. Free
Familiar note-taking giant Evernote has just grown a bit taller with its release of a new Retina display version of their app. Collect snatches of text, to-dos, audio recordings and snapshots within the app, and file them away automatically across all your devices. But pay special attention to the version on your new Apple slate. On the iPad's bigger screen, it's the equivalent of visual note nirvana. Free
Not one to be left behind by Apple (given the company's release of a Retina-optimized iBooks app), Amazon has updated its own reading app to let you leave those thick and dusty tomes smartly displayed on your shelf. With a new variant that's pixel nonpareil, Amazon Kindle's Retina app will make squinting at those tiny letters a relic of the past. Free
Grab a partner, duck within range of your new iPad's improved camera and start posing creatively. Incredibooth makes it incredibly easy to reproduce a photo strip that would make Amélie Poulain proud. The app already sticks to standard photo booth protocol that people love -- pleasingly lo-res output, creaky beeps and the satisfying snap of a shutter -- but now it's all the more enhanced by Retina-level vividness. $0.99
After sampling a wide range of Twitter clients, we came to the conclusion that Tweetbot stands heads and shoulders above other options. Needless to say, we were thrilled when we heard a Retina-optimized version of the app was coming out for the new iPad. Now you can stay updated with your constant feed of updates in pixel-perfect construction. $2.99
It's easy to get distracted by the uberpixels on the iPad's gorgeous new display and snap up all the new games coming out for the slate -- but don't forget that one of its top uses is as a productivity tool. iA Writer, a top-notch app that's been newly optimized for the Retina veneer, marries the utility of the iPad with its potential to show off some spectacular pictorials. With minimalism at the forefront of the app's presentation, iA Writer is a robust word processor incorporating essential features for wordsmiths including Dropbox integration, simple gestures, and a handy FocusMode that really lets you zero in on your writing. $0.99