3 Great Free iPad Apps

Apple has started something recently that made me wonder aloud what took them so long; every week they offer a quality app that you would normally (and wouldn’t mind) paying real dollars for. I count this as a good thing for those of us who are app hoarders.

Yes, app hoarders; people who download so many apps that they hardly have any free space left on their devices to run anything. I’ll freely admit that I’m guilty as charged. Beyond the reasonable excuse of obtaining apps to test for this weekly column, I buy apps that appear interesting to me and I don’t purge unused or unwanted apps nearly enough. The net result is an iTunes app repository containing over 500 (yes, five and two zeroes) apps.

I know I’m not alone in my hoarding ways. Many of you have far more apps on your iDevices than you’ll ever use. And now, with Apple giving them away weekly your app accumulation will likely not get any smaller anytime soon. Ah well. At least you won’t be filling up your iPad with crap-apps.

For instance, this week Apple is giving away Snapseed, the primo photo post-processing tool that kicks all manner of butt when it comes to helping you make your great photos stupendous.


“Meh!” you say? You need another photo processing app like Tina Turner needs another hero? I’m here to tell you that Snapseed is not just another photo processing app. Snapseed has skillz, foremost of which is its seemingly magical ability to let you make specific adjustments to a photo without having to deal with layers. You create adjustment areas, which you can expand or contract to cover just the spot you need, then tweak it for contrast, brightness, and saturation. You really have to try to understand how this works and how powerful a tool it is. NIK, the makers of Snapseed, have a similar tool in its Vivenza 2 Photoshop plugin, and it costs a lot more than free.

snapseedFine tuned adjustments made simple in Snapseed

Snapseed offers a wealth of other tools, filters, and so on, making it an app any photography would feel comfortable using exclusively.

Did I mention that it’s free for a very limited time? If you shoot photos and would like to process them on your iPad or iPhone (I’d recommend the iPad because of its bigger screen) then grab Snapseed while you can grab it for free.

I didn’t intend to talk about iDevice photography stuff, but as luck would have it, the second item on my list also deals with the subject, but in a bit more general way.

Snap Magazine is an E-zine that features articles and photos from the world of Hipstamatic. That’s right, the lo-mo photo app, Hipstamatic. In fact, Snap is put together by the folks at Hipstamatic and this is their inaugural issue.


Since some pro shooters have taken a shine to Hipstamatic, it’s become the simu-analog darling of the iPhone photo world. In truth, I haven’t used Hipstamatic in a very long time. I don’t believe all of my photos need to look like they were shot with a dime store camera. But looking through Snap, I can see why Hipsatmatic is still a major app for millions of people.

Snap Magazine showcases photos and stories of the subjects in front of the lens and the shooters behind the iPhone. The stories are excellent and the photos are amazing (even if all have that old-timey look about them).

Even if you’re not a Hipstamatic fan you’ll appreciate Snap and what it presents. If you’re a photographer or a wannabe, it’s always good to see what others are doing. If you’re just looking for some iPad eye candy you won’t go wrong downloading this. And who can argue the price?

Except on the occasion that I find an app or other that warrants more attention, I usually talk about 3 items in this column. So the third freebie this week is a biggie, literally. Coming in at a whopping 484mb(!), American Museum of Natural History’s Creatures of Light is well worth the download wait and the iPad space it’ll occupy.

Creatures of Light

Here’s an app chock full of photos, videos, and articles about the plants and animals that, for whatever reason, produce their own light.

Mosts folks are at least vaguely familiar with fireflies and their Summer’s evening light shows. What you may not realize how many other creatures have a similar ability to shine. From tiny organisms that cause waves to glow with each crash to glowing mushrooms to deep sea fish that use light to “fish” for dinner.

Creatures of Light

It’s a fascinating subject and a very enjoyable read. Endure the download and enjoy.

That’s a wrap for this week. More free apps below with direct links.