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30 of the best A7-ready apps for the iPad Mini and iPad Air

30 of the best A7-ready apps for the iPad Mini and iPad Air

Our picks from the App Store gems

The headline feature of the new iPad mini and iPad Air is its fast A7 processor and Retina screen. And what a thing of beauty is the latter. Crisp, vibrant and sharper than a vintage Monty Python sketch, it truly needs to be seen to be believed. Tech this good deserves to be taken advantage of. So, to help you put your new tablet through its paces, we've compiled a list of the best A7-ready apps on the App Store.

Minecraft

Price: £4.99

If you haven't yet discovered the pleasures of Minecraft, be very careful. This is a game that can easily vacuum up huge swathes of your life. And it all comes from such a simple concept, too. You build in this world by collecting blocks. First, you collect wood from trees. Later, when you've made the tools to do so, you can dig into the earth or carve caves out of rock. Minecraft has a vast inventory of materials to mine or gather, and tools you can create.

It's like having a giant Lego set.

Minecraft review

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iPhoto

Price: £2.99

The iOS version of Apple's brilliantly accessible photo-editing suite is a great tool for showing off the iPad's screen. Not only does it offer unparalleled clarity when displaying your high-definition photos, but it also makes it that much easier to accurately edit your images. Unwanted blemishes are easier to spot, subtle tweaks are easier to appreciate and crops are easier to judge. Honestly, you'll want to glue a picture hook to the back of your tablet and hang it on the wall.

iPhoto review

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Infinity Blade 3

Price: £1.99

The Infinity Blade series has long been the graphical litmus test for any new iPad. And the latest edition doesn't disappoint. Infinity Blade III has already been optimised for the iPad's 64-bit processor with full-screen anti-aliasing, bloom, full-screen vignettes, distortion, high-resolution shadows, and environmental reflections. In the words of the developer, "It looks crazy awesome!" If you want to see what the new iPad is capable of, this is the game to get.

Infinity Blade III review

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Sketchbook Pro

Price: £2.99

Not only has developer Autodesk updated its digital sketchbook app to support the iPad's Retina screen, it has also leveraged the device's increased processing power to add functionality. Artists can now make use of more layers on their images - 18 (up from 12) for the 1024x768 canvas, and six (up from four) for the 2048x1536 canvas. In short, one of the best art packages available on the system just got better, and at no extra charge. Highly recommended.

SketchBook Pro review

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iMovie

Price: £2.99

It should come as no surprise that one of Apple's own flagship apps was among the first programs to receive an update adding support for the manufacturer's new generation of tablet tech. Full-HD footage captured with the iPad's camera looks ace at 1080p. What's more, Apple has even added extra features: new cross-app content sharing with GarageBand, a few new editing tools and the ability to cut together a Hollywood-style trailer for your movie.

iMovie review

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Pages

Price: £6.99

Apple's word-processing app was another obvious candidate for a Retina update, and the platform holder has failed to disappoint. As well as full support for the new screen, the latest update has brought a couple of additional features. You can now include a variety of charts in your documents, and there's improved Cloud support. And on top of that, the new built-in dictation tool in the iPad's virtual keyboard really comes into itsown here.

Pages review

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Mass Effect Infiltrator

Price: £0.69

The iOS companion piece to mega-selling PC- and console RPG Mass Effect is one the first new apps to come with Retina support as standard. The game itself is a stripped-down, arcadey take on its more nuanced and complex source material, but it's a fun 3D shooter nonetheless, and a brilliant showcase for the system's power.

In a similar vein, the Dead Space app, from the same publisher and developer, also has Retina support.

Mass Effect: Infiltrator review

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Solar Walk

Price: £1.99

The fascinating interactive galactic map app was always going to benefit from the iPad's extra power, and developer Vito Technology hasn't let us down. The app now includes new high-resolution textures, slick visual effects and a handsome user interface that makes exploring our galaxy even more of a sensory assault. New space objects have been added, too, including the asteroid belt and the moons of Neptune.

Download here

Numbers

Price: £6.99

Apple hasn't wasted any time updating its Numbers spreadsheet app to take advantage of its newly empowered tablet. As well as support for that razor-sharp Retina screen, it's shoehorned in a number of performance improvements and the ability to display your data in an impressive array of 3D charts.

It remains the best app of its kind on the App Store and a hugely useful office tool no matter the scope of number-crunching.

Numbers review

Download here

Real Racing 3

Price: Free

Firemint's third instalment of its best-selling racing sim has made impressive use of Apple's latest hardware update. Naturally, the already eye-popping visuals have received an additional boost thanks to the faster A7 processor. You get to race on a 22-car grid and can challenge your friends online. This is a realistic racing game that sees you driving fully licensed cars around real tracks.

It's a fantastic showcase of the new iPad Air and iPad mini's power. A visual tour de force.

Download here

Labyrinth 2 HD

Price: £5.49

Labyrinth 2's core concept is as old as the hills - you tilt the playing surface to guide a marble through a maze dotted with obstacles and pitfalls. However, developer Illusion Labs has breathed new life into it on the iPad by upping the challenge and broadening the scope. It's added multiplayer, incorporated a vast array of off-the-wall elements, and included a full-featured level editor that lets you create your own stages. It also looks fantastic, thanks to a new Retina update.

Download here

Photoshop Express

Price: Free

Adobe's alternative to iPhoto isn't as slick and accessible as Apple's editing suite, but it's a solid package nonetheless, offering a range of tools, filters and special effects with which to touch up your snaps. Be warned, some of the features on offer are available only via an in-app purchase, so go in with your eyes open. As is the case with Apple's iPhoto, the newly Retina-friendly app is a great way of showing off both the iPad's amazingly detailed screen and all your images.

Download here

Keynote

Price: £6.99

Another part of Apple's office suite, Keynote lets you easily create presentations and slideshows from your iPad. Like all Apple software, it's extremely user-friendly and has a range of clever tricks to help set your work apart. You can add your own animations, incorporate media you've created in iMovie or GarageBand, and build dynamic charts and graphs, all with a few swipes of the display.

Keynote review

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iStopMotion

Price: £6.99

iStopMotion does what it says on the tin. It's a rather brilliant package that lets you create your own stop-motion animation on your iPad. Once you've set up your scene, you can trigger a time-lapse photo sequence, which takes an image every few seconds, giving you time to move around objects and create a complete movie. It's well put together, easy to use, and adds Retina support.

iStopMotion review

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Order and Chaos

Price: £4.99

Let's not beat around the bush - Order and Chaos is a fairly shameless iOS riff on the hugely popular fantasy MMO World of Warcraft. Although it wins few points for originality, Gameloft's effort scores with its moreish gameplay, classy feature set and accomplished visuals. Take note: it's a subscription title, so you have to pay a monthly fee on top of the purchase price to keep playing.

Download here

Star Walk

Price: £1.99

From the same developer behind the excellent Solar Walk app, Star Walk is an essential iOS purchase for amateur astronomers. The app offers an astonishingly detailed map of the night sky, complete with profile pages for all the main heavenly bodies. What's more, thanks to GPS, it also works in real time. Just hold up your device to the night sky and the app will overlay information about the stars visible in your display.

Star Walk review

Download here

Incredibooth

Price: 69p

Just the thing for a wild night on the town, Incredibooth lets you snap strips of photobooth-style images with friends, offering you a range of wacky filters and backdrops to up the fun factor. The results are often hilarious. It's a straightforward point-and-shoot app, but it's also very thoughtfully put together with a wide range of editing and sharing options.

Download here

Flight Control Rocket

Price: Free

Flight Control remains one of the true App Store classics - fun, easy to pick up and impossible to put down. A few years on from its original effort, developer Firemint has unleashed a sequel of sorts, and it's every bit as addictive. The principle remains the same - you need to guide your vessels on to a series of landing pads while avoiding other air traffic. This time, the action has shifted to outer space, bringing with it a range of new gameplay possibilities. As one of the first games released in the wake of the new iPad, it fully supports the Retina display.

Download here

GarageBand

Price: Free

Ever fancied yourself as the next Phil Spector or Brian Eno? Well, GarageBand is the app for you.

Either plug in one of your own instruments or use the virtual keyboards, drumkits and guitars included, and record your own mini-masterpiece. It's as complex and sophisticated as you want it to be: no musical ability is required. The app is free to use, but you have to pay for some musical instruments and sounds.

GarageBand review

Download here

Barefoot World Atlas

Price: £5.49

This fantastic kids app is an iPad-only interactive atlas that colourfully immerses youngsters in the myriad wonders of planet Earth. It's a great way of engaging children in geography, detailing different wildlife, the world's great cities, geological features and weather systems. There's spoken narration as well as written text, vibrant photography, lovely illustrations and a massive library of sound effects and music.

Download here

iBooks

Price: Free

One of the iPad's few weaknesses is that, as an e-reader, it can't hope to match up to a Kindle's E Ink display. The tablet's more traditional screen is more difficult to read for longer periods than the competition's virtual paper. However, thanks to the iPad's Retina display, that's much less of an issue. The added clarity makes it much easier on the eye with a number of new functionality enhancements, too. Give it a try.

iBooks review

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Price: £2.99

The iPad's a great device for racing games, and we've got a few in this feature. While Real Racing 3 has the realism, and Asphalt has all the action, it's this game, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, that has the graphics. One of the most visually arresting games you can buy, and it's fun, too: tearing along streets avoiding the cops!

Download here

Another Monster at the End of This Book

Price: £2.49

This 'Sesame Street' interactive story book is one of the most charming kids' apps available on the App Store. And there's a fair few young-at-heart adults who'll get some chuckles out of it, too.

It's not terribly complicated - it's just a well-told story dotted with a few lively mini-games and animations designed to build youngsters' vocabulary and spatial-relations skills. And a new Retina update helps bring things to life, with vibrant colours and smooth transitions.

Download here

Touchgrind BMX

Price: £2.99

A great example of a game that could only ever work on a touchscreen device. This ingenious creation sees you pulling off BMX stunts by manipulating your bike in real time using the multitouch display. It's an ambitious concept but works beautifully in practice, offering some of the purest fun of any App Store game. In a nice touch, it even lets you record your most outrageous tricks for posterity and share them with friends. The iPad's Retina display has it looking even better than ever to boot.

Download here

Modern Combat 4

Price: £4.99

The closest thing you'll get to a full Call of Duty game on the App Store. The first-person-shooter genre isn't naturally a great fit for touchscreen controls, but Modern Combat 4 does its best within the limitations, offering a fun, slick and perfectly playable action game. It wins no points for originality - this is an app that knows exactly who is its audience - but, as shooting galleries go, this is a solid, Retina-enabled choice with great multiplayer support.

Download here

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Price: Free

This slick racer from iOS specialist Gameloft runs pretty close for pole position as the best motorsport game on the App Store. Racing is one area where the iPad utterly excels. Gameloft's Asphalt series has always led the pack, and it's new Asphalt 8 Airborne game certainly doesn't disappoint. The graphics are spectacular, with frenetic onscreen action. This is one game that you really shouldn't miss if you want to show off your iPhone and have some fun.

Download here

Evernote

Price: Free

Simply put, Evernote is one of the very best productivity apps available for iOS devices. This hugely popular piece of software lets you draw up lists, jot down reminder notes, take photos and record voice memos, and then file them by date and/or location. You can sync everything across multiple devices, email items to friends and colleagues, and post content to various social networks. It's a great way to stay organised and reduce your paper trail.

Evernote review

Download here

Macworld Express

Price: Free

The Macworld Express app comes to you from the publishers of The Complete Guide to the iPad mini and is a great way of staying abreast of all the latest Apple news. Not only does it offer timely reporting on all the latest Apple happenings, but you also get product reviews, features and handy tutorials to help you get the best from your device. It's also fully customisable, so you'll read only the content you want. What's more, it's free to download. Do you need any other reason to give it a go? We didn't think so.

Download here

LogMeIn

Price: Free (Basic); from £8.99 per month (Pro)

LogMeIn is an iOS app that allows users to access and remotely control work and home computers via iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, anywhere they have an active internet connection. Aimed primarily at business users, it also has much wider appeal. Setup is simple and requires users to pair the free iOS app with any computer, although that computer needs to be switched on, or at least woken from sleep to be seen. The free version is good enough for most people.

LogMeIn for iPad and iPhone review

Download here

Art Authority

Price: £6.99

Art Authority is another app that shines by virtue of being on the iPad's Retina display. It's in essence the world's best art gallery distilled into your iPad. There are thousands of masterpieces available for viewing from the greatest artists the world has ever seen, including Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Edvard Munch, all searchable by name or movement. On top of that, there's expert commentary, interactive timelines and a neat feature that searches for similar works in a gallery near you.

A must for art lovers.

Download here


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