IN PICTURES: Best free iPhone and iPad Apps of 2011 (so far)

They're new, they're fun, they're useful and best of all, they're free - Here are 20 iOS apps for work and play.

  • Opera Mini 6: Great for when you are on a slow connection, Opera Mini 6 for iPhone and iPad is a serious contender to Safari. Background tab loading is a great feature and you can synchronise bookmarks from your desktop computer if you use Opera as your browser.

  • Hound: Hound allows you to speak the name of an artist, band, or a song tile and bring up a wealth of related information and photos, including tour dates, lyrics, and song previews.

  • Merriam-Webster: Look up any word on your iPhone or iPad with the Merriam-Webster dictionary, or check out the word of the day. The app is simple and easy to use, and the spoken search feature can be particularly handy.

  • Thermo: A different take on weather apps, Thermo is like a pocket thermometer on your iPhone, showing you not only the temperature outside now, but also readings from the previous day for comparison.

  • Land-a Panda: Your mission in Land-a Panda is to assist a male panda meet his dream partner in a puzzle adventure with cannons, hazards, and a lot of coins to collect. The game has adorable sounds and creative graphics.

  • Nike+ GPS: Nike's running companion app is currently free and you don’t need the special shoe sensors to use it -- it records your running routine via the iPhone GPS and accelerometer.

  • Audibly: This is a public domain repository of almost 3000 audiobooks, all for free on your iPhone or iPad. You'll find all the classics, but no recent titles like the Twilight or Harry Potter series.

  • Xfinity: Dozens of popular on-demand TV shows and movies from HBO, Showtime, TNT, and Cinemax are available through the Xfinity app for iPhone and iPad-as long as you are on Wi-Fi.

  • Frisbee Forever: Flick the Frisbee, steer through obstacles, and collect stars. A simple, delightful, and entertaining game, Frisbee Forever is one of the latest must-have apps for both iPhone and iPad.

  • HeyTell: HeyTell turns your phone into a walkie-talkie by allowing you to send voice messages to single users or groups via 3G, EDGE, and Wi-Fi, with push notifications for new messages.

  • Are you done playing all the levels in Angry Birds and looking for some other free cool apps to try out? Here's a top 20 from dozens of great new apps for your iPhone or iPad launched this year - and the best bit is: they're all free.

  • Sonar: Sonar is a social-savvy app that shows you how you are connected to other people around you by analyzing your social networking accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

  • Bing for iPad: A sleek combination between search engine and magazine-like aggregator, the Bing for iPad app is a great way to leisurely flick through news, movies, or even popular searches.

  • eBay Motors: This app lets you browse all the car listings on the site, with a few extra perks such as free vehicle history reports from Experian AutoCheck and a place to store information about your cars.

  • Color: One of the most hyped apps this year, Color combines social networking and photo-taking by bringing together photos taken by people in your vicinity -- and helps you make new connections.

  • Onavo: Onavo runs in the background and shrinks via its servers all the data used by apps, saving you money if you're on a capped data plan or using data abroad.

  • Vimeo: Vimeo's iPhone app goes beyond the standard uploading and browsing features and allows you to edit on the fly and add transitions, titles, and music to clips shot with your phone before you share them with the world.

  • Google Places: This app gives you access to Google's directory of restaurants, cafes, bars, and other venues worldwide, and can help you find great spots around you.

  • Photosynth: Capture the world around you with your iPhone in spectacular 3D panoramas. Microsoft’s app stiches your pictures together and you can share them via Photosynth’s online service or on Facebook with your friends.

  • Would you recommend this slideshow? YES993 NO109 Super 8: Free for a limited time, Super 8 is a vintage camera app for both video and photos. Gestures include changing the effects and filters by swiping across the camera and playing video by pulling down a projector screen.

  • MTV Music Meter: This app lets you discover new music with a daily list of trending artists. You can then sample related artists, photos, news articles, and even their tweets.

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