I’ve been a gadget fanatic since before I could haltingly pronounce ‘‘gadget,’’ and technology is incorporated into every hour of my waking life in one way or another. But I remember that the first time I held a modern tablet PC was something extra special. It was as if a bit of technology from 20 years in the future had fallen through a time warp and into my hands. Apple’s iPad typifies this tech revolution, and the company has just released the iPad Mini and an upgraded full-size iPad. They’re powerful, sleekly futuristic devices, and if you’ve recently bought one, or you’ve put one on your wish list, you’ll need apps.
Games are perhaps the best way to explore the power of a new tablet. New iPad Mini owners may enjoy an old classic: Mirror’s Edge ($10). This game is set in a dystopian future in which you play a free-runner who leaps and slides across a city’s rooftops. It made its debut as a beautiful console game years ago, and athough the gameplay was simplified for the iPad, it’s still visually amazing. It’s fun to control, too, requiring carefully timed swipes on the screen. You’ll also get a kick out of seeing this powerful game run on a tablet that’s so tiny.
IPad 4 owners, with their Retina-display tablets, will get a kick out of the amazing Wild Blood ($7). It’s a role-playing game set in Arthurian times, and its 3-D graphics are extraordinary — right down to leaves tumbling from trees and the flapping wings of a dragon. With an app this complex you have to put up with occasional pauses as it loads content, and it eats up a lot of your iPad’s internal storage. But it’s worth it to be able to play a tablet game that looks like it belongs on something as powerful as a PlayStation or Xbox.
Lastly, it’s always nice to talk about the weather. My new favorite weather app, which looks fabulous on the iPad’s screen thanks to its high level of detail, is WeatherMap(PLUS), for $3. This app is all about showing you map-based graphical weather predictions — and as such it requires a bit of thought to understand it. But it will definitely satisfy your inner geek more than the mere cloud symbols that other apps offer.
With either a big or small iPad, enjoy these apps, and your little slice of future tech.
Kit Eaton writes on technology for The New York Times. Hiawatha Bray is not writing today.