The wrapping paper’s in a pile on the floor, but the fun has just begun. That shiny new gadget in your hands is just waiting to be filled with content. Check out these must-download apps and ebooks—Christmas morning giddiness isn’t just for kids anymore.
For the Reader
Flipboard: Not many apps do personalized news aggregation as fluidly and beautifully as Flipboard. While it’s now on the iPhone too, the app was originally made with the larger tablet screen in mind. Fill the virtual magazine pages with news, blogs and social media and start flipping.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets for iPad: With actors such as Patrick Stewart, Stephen Fry, Dominic West, and Kim Cattrell reciting all 154 of William Shakespeare’s sonnets, scholars and poets including Don Paterson and James Shapiro doing commentary and even a facsimile of the 1609 Quarto edition, the Bard’s brambly romanticism springs fully to life in this marvelous multi-media app.
Pulse News: All the news you could ever want in easy-to-see, bite-sized portions perfect for skimming on the go, or delving into when you have time.
For the Do-er
Keynote: The workaholic takes the office on the go, and Keynote on the iPad is perfect for polishing that work presentation.
TaskRabbit: Don’t feel like writing a thank-you note to whoever gifted you this wonderful iPad Mini? For a few bucks someone at TaskRabbit will do that and almost anything else that’s been sitting on your to-do list for too long.
Evernote: WIth a recent makeover, Evernote is better than ever, allowing you to store documents, create lists and folders and organize them to a T.
For the Entertainment Junkie
Netflix/Hulu Plus: The Mini is the perfect on-the-go watching size, and these apps deliver subscribers all the TV shows and movies they can dream of.
The Orchestra: This app brilliantly dissects the components of a symphony orchestra with plenty of text integrated with 3D images, filmed recordings of compositions from Beethoven, Stravinsky, Debussy, and others, each accompanied by the scores as they are played and small cameos by musicians explaining how their instruments work. There is plenty here for novices and buffs alike.
For the Socialite
Skype: For those scores of acquaintances scattered across the globe, Skype is the best way to keep in touch and make sure you don’t go too long without seeing them.
Tweetbot: This highly rated tweeting app way outdoes Twitter itself in style and functionality.
Find My Phone: Now that you have the top-of-the-line Apple phone, there’s no going back. Make sure to keep track of your lifeline for those “I think I left it in the back of that cab” moments.
For the Traveler
Google Maps: If you don’t want to get stranded in the Australian outback, make sure to download this directionally attuned map system.
TripIt: Don’t lose your jumble of flight itineraries, hotel reservations and trip notes with this travel organizer.
For the Workaholic
Workflowy: Keep track of to-do lists, grand plans, and groceries to pick up in this clever nesting-system of organization.
Mint: Who needs an accountant when this handy app will organize all your bills, bank accounts and even send you budget alerts?
30/30: Keep on top of everything you need to do with this time-management system that allows you to allot time slots for each task.
For the Parent
Fresh Paint: Full artistic capacities and no mess: the perfect combination for an all-digital coloring book/easel. Let that little Monet go to town.
For the Social Butterfly
MetroTwit: This tweeting app has a Tweet Deck meets WIndows 8 kind of look.
Fliptoast: Pulling info from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, among other social platforms, all the social interaction you need is centered in one spot.
For the News-Obsessed
News Bento: An aesthetically pleasing news aggregator that can hold as much news as you want to collect in it.
Google Search: If you’re not a Bing afficianado, this handy Google search bar should be the first thing you download for easy access to your email, the web and Drive documents.
Check out these recent Kindle singles for the most compelling reads on your Kindle, or any other device.
For the Grisly Crime Reader
How to Get Away with Murder in America tells the unbelievably true tale of a Mexican cartel hit man who became a CIA informant.
The strange, newsworthy story of the killing of fifty wild animals in Ohio is told from the perspective of the animals’ caretaker in Rough Beasts: The Zanesville Zoo Massacre, One Year Later.
Nonfiction veteran Sebastian Junger goes fictional with A World Made of Blood, about an eager young journalist experiencing the horror of war on assignment in West Africa.
For the History Buff
The Story of a Photo: Walker Evans, Ellie Mae Burroughs, and the Great Depression tells how a single photo became a symbol of the Great Depression’s hardships and made Walker Evans one of history’s most famous photographers.
For the Comedian
An Unexpected Twist follows comedian Andy Borowitz’s inner dialogue as he ‘s diagnosed with a potentially fatal medical condition. Only Borowitz could make the topic laugh-worthy.
Bearded Lady follows one woman’s comical journey around the world to discover the root of the problem of, well, body hair.
The White House isn't ready for holiday season until the First Dog approves the Christmas decorations. Watch Bo sniff around under the tree and beneath the mistletoe.
The Daily Beast narrows down your shopping search.
Halfhearted Christmas albums, lousy overplayed songs. Malcolm Jones on the classics worth listening to.