Wanted: The top 10 ultimate travel apps for iPad
More than just Apple's answer to Amazon's Kindle eReader, the iPad has the potential to add so much to the whole travel experience -- whether business or pleasure -- in terms of better navigating and exploring the labyrinthine streets of most major cities in Asia from Tokyo to Phuket.
We want the new iPad to do more than tell us "Don't Panic!" We want zippy new programs to answer questions we didn't realize we needed to ask. And we want them to have a cool interface, real-time response and the weirdly comforting sound effects we've come to expect from Apple products. App developers, here are your marching orders:
1.Searchable travel guides
We already know the iPad will have a decent eBook reader -- in the form of iBooks -- but what we desperately want is for a flood of travel guides to not only become available on the new iBooks store, but to include the kind of searchability and interactivity that will make it that much easier to navigate your way around a destination. Just imagine, Lonely Planet, Frommer's, Rough Guide, and more, all in one lightweight reader.
2. "Drainspotting" or a Street Art Locator app
Trying to get a better handle on Tokyo's street art scene? Give us an app that not only catalogues various spots -- with vivid examples of what to look for -- but also superimpose it on a map. Why not do the same for the city's diverse manhole covers -- let "drainspotting" become an iPad sport.
3. Mags in Pad
It's still unknown to what extent iBooks will support digital magazines, but it's something we desperately want to see. Imagine scanning the streets of Bangkok, with the latest issues of BK magazine at your disposal. Or how about an easy way to save all those articles about must-see spots in one convenient location -- with direct links to Google Maps, of course.
4. The ultimate travel journal app (that's not a blog)
The Moleskine has so far been the canvas of choice for travel journals filled with sketches of loved locations, but imagine what you could do with a decent journal app that would not only let you add comments and quick sketches, but easily import images (from the web or your own photo collection) directly as well. In other words, a Moleskine on steroids.
5. Gargantuan Geocaching
The modern day scavenger hunt has taken the form of Geocaching -- in short, GPS-powered hunts -- and the iPad should make what we've been able to experience on the iPhone that much more engaging. Imagine games that have you hunting for the latest street art markings by Pocket Query, including reference material and galleries to access as you discover your target.
6. Video travelogues
The iPad will give us access to the web anytime, anywhere, and although that should make it that much easier to browse through online food and restaurant guides while on the go, why not have apps that not only visually guide you through an area, but allow video samples of the atmosphere to expect -- or even a quick tour of the kitchen -- as well as easy online reservations, and direct access to a GPS-guided mapping system.
7. Multmedia translation apps: don't just tell, show
With a multimedia device in your hands, a handy translator app should be a snap. More than just a text translator, make it visual -- show them what you want -- and have a catalogue of image galleries to access (for example, a sushi gallery to place an order at a restaurant).
8. Manga reader
We'll have a proper book reader and some sort of magazine support, but what that big iPad screen is truly begging for is a manga reader. More than just a great way to read an entire 20-volume series in one go, the app should support quick switches between languages, so you can see just how those visual Japanese sound effects really should look like.
9. GPS linked multimedia tour guides
Going one step further than the current audio tours -- like the Tokyo Realtime series -- let's have full multimedia content that enhances the neighborhoods that you are visiting, like video interviews with locals, and GPS tracking to ensure you're on the right track.
10. Omniscient social networking (or FourSquare squared ...)
Give us the ultimate positional-aware social networking app, where friends pop up on screen whenever they are in the area, and updates and recommendations (or warnings) about your current location are streamed as you scope the place.
Got your own iPad app wish? Let us know in the comments.