Social Networking

MyPad+ ($1.99): MyPad+ is a native Facebook and Twitter app for the iPad. Access almost all of Facebook’s functionality (chat, Wall, inbox, photos, birthdays, etc…) from within the app using the intuitive swipe-based navigation. There’s limited game support (sorry, no “Villes”), but you can upload and download photos, as well as add effects and change your profile picture. Twitter support is limited with the only functionalities being tweet and retweet, but more features are coming and the app does support multiple accounts.

Friendly Plus ($.99): Friendly Plus is similar to MyPad+, in that they both give you access to your Facebook profiles, but Friendly Plus’s benefits lie in its (arguably) cleaner interface and added security. The app allows for a passcode to be set separate from the iPad’s passcode in order to secure a Facebook profile from the wrong hands. You can also customize the colors and fonts in the app, as well as store more than one account at a time.

Twitterrific (Free): When it comes to beautiful iPad apps, Twitterrific is always near the top of the list. Its soft color palette and straight-forward interface make it a “must-have” for even the most frequent tweeters. Twitterrific supports lists, current trending topics, search and pretty much everything else offers – except in a much better looking package.

Twitter (Free): Twitter, Inc. makes a universal app for the iPhone and iPad appropriately called…Twitter. There’s nothing inherently special about the app, but it does offer all the features from the Web version – tweet, retweet, search, trending topics, direct messaging, photo sharing and even a mobile-only feature: Nearby. Using Nearby, you can see who’s tweeting in your nearby area thanks to a handy map overlay. If you’re looking for the official app from the people who originally brought you Twitter, this is it.

Boxcar (Free): Until we get the new Notifications drawer in iOS 5, we’ll have to find better ways to get our notifications. Boxcar is a unique solution that organizes notifications from various apps on your iPad and pushes them to you through the one application. For example, “@” notifications and Direct Messages from Twitter can be pushed from and organized in Boxcar, avoiding the need to have to dive into each app to clear them out individually. Other apps supported are Google Buzz, Hootsuite, Google Voice, Github and RSS.

AIM for iPad (Free): Remember the ’90s? Remember AOL? Well, it’s still around and the IM client you just can’t quit is on the iPad. AIM for iPad combines AOL Instant Messenger, Facebook chat and Google Talk under one umbrella so you only have to go to one app to chat with all your friends. Upload a buddy icon, change your wallpaper, post photos and send a text message to any cell phone – even from a WiFi iPad.

TextPlus GOLD ($4.99): This fall, Apple will unveil iMessages, a combination SMS/MMS/IM/BBM-style messaging application that lets users send free text messages between iOS devices. Until then, we have TextPlus GOLD, an app that provides a user with a unique phone number for free text messaging among all devices using TextPlus. You can either talk to friends from your contact list, or find new friends using the “Communities” section – a chatroom-style experience for TextPlus users.

Gowalla (Free): Gowalla is sort of like FourSquare, but with a purpose. Rather than checking in to a place just earn badges and complain about a particular Starbucks’s coffee, Gowalla is centered around sharing your experiences with friends. Check into a location, upload pictures, leave comments and share your journies with those who may be headed there soon – all from the Gowalla iPad app. Yes, you can earn “pins” and other rewards, but Gowalla isn’t about that – it’s about sharing. Gowalla for iPad offers a clean interface for exploring a specific checkin site, who was there before and any suggestions they left for the next person, making for a truly social travel experience.

Hootsuite (Free): Hootsuite has grown immensely popular on the desktop and the iPad app has all the makings to do the same. Update your Twitter, Facebook profile, Fan Page and FourSquare location all at once. Even schedule updates for future publishing, or save drafts to work on later. Hootsuite can also manage multiple accounts for each service and track their corresponding stats. It’s free and does all that? Seriously – what are you waiting for?

Ego for iPad ($2.99): What’s more important than your social stats? Nothing, really, so you should probably download Ego for iPad. Ego aggregates the data from services like Twitter, Squarespace, Vimeo, Ember and Mint so you can get an overhead view of how your profiles and blogs are performing daily. The sites themselves are also accessible from within the app. Buh bye multi-page Safari sessions, hello social stat hub.

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