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A handful of Globe staffers rushed out in April to buy an iPad in the United States. So for the past month a few of us have had a chance to get to know the device and determine which apps are worth downloading. Here's a look at three apps that Matt Frehner, the Globe's mobile editor, really likes. We'll have more recommended apps over the next few days:

  • Here are editor Kenny Yum's picks:
  • Here are Technology Reporter Omar El Akkad's picks:
  • Gere are Telecom Reporter Iain Marlow's picks:

Guardian Eyewitness (free, iPad only) is beautifully simple. Developed before the initial launch of the iPad, it remains my go-to app for showing off how elegant the device can be.

Here's a direct link to the app

Chris Thorpe, the Guardian's developer advocate (great title, eh?), said recently that the app was built so the paper would have a presence on the iPad out of the gate, but still be able to take their time in developing a full-scale news app - one that takes complete advantage of the tablet's capabilities. Eyewitness doesn't feel like a hastily considered placeholder, though. Taking a popular daily feature from the Guardian's print edition, editors choose a single image each day for the app to highlight. The secret lies in the intuitive navigation and the crystal-clear image quality. There's nothing extraneous in this app, just well-curated, beautiful photographs by some of the world's best photojournalists.

It also happens to be a brilliant advertising play. The whole project is sponsored by Canon, whose name appears on the loading screen and alongside the image captions, but not in a way that obscures or interferes with the experience of the app. Could sponsored, hyper-focused products become a thriving niche in the app ecosystem?

Here's a direct link to the app

Instapaper ($4.99, iPhone and iPad) At its heart, Instapaper is just a low-tech bookmarking tool. The website offers a way to save and organize articles that, for whatever reason, can't be read right away. The archive can then be accessed from any computer or mobile device, and the iPad app downloads each article for reading offline - great for those of us with basic wifi.

From there, the app is an exercise in minimalism. With great typography on a simple, off-white background, Instapaper clears away the usual distractions that clutter up a webpage and focuses on what the reader came for in the first place: the writer's words.

And, unlike the iPad offerings from traditional print giants so far, Instapaper has succeeded in offering something that is as easy to read as a magazine but yet still fits snugly into the Web's ecosystem. Passages and whole articles can be Tweeted, e-mailed and Tumbl'd. There's even a built-in dictionary. Such things might seem common sense, but compared to, say, Popular Science or Men's Health, it feels positively revolutionary: A well-designed app that actually stands up to repeated use.

Combine Instapaper with Longform, a twitter account that highlights the best long-form journalism out there on the web, and you might never have to buy a magazine again.

Here's a direct link to the app

Things ($19.99, iPad) Things is an app for those who, like many early adopters, have a touch of technological OCD. Yes, $20 for a to-do list is completely absurd. But the smart organization and attention to detail beats everything else out there, hands down. The App Store's productivity category is filled with ugly, cumbersome apps that are either needlessly complex or lack any kind of scalability. Things strikes the right balance: its tagging system accommodates everything from grocery lists to unwieldy long-term projects. One downside is the lack of over-the-air syncing between the iPad, iPhone and Mac versions of Things, which is said to be in the hopper for a future version of the app.

For those who scoff at Things's price tag, or are just looking for a note-taking app that doesn't carry Apple's awful comic typeface, Evernote is a good, free alternative. It is not good for much more than basic note taking, but is stable and the wireless syncing allows effortless sharing of documents between iPhone and iPad. Evernote is worth downloading simply because it's free.

We'll profile three more apps Saturday and three more Monday. Also, don't miss Globetechnology's regular Monday Hot Apps feature.

Reporters Omar El Akkad and Iain Marlow and editor Michael Snider took your questions on everything from data plans to favourite apps