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Top 10 uses for the iPad
Many new gadgets don't live up to the hype, but the iPad is one gadget that really is as good as it looks. Despite buying one at the time when wireless connectivity was thought to be an issue, I have never had a problem with my iPad and I recommend it to anyone who spends a lot of time on the Internet.
I actually never even wanted an iPad, but my gadget-crazy husband did, and now that we have it I think it’s great. You could say that it’s somewhere in between a laptop computer and an iPhone, but really it’s more than that. If you're wondering if you should get an iPad, then your first step should be to find out a bit more about what it can do.
Here are my top 10 uses for the iPad (in no particular order).
- Surf the Internet - Unlike a conventional computer, you don’t have to wait for the iPad to come out of hibernation mode - it’s instantly on. And when you are having a Google race with someone, this gives you a clear advantage. (A Google race is when 2 or more people race each other to find the answer to something on the Internet - a fun way to solve any dispute!) It connects wirelessly (or via 3G) to the Internet, providing easy access to all of your favourite sites. The only drawback is that Flash media is not supported on the iPad, so until web developers start using something else, you may not be able to use some or all of certain websites out there (NB, you can view and comment on HubPages but you can't edit your Hubs).
- E-mail - It’s ideal for checking e-mail and sending short e-mails, especially when you’re on the go. You can set up all of your e-mail accounts and have them all at your fingertips within seconds. Typing on the iPad is better than I had anticipated, as whenever you touch a field that requires typing, a keyboard pops up over the bottom half of the screen. It’s pretty easy to use, but I would save typing those longer e-mails for a real keyboard.
- Recipe book - The iPad is the world’s biggest cookbook. It’s great to have in the kitchen with you when you need to follow a recipe since it takes up much less space than a laptop, especially since it sits perfectly in a cookbook stand. There are many great recipe websites, plus there are many free apps related to recipes and cooking, like epicurious.
- Photo storage and viewing - The iPad is great for storing and viewing your photos because of the large display and the way that you can flip easily from one photo to the next, and jump between folders with ease. This feature is definitely one of the things that sold the iPad to me, so check it out in the store if you're not yet convinced. An added bonus is that you can set it up to be a digital photo frame, so when it's sitting on its dock it can display all of those photos you'd otherwise never look at.
My recommended iPad purchases
I own (and really like) this bundle. The silicone case is a must-have item.
- E-reader - It's bigger and heavier than other e-readers on the market, but it's still a great e-reader. You can access all of the books on Amazon, just like a Kindle, but the display is much bigger. You can view your book in portrait or landscape, and the way the pages flip is awesome - you flip it with your finger and it looks just like a real book (pictured above). Even if reading books isn't a big interest for you, many classic books are now available for free for e-readers, so you can try it out without spending a penny.
- Music - Just like the iPhone, you must have iTunes to keep your iPad up to date. Since you'll have this software anyway, it makes it very easy to store all your music on the iPad. You can also stream live radio over the Internet, and there is a free Pandora application as well. Provided you have a decent wireless connection, this works really well. Now that the iPad can do multitasking, this feature is even more useful - now you can play background music while you get on with other activities. The sound quality is fine for playing music considering the size of the device, but I'd suggest getting some speakers or headphones for your iPad if you will be using it to play music a lot.
- Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) i.e. Skype - The iPad has a speaker and built-in microphone so it’s ideal for making phone calls over the Internet, as long as you don’t mind not having the video feature.
- Games - It’s great for playing simple little games. There are many free gaming applications for the iPad already, and I’m sure there are more to come. If you're willing to pay for games, then there are many to choose from, as shown in this article about its 15 must have games. My current favourites are Angry Birds, Godfinger and Sally's Spa. As a rule, I suggest that you pick games that have been developed for the iPad, not both the iPad AND iPhone, because these won’t be nearly as good.
- Movies - You can store all of your movies and television shows on your iPad and watch them when you are on the go. Great for using on airplanes or even at the gym, the iPad has a big screen and is great for watching films, especially when compared with a cell phone or an iPod.
- Weather & News - Apart from e-mail and Internet, this is probably what the iPad is most used for at our house. There are plenty of great apps for quick news and weather reports at your fingertips, many of which you can customize to your own interests. We use Accuweather and BBC News, but try out a few and see which ones you like best.
Find out more about the iPad
- Why Should I Buy An Apple Ipad?
Apple Ipad is all around the news nowadays. Read on to find out more about if/why you should buy one.
- The 5 Best Unintended Uses for the Apple iPad
It might feel like it's been forever since the release of Apple's iPad, but it hasn't taken long for its proud owners to display some of the stranger ways they've used the iPad...
Words of advice
Some words of advice for any future iPad users:
- Make sure you get one with enough memory for your needs. If you're using it for all of the above you probably shouldn't get the cheapest model.
- Consider whether or not you really need 3G. In the US, if you want 3G capability you have to pay monthly for a data plan even if you already have an iPhone.
- Invest in an iPad dock and silicone cover, but you probably don't need a screen protector.
- Do your research before buying loads of applications. Many great applications are free.
At our house, the iPad will never completely replace a laptop. However, it's a great little device if you love having the Internet at your fingertips, with the added bonus of all of the above features and more.
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