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Gadgets your iPad can replace



So you’re thinking about getting an iPad, but you can’t quite justify the cost. Or you’re wondering what everyone else sees in this overpriced gadget. Either way, here are a few usage scenarios that you might consider.

eReader: Okay, just getting the obvious one out of the way first. In addition to the iBooks app, several other options exist including the Kindle app for Amazon’s books. The one that could lure me in is the Marvel Comics app (if DC Comics releases a competitor I will be completely enthralled).

GPS: Yeah, another obvious one and one that already works well on an iPhone, but the bigger screen, speedy rendering, and lack of phone call interruption could make the iPad a more compelling option for some (though only the 3G version).

Digital picture frame: I’d never buy one myself, but other people seem to love digital picture frames. If you’re one of them, you might be interested to know the iPad can function as a digital picture frame when locked. Just lock the screen, wake the iPad, tap the flower icon on the right, and a slideshow of your photos will run. Just be sure you select the right photo group. Check the end of chapter 5 in the iPad user’s guide for details.

Extended display: Seems the system still has some bugs to work out, but the promise of iDisplay is to turn an iPad into an extended display for your Mac (and eventually PC). Even if they don’t get the all kinks hammered out, you know someone else will.

Universal remote: There are already various VNC, home automation, and remote control solutions that work great on the iPhone. Now imagine that with space for an on-screen display and bigger controls. If you’re rolling in the big money, you could replace a ton of remote controls with one iPad (or just a handful if you’re in the middle money range).

Cheap mobile hotspot: Though not official yet, you can bet the iPad will get jailbroken, opening the door for PDAnet to turn it into a mobile hotspot. No guarantees this will happen, but the possibility of a no-contract, cut-rate mobile hotspot is extremely enticing.

With the exception of the latter one (and possibly the universal remote, if I had a lot of stuff to control), I wouldn’t count any one of these individual options as a compelling reason to get an iPad. But together, you’re looking at real value compared to buying such gadgets individually. And of course, that’s on top of using it as a music player, web browser, email station, etc., etc.



  1. josh

    04/03/2010 at 8:19 pm

    Was it Barnum and Bailey or Jobs that said “an Apple FanBoy is born every minute”.

    • ChrisRS

      04/04/2010 at 7:16 am

      Incorrectly attibuted to P. T. Barnum

  2. Frank

    04/04/2010 at 3:01 am

    eReader: sadly it can’t replace a good eReader with such a low resolution transmissive display which will probably be useless outdoors. Strange that not a single article mentioned how it performs outdoors in bright direct sunlight or below a neon bulb, is the display reflective? Seems so, I don’t expect that it has such a good AR coating as the Motion J3400 or Lenovo X201t outdoor has.

    GPS: I prefer a smartphone for this. More handy (how do you attach an iPad to your car, bike, pocket?), better software, more functions, and I don’t have to buy a special 3G model.

    Digital Picture Frame: That’s a joke, or? You forgot to add paperweight to your list of gadgets your iPad can replace.

    Extended display: Sorry Sumocat, I thought you were a bit better technical skilled. This app, is a joke. Even if it works with proper drivers, it will still be very laggy and useless, you can’t use WiFi to extend a display. Or do you like workig over VNC? I don’t, it’s just too slow for my taste.

    Universal remote: That’s an expensive bulky remote.

    Cheap mobile hotspot: Cheap and Apple, two thing which don’t fit.

    So all in all I hope you’ve written this article with a lot of sarcasm at the back of your mind.

    • Gavin Miller

      04/04/2010 at 4:30 am

      Come on Frank, the point is Sumocat was demonstrating some diverse uses of this SINGLE device.

      Honestly, we get it, it’s not perfect for everything, but a lot of people will enjoy using it.

      @ Josh, I’ve never got this ridiculous mentality regarding ‘Fanboy’ which seems to be the slander of choice, as if liking a gadget isn’t allowed!

      • Frank

        04/04/2010 at 6:48 am

        It would be ok if those were valid points, sadly these points are just stupid, ridiculous. A universal remote, digital picture frame, … that’s just stupid. The same as paper weight, flashlight, … No one pays >$600 or $700 to use it as a digital picture frame or universal remote.
        And most of the mentioned things just don’t work as he mentioned it, e.g. iDisplay, mobile hotspot.
        Only the eReader is the only real valid point, however, there’s the question how good it is, sadly no review really mentioned its eReading capabilty compared to real eReaders with eInk displays.

        Don’t ask me for valid points, I don’t know them. I would likely have a device, in the size and form of the iPad which I could use to take notes on it, and do more stuff than useless youtube movie watching, stressful web browsing on the couch (yes, it’s not comfortable for a longer period), playing expensive useless games which I can play for free on my PC and Adobe Flash.

        I really want to like the iPad, however, such articles just make the hype around it more and more idiotic.

        Instead of naming some real usage scenarios, just as it was done by Shogmaster on TPCR, thinking about using this device as an image viewing pad because of the used IPS display, Sumocat invented some idiotic nonsense reasons why someone must buy an iPad.

        Oh, and buy the latest Lamborghini, because it can replace your bottle opener, deckchair because you can lay down on the roof, or use the motor as an oven. Hello!?

        • ChrisRS

          04/04/2010 at 7:24 am

          The Logitech Harmony remote controls ($250 to $400 list) are pretty expensive. If this is one of several uses for an iPad, the price may not be out of line for a multi-task device. (I understand the the iPad would require add-on hardware, becoming even mord expensive.)

          I am not a “Fanboy” and really have no interest in an iPad for myself. We should be fair though; there are pepole the iPad will be a usefull gadget (tool?) for.

        • Sumocat

          04/04/2010 at 8:07 am

          Frank, now you’re just insulting both of us. Each of these ideas already work on the iPhone, albeit to lesser extent, so I certainly am not inventing them. They are completely rooted in reality and based on past events, not nonsense.

          As for the lagginess of extending a display over wifi, the typical uses of an extended display for PIM, text communication, etc., do not require lightning responsiveness. I personally would prefer to use the iPad as an independent secondary display to show that stuff, same as I do my iPhone, but this post is not only about what I’d personally do.

  3. Absolutely NoOne

    04/04/2010 at 7:25 am

    iDisplay would be a cool idea, but there are a few problems:
    1) Wifi… and therefore lag
    2) Only for Macs, at least as far as I’ve seen
    3) How are you going to attach the pad to your monitor? In the promo pictures, it just floats there. I guess it must be the magic.
    Also, that is one freakin’ huge remote control! or GPS!

  4. ZXT

    04/04/2010 at 7:31 pm

    I got to agree with Frank. It says “Gadgets your iPad can replace” but for $700 can you really say you will use it as a universal remote which you can get for $10? I mean how many times you lose grip of your remote and it fell to the ground? Will you risk your $700 doing that?

    Picture frame? I don’t know, as it will drain battery for no pathetic reason.

    Extended display? For under 10 inches, I don’t think thats a good idea. Extended displays usually larger than what you are using at the moment. Even my MSI netbook got a 12″ LED display.

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