For some, the main question in buying an iPad is what model to purchase. For others, it is whether or not to buy an iPad at all. If you are in the latter camp, or if you've just bought an iPad and are still exploring the device, it might be handy to find out what the iPad can do for you. This list will go over some of the many uses for the iPad, including ways it can be used for entertainment as well as tasks it can do for business.
1. Browse the Web
One of the areas where the iPad really shines is web browsing. The 9.7-inch display is large enough that most websites look great without needing to zoom in and the 4:3 aspect ratio of the iPad's display is in line with how web pages are designed. The iPad's Safari browser is both fast and fully-featured, supporting multiple tabs, shared bookmarks and even the ability to open up a web page that is already open on another device, so long as it is open in the Safari browser. The App Store also includes several alternative browsers, including Google's Chrome browser.
2. Check Email
The iPad's Mail app supports most common email accounts, including Yahoo, Google, AOL, Hotmail, Microsoft Exchange, iCloud and most POP email accounts. The iPad has the same push notifications and alerts for new mail as found on the iPhone and most smartphones, so you'll always know when you have new mail. You can view mail in a consolidated inbox or in individual inboxes, and the Mail app fully supports sending, receiving, deleting and organizing email messages.
3. Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter have both been integrated with the iPad, which makes it easier to share photos, web pages and status updates with your friends and family. Both Facebook and Twitter have official apps that are free to download in the App Store, and because they are integrated, you don't even need to load these apps to complete some tasks. For example, once you have connected Twitter to your iPad, you can share a photo with your followers directly from the iPad's Photos app. And you can do the same for sharing to Facebook.
4. Replace Your Laptop
For many people, browsing the web, checking email and connecting with friends and family on Facebook is most of what they need in a PC, especially in a laptop. If you don't use your laptop for work and if you aren't into PC gaming, there's a good chance the iPad could replace your laptop. The rest of this list contains some of the other tasks the iPad can perform, so if you do have uses beyond web browsing, email and Facebook, you can find out if the iPad can serve as a replacement.
Can it replace your desktop PC? Perhaps. There's no reason to plug the iPad into a PC, and it can actually back itself up over the Internet via Apple's iCloud. But the lack of abundant storage may be a problem for those who have a large collection of digital music, movies and photos, though there are alternatives such as cloud storage services.
5. Play Games
The iPad may be known best for casual games like Angry Birds, Where's My Water? and Temple Run, but it has quite a few titles that would even satisfy a hardcore gamer. If your an avid gamer, it may not replace your XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3, but it can easily replace your portable consoles like the PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS.
6. Turn the iPad Into an Old-Fashioned Arcade Game
The iPad and iPhone have built up their own ecosystem. And this ecosystem isn't just limited to a lot of cool apps that cover a wide range of uses. It also extends to interesting and outright cool accessories. And for anyone that misses the days of coin-op arcade games like Asteroids and Pac Man, ION's iCade is a pretty cool accessory. It essentially turns your iPad into an old-fashioned arcade game. You can check it out on their website or see it in action.
7. Watch Movies, TV and YouTube
The iPad really excels in the area of Movies and TV, with the ability to buy or rent from iTunes, stream movies from Netflix or Hulu Plus or watch free movies on Crackle. And while the iPad doesn't support Flash video, a popular video format on the web, it does support YouTube both from the Safari browser and the downloadable YouTube app.
But it doesn't stop with video streaming apps. You can also "sling" the video from your cable box to your iPad via the SlingPlayer or Vulkano Flow, both of which allow you to watch anything you can see on your TV on your iPad by sending the video to your device even when you are not at home. And with EyeTV Mobile, you can add live TV without hijacking your cable signal.
8. Listen to Music and the Radio
The iPad makes a great music player, and it is as fully functional as the iPhone or iPod. You can even sync it with iTunes or your PC and gain access to your custom playlists or simply use the Genius feature to create a custom on-the-fly playlist. But listening to your own music collection is only one way to enjoy music on the iPad. There are a ton of great apps that allow streaming music or grant access to Internet radio, including Pandora, IHeartRadio and Slacker Radio.
9. Read Books
Do you like to curl up to a good book? Amazon's Kindle may get all the press, but the iPad makes a great eBook reader. And in addition to buying books in Apple's iBooks app, you have access to all of your Kindle titles via the iPad Kindle app and even books from Barnes and Noble's Nook. This makes the iPad a great platform for reading books from a variety of different sources. You can even sync your books from Kindle to the iPad, so you can pick up where you left off no matter which device you use.
10. Help Out in the Kitchen
While we are on the subject of books, the iPad can also do great things in the kitchen. There are a variety of apps like Epicurious and Whole Foods Market Recipes that take the idea of a cookbook to the next level. Not only can you use the apps to find recipes with certain ingredients, like searching for chicken recipes or a great dinner that includes fresh salmon, but you can also search based on dietary needs, such as gluten free recipes.