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10 Fun iPad Tricks

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10 Fun iPad Tricks

Photo © Getty Images / Jose Luis Pelaez

One of the biggest selling points of the iPad is the large ecosystem of apps and accessories that make so many things possible, from watching TV on your iPad to watching your iPad on your TV. This list of fun iPad tricks will not only help you out with those two features, but give you some more ideas on how you can stun and amaze your friends, or at the very least, get the most out of your iPad.

Connect the iPad to your TV

Did you know you can get your iPad to output its display to your HDTV? There are actually a few ways to accomplish this trick, the easiest of which is to buy Apple's Digital AV Adapter. This adapter lets you plug your iPad into the HDMI input of your TV, and if you own an iPad 2, the TV will mirror the iPad's display. You can also accomplish this without the wires if you own AppleTV by letting AirPlay do the work.

More help on connecting the iPad to your TV

Use Home Sharing to stream your music and movies

There's no need to load your complete music and movie collections onto your iPad. Instead of taking of valuable storage space, you can use iTunes Home Sharing to stream your music and movies from your PC to your iPad. Home Sharing will work on both Macs and Windows-based PCs, and because your PC probably has a lot more storage space, it can hold a lot more music and movies. You can even combine this with the first trick and stream movies from your PC to your iPad to your HDTV.

How to setup and use Home Sharing

Watch TV on your iPad

There are a lot of great apps for viewing movies on your iPad, but what about watching cable television? There are a few ways you can get your favorite TV stations on your iPad, the best of which include the SlingPlayer and the Vulkano Flow. Both of these devices actually hook into your Cable TV, capture the video and sound and 'sling' it to your iPad via WiFi or 3G. Slingbox's SlingPlayer has a few more features, but the Vulkano Flow is the lightest on the wallet.

Use your iPad as a second monitor

This is a really neat trick. The iDisplay app will actually let you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac or Windows-based PC. Now, you aren't exactly going to be playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 using your iPad's display, but you can use it to browse the web or do less graphic-intensive. And the $5 the app will cost you beats the price of any monitor.

Plug your guitar into your iPad

The iRig and Gibson's GuitarConnect cable are both great ways to get hooked up, but once you've plugged your guitar into your iPad, you'll want to do something with it. The iShredLive app works great alongside the GuitarConnect cable, and it even works with Gibson's Stompbox, which lets you control which effects are active via a footpedal. But the Stompbox isn't quite as great as it seems, and another solid way to get plugged in is through the iRig and IK Multimedia's AmpliTube.

And while you won't exactly be throwing out that Boss multi-effects package or junking all of your foot pedals, the sound you get out of these apps is actually pretty good, if not quite stage-ready.

Print from your iPad

The iPad has a number of great productivity applications, from word processors to spreadsheets to photo editing software. But what good would they be without the ability to print? AirPrint was added to iOS's capabilities with the 4.2 update, and it allows you to print to a growing number of compatible printers.

Don't have an AirPrint-compatible printer? If you own a wireless printer, you may still be able to print to it. A number of printer manufacturers have added apps to the Apple App Store that allow pictures and documents to be sent to the printer.

A List of AirPrint-Enabled Printers

Control your PC with your iPad

We've talked about using your iPad as a second monitor, but what about controlling your PC with your iPad? Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a system that allows desktop sharing and can be used to allow the iPad to control your PC's desktop. Two great apps that are compatible with the VNC protocol are Mocha VNC Lite, which lets you take a test run for free, and Desktop Connect, which also supports Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP).

You may not be able to replace your PC with your iPad, but you can replace the need to sit down in front of your PC.

Control your cable TV

Everyone's worst nightmare: losing the cable remote. Okay, not everyone is quite as tied to cable TV, but I lost my remote briefly this summer. Instead of panicking, I just downloaded Verizon's FiOS Mobile from the app store. It's actually a pretty neat app that is useful even if you haven't lost your remote. Comcast customers can get in on the action as well with the Xfinity TV app, and Time Warner customers can not only change channels with the TWCable TV app, they can actually watch some stations on it. Don't fret, DirectTV customers. You have similar capabilities with the DirecTV app.

Turn Siri into a Man

Does Siri's voice grate on your nerves?  You aren't stuck with it.  The iOS 7 update introduced the ability to have Siri talk with a male voice.   You simply need to pop into the settings and flip a switch.   Find out how...

Make your iPad act like an Xbox 360 Kinect

While it's hard to recommend Fuego's River Adventure as a serious game, it does have one amazing thing going for it: the controller. Instead of on-screen controls, the game uses the front-facing camera to create an interface similar to the Xbox 360's Kinect. Standing about 4 feet away from the iPad, you control the game by moving to the left or to the right.

The game itself isn't all that amazing, but the end result is pretty neat. Worth the $1.99 price tag? That'll be something you have to judge, but I'd pay two bucks to watch my friends dance back and forth. I can just imagine the laughs when I post a video of it on Facebook.

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