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Friday, April 09, 2010

Uses for an iPad in our home

A lot has been said about the iPad and whether it's worth getting or not. That discussion is irrelevant in my case right now because a) I don't have the cash handy for one and b) they're not yet easily available in SA yet (unless you count the exhorbitantly priced imports from the likes of and
That said, based on how useful Nat's netbook has become to have around the house, and what I've seen of the device's capabilities here are (some) of the ways I could see us using it at home if I could get my hands on one:
  • For videos: I'm generally opposed to the idea of a TV in the bedroom, but we've found the netbook is great for watching YouTube and other online videos. The iPad would do this as well if not better (easier navigation without trying to use the touchpad and keyboard lying down).
  • For browsing and reading news,: Again this is a role the Mini 9 (and iPhone) fills well, but I can see the iPad being even more useful in this regard, especially when browsing while watching TV.
  • For radio: I already use the Shoutcast app in combination with a portable Shox speaker to enjoy the kind of radio programming that just isn't available in SA (even if we had decent FM reception in our area). I can see Nat using the iPad for 1920's radio network, myself for Streaming Soundtracks and all sorts of other audio without me having to 'sacrifice' use of my phone.
  • As a family calendar: We use a big paper calendar in the kitchen to keep track of stuff that we need to remember, and I am a heavy Google Calendar user. I can see the iPad replacing the calendar, and allowing me to set up a shared Google Calendar that I can access from my phone-saving me from 'manual synching'. We also use a paper birthday calendar, and between fbCal and Google Calendar the iPad would replace that too.
  • As a photo frame: Some of the smartest 'docks' for the iPad I have seen are ones designed to be used as a photo frame. This allows the 'pad to be charged while displaying a slideshow of photos on the device. Power leeching aside, this would be a really nice use, particularly when we have visitors and want to just flip through photos over drinks.
  • As a shopping list: We use a whiteboard in the kitchen to note down stuff that needs replacing, then when Nat does the shopping (yes, Nat does all the shopping, she doesn't like shopping with me 'cause I question every purchase :p ) she just notes down what's on there and has a list ready to go. Between Evernote, the iPad and our phones, I can see a perfect solution-especially if Evernote introduces digital ink support for their iPad client
  • For board games: Nat and I enjoy a good game of Scrabble, Monopoly or 30 seconds, and now that review sites are getting their hands on Scrabble and proving my suspicions about the suitability of the iPad to borad- and card gaming I can just see how we'd be giving all our boardgames to charity.
  • Oh, and some work too: Nat already uses the Netbook in conjunction with her big screen and separate keyboard and mouse for all her document work. It's not a big stretch to imagine using a decent bluetooth keyboard and VGA-out with the iPad to achieve the same.
From the above, I really can see the iPad as being a really useful, ubiquitous household computer. Do you have any additional unique uses you can see it being used for in a household context?

Posted via email from Matt's thoughts

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