Ten alternative uses for your Apple iPad

The Apple iPad hits the UK this month, but we still don't know what it's actually for. We pick ten of our favourite uses of the iPad that Steve Jobs never saw coming...

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
3 min read

The Apple iPad hits the UK at the end of this month, and there's been few devices more desired. But even after Apple head honcho Steve Jobs launched the iPad with talk of a third type of device somewhere in the tiny niche between your phone and your computer, we're still left scratching our heads and asking: what's it for?

Sure, we know all about the apps, and iWork, and ebook reading, and all that. But it has to be more than just a giant iPhone if it's to win our jaded gadget-love.

Fortunately, the Internet can answer all our questions. Many iPad users have come up with a host of ever-wackier ways of putting the iPad to work -- sometimes with the aid of power tools. We pick ten our of our favourite, taking in cyclists, skaters, DIYers, and all-round nutbars. Click 'Continue' for pictures and videos of the iPad used and abused in ways Steve Jobs never envisaged...

Cyclists, eh? You never notice them until you're right on top of them. Design agency Maya came up with the Sprocket Pocket, a wearable pocket that puts the iPad on your back as you pedal, allowing its app (iTunes link) to display turn signals and messages such as, "Back off, buddy!"

Apple's own iBook store won't open in the UK just yet, but that hasn't stopped Sunderland artist Dominic Wilcox coming up with a way to fit the iPad on to your bookshelf.

Hey boy, hey girl, superstar DJ... here we go! Donald Bell at our sister site CNET.com gets on the wheels of steel to try out apps that could turn the iPad into an essential DJ tool for mixmasters, decknicians, and chaps with mullets who do weddings.

"It's just a giant iPhone!" decried the decriers, when the iPad was unveiled -- and with VoIP apps such as Skype, it can indeed make calls. Complete the dog-and-bone experience with the Moshi Moshi Retro Handset, shown here with an iPhone. Just imagine a smaller handset.

Behold the iCade, effortlessly combining the retro thrills of arcade gaming with the bleeding-edge cool of the latest Apple gadget. Sadly it's an April Fool's gag by ThinkGeek, so it's not real. Yet.

We've heard all about the iPad's elegant surfing experience, but never anything about skating. Skaters Jeff King and Chad Knight apply some grip tape and an A-Team-style transformation to turn the iPad into a skateboard. Rad.

Spoof US newsman Stephen Colbert was one of the first people to play with an iPad at the Grammys, and he was also one of the first to push the boundaries of what you can actually use it for. Speaking of cooking...

You're whipping up some gourmet geek eats -- but both hands are occupied stirrin' an' stewin'. How do you hold your iPad at the same time? DIYer Alan Daly solves that problem, mounting his iPad in the door of a kitchen cabinet. Tasty.

Who said the Internet is a solitary, isolating experience? With SimulBrowse (iTunes link), two friends, family members or lovers can surf the Web on one iPad while sitting opposite each other, their eyes occasionally meeting for fun, friendship and maybe more.

If only tablets like the iPad could be more like laptops. Slide your iPad into a ClamCase, and you have all the advantages of a physical keyboard. Or you could just, y'know, buy a flippin' laptop.