What Do You Use Your iPad For?

Last week, a co-worker spotted me in the hall and said, “I see you with your iPad all the time. What do you really use it for?”


As it turns out, my iPad and I had been the focus of a lunch table conversation. Beyond watching movies or reading books on it, people just couldn’t imagine what my iPad and I do together all day long.


It’s a fair question — and one that many potential iPad owners might ask. So, in order of frequency, here’s what I actually use my iPad for:


1. Reading books using the Amazon Kindle app. I also read Wired Magazine.


2. Surfing the web using Safari.


3. Tweeting tweets to Twitter (which are then automatically posted to Facebook as status updates) using Echofon.


4. Quickly browsing more than 50 web sites to find just the articles I want to read using the Reeder RSS feed reader. (And reading longer articles I’ve saved to read later using Instapaper.)


5. Checking and composing email. This includes blogging via email using Posterous.


6. Sharing photos with friends and family. People love looking at photos on the big, bright, iPad screen.


7. Taking meeting notes (and maintaing lists of books to read, movies to see, and music to download) using SimpleNote.


8. Drafting chapters of my next book using Simplenote (but soon switching to Chapters, once it has DropBox integration).


9. Researching vacation destinations and building a database of places to go and things to see using Evernote.


10. Keeping track of my ToDo list using Things.


11. Tracking my blood pressure, heart rate, and weight over time using HeartWise.


12. Browsing photos other friends have taken and shared using FlickPad.


13. Reading the news using the USAToday, Digital Post, and New York Times Editor’s Choice apps.


14. Checking the weather using Weather HD.


15. Getting directions from Maps.


16. Reading and studying the Bible using BibleXPress.


17. Getting 50-60% off meals using ScoutMob coupons, plus finding nearby eateries with Urbanspoon.


18. Checking multiple gmail accounts with MailWrangler.


19. Doing Tarot readings with TarotHD.


20. Doing iChing readings with Yi Jing.


21. Playing Angry Birds, Osmos HD, or fiddling with Gravilux.


22. Listening to music on Pandora, generating ambient music using Somnium, playing music on the Air Harp, or interacting with music, light, and sound using Bloom HD.


23. Making phone calls via Skype.


24. Chatting with friends on multiple chat platforms using Meebo.


25. Streaming video from my desktop machine to my iPad using AirVideo.


26. Browsing YouTube video and downloading local copies of videos I like using MiTube. (Heh heh heh.)


27. Brainstorming with iMandalArt, Priority Matrix, Popplet, iThoughtsHD, or Oblique Strategies.


28. Tweaking photos with PhotoPal, PhotoFX Ultra, PhotoPad, PhotoForge, and Filterstorm.


29. Controlling the Mac Mini hooked up to our TV using TouchPad.


30. Browsing Craigslist for deals using CraigsPro.


Increasingly, the easier question to answer is, “What *don’t* you use your iPad for?”

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.


  • Do you find yourself using your iPhone less and the iPad more? I assume based on your getting the iOS Clearwire solution you went with a wi-fi only iPad?

  • Hi, Brian. Thanks for the question!

    Actually, I find myself using the iPhone and the iPad (which is wi-fi only) for different things, at different times of day.

    – First thing in the morning, I have a habit of checking emails on the iPhone. It just feels faster and easier. Later, I compose replies at my computer or on my iPad. 

    – I tweet from my iPhone far more than I tweet from my iPad. (And because so many friends and I keep in touch with SMS text, the iPhone is the best solution for that.)

    – I take a *lot* of photos, and so I use my iPhone constantly for those.

    – During the day at work, I tend to rely more on my iPhone to check in on Reeder RSS articles.

    – I always use my iPhone for things like ScoutMob (the discounting dining app) or UrbanSpoon, but this is mostly out of habit.

    – Research, though — trip planning, for example, or deciding which gadget to buy — is always done on the iPad, because the iPhone seems too small of a window on the information Im chasing. 

    – When reading books, I far prefer the iPad … unless Im outside. Then, because the iPad screen is so reflective, I find I switch to the iPhone!

    Looking at this, some patterns emerge. When mobility is most important, I default to the iPhone. When visibility is most important, Im using the iPad. When Im outside, I prefer the iPhone, but when indoors, I prefer the iPad. When Im on the go, I tend to default to the iPhone. When Im fairly stationary, I default to the iPad.

    So: rather than saying Im using one less (though, of course, I am, in a way, because now I have options I didnt have before!), Id say Im using both, more often, but differently. 🙂

Who Wrote This?

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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