Evolving Uses for the iPad

I’ve had the iPad for nearly two months now, and am finding a pattern of use. However I think this pattern of use will differ for different people according to their preferences and lifestyle.

iPad Geocaching


Geocaching (see photo). OK, it looks a little odd to be trekking through the woods holding what looks like a giant iPhone, but the GPS works really well and as my iPhone is an early 3G model, I found it useful to pull out the iPad periodically as the map orients itself according to the direction you are facing. Sim card not essential for this, as you can download Geocaching info and maps using wifi, but it did help.

In car navigation. When not driving, it was tremendously helpful to be able to pull out the iPad and look up where we needed to go. Indeed, en route for our holiday, we got to around lunchtime and I used it to look up a nice pub in the vicinity and navigate us there. It was a bit irritating, but understandable, that it would show all nearby pubs including those that were behind us, but it was still very useful. Sim card essential.


Holiday. 3G was very useful enabling us to look up places of interest, opening times etc. You could also do this with a laptop but you’d need wifi or tether it to a phone. An iPhone also provides this functionality, but I’ve been finding that for many things, the slightly larger iPad screen makes it the first choice over the iPhone.


Train journeys. Had to commute to London for 5 days last week and the iPad was brilliant. It was lighter to carry and easier to pull out in a crowded train to check email etc. The journeys passed in an instant. I was also able to upload PDFs and papers I wanted to read and read them easily in the train. I wouldn’t tend to use the iPad for reading because I like to give my eyes a rest from the screen periodically, but it was good to have this facility there for the train journeys.

iPad book reader My husband had a book reader which he used of flights. He now uses the iPad in preference so clearly it performs well as a book reader.

Recently my husband had to go to the US on a 10 hour flight. He found the iPad lasted the entire time, despite watching a film on it and also playing a driving game.

Films and TV

I tried out the BBC iPlayer to see if it worked, and got absorbed by the programme. Quality on the iPad seems pretty good and it is easy to lie down with it tucked beside you, or have it on your lap.


I don’t tend to use it for listening to music – I have an iPhone and a couple of iPod Nanos for that. Once function where small size is an advantage. However I do use it for learning tunes to play on the accordion from YouTube videos. The speaker is good enough and the screen size makes it better for learning dance tunes as you can see what the dancers are doing.

About Gill

Having worked as a Research Fellow with the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, I have now semi-retired but retained my association with the OU as an Honorary Associate.
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