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Still got a first-gen iPad? Don't ditch it yet

Michael deAgonia | Nov. 18, 2013
Even a three-year-old iPad still has a lot to offer

If your iPad is like mine, you'll find that the battery still holds up really well, and the fact that video is hardware accelerated — one of the reasons Apple execs pushed for the h.264 video codec — means there's less drain on the main processor, and less drain on the battery. The full library of videos available online from iTunes to Netflix to Hulu and beyond means there is always something to watch. And if you're going to be away from an Internet connection, you can download movies or TV shows to the iPad and watch them wherever you are.

In concert with an Apple TV-equipped HDTV, the iPad can also stream video to your TV. Actually, I'd be less bullish on the original iPad if it didn't support AirPlay. But since it does, the ability to wirelessly transmit to an Apple TV in the home is a plus in favor of keeping the iPad around.

Hand-me down iPad
The iPad can serve as a hand-me-down device that can grow with your child; there are cases that add bulk (and protection) to the iPad in kid-friendly designs that can be updated as needed. And the wealth of kid-oriented apps in the App Store means it will serve as a learning tool for as long as it's still working.

There's more than just kiddie apps and games; the iPad still has access to content on the completely underrated iTunes U. Apple calls iTunes U "the world's largest online catalog of education content," and this collection of lectures, course materials, books, videos and other assembled materials will help you learn about any topic you choose.

An extra iPad is a godsend if you have children and are often in the car; and there are some really great car accessories, from dash to headrest mounts, that make the iPad a great traveling companion. I won't lecture you on distracted driving, but I will warn that iPad will shut itself down if it becomes too hot, so don't leave it in direct sunlight. But if you're headed out on the road, and want to keep the kids in the backseat entertained, load up the iPad with movies or shows before you leave.

iTunes U allows any iPad, even the first-generation model, to become a learning tool.

As a 1.5-pound device, the original iPad is still lightweight enough to go almost anywhere. If you have a newer iPad, and you're traveling to rugged locations, take the old one with you. Between media, apps and ebooks, the older iPad is still an iPad and if you happen to drop it on a rocky slope, well, you still have the newer one back home.

 

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