8 Very Cool Things You Should Be Doing With Your IPad But Aren't

When I first got an iPad, I honestly didn’t think I would use it all that much. (Mine was given to me by a family member who had just upgraded to a fancier model. Yes, I’m lucky!) But, like, what was I going to do with it? How was I going to even begin to figure out the best iPad apps? There are apps for insomnia, and everything else from tips for fighting acne, to children’s shoe shopping. But I have been shocked by how handy it has been, and how integral it’s become to my daily life. I use it as an eReader, a comic book reader, an in-flight entertainment system, and Tetris machine (because Tetris is the BEST). It’s helped me to separate my work life and personal life: All of my work happens on my laptop, while my iPad is where I spend way too much time reading blogs (way, WAY too much time). In short, I'm pretty happy I have an iPad now, despite not really being the jazzed about it in the beginning.

The number of apps that are available for the iPad can be really overwhelming. But although the iPad seems poised to take over every aspect of our lives, there are some clever uses out there for tablets that you might not have thought of. Read on for some ideas about how you can get more out of your iPad, most of which happen to be either inexpensive or free.

1. Mount it on your wall

There are lots of ways to mount your iPad on your wall. You can purchase a number of mounts or go the DIY route with some simple Velcro. Having your iPad on the wall opens up some cool possibilities for its use: You could use it to display rotating art or photos, as a communal calendar, as a hands-free cookbook, or simply as a clock.

2. Computerize your car

Lifehacker shows how one ambitious DIYer used his tablet as a navigation system for his car by mounting it to his dashboard. You could also connect it to your car’s sound system and replace your stereo.

3. Use it as a game for your cat

jashmenn on YouTube

You can buy the “iPad Game for Cats” in the iTunes App store. You may want to outfit your iPad screen with a plastic cover before letting your cat go to town on it.

4. Use your iPad as a second monitor

If you want a second monitor for your computer, you can download the app Air Display 2 for about ten bucks. The video above explains how it works.

5. Access your computer from anywhere

iTeleport is an app that lets you access your computer from your iPad or iPhone. There are lots of ways this function could be useful. For instance, you can retrieve and work on documents, or run programs on your home computer.

6. Turn your computer into an old school arcade

futuretronics1979 on YouTube

With Arcadie, you actually put your iPad mini into a tiny arcade machine, complete with joystick. Let your '80s nostalgia go wild!

7. Use it to pretend you are on Ellen

TheEllenShow on YouTube

Heads Up! is a game released by Ellen DeGeneres that essentially uses the iPad as a game piece. The game is sort of like Charades: One player holds the iPad to his or her head and a word appears on it that other players can see. The other players act out the word to try to get the first person to guess it; that person skips or moves onto new words by tilting his or her head (and thus the iPad) back and forth. The fun thing is that the game uses the iPad’s camera to film the people acting out the words, so that you can watch it later and make fun of them.

8. Interact with your books

AtomicAntelope on YouTube

There is a small, but very cool, subgenre of books that use the interactive capabilities of the iPad to enhance their narratives. These books let you manipulate images, click on hyperlinks, hear sound, and do lots of other things that you can't do with your normal paperback. Alice for the iPad (featured above) is an early, and still very cool, example.

Image: Getty Images; Steve Garfield/Flickr