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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

Even if you've got a newer iPad at home, keeping the original may be a better idea than getting rid of it — especially if your household has more than one computer user or you have tech-savvy friends.

It's a fact that iOS users are pretty quick to update to the latest version of iOS, with 71% of the entire base moving to iOS 7 within the first month of release. Apps get updated continuously, and it's been my experience that they generally have a remarkable life span, even after several iOS updates. And that doesn't even include the apps that shipped with the first iPad. They may be older versions, but they're still more than usable. And useful. The well-stocked App Store means there are a vast array of apps that still work well on the original iPad.

A coffee table iPad
Without a doubt, a first-generation iPad makes a perfect guest or coffee table computer. Thanks to Apple's stubborn push for HTML5 support in general, and web standards that do not rely on third-party plug-ins in particular, my old 64GB iPad is still perfect for impromptu bursts of web browsing. It's instant-on nature, long battery life and longevity while in standby/sleep makes it easier to maintain than a traditional Windows PC, and having online information at your fingertips is a boon for guests, young and old. By now, almost everyone knows how to use an iPad.

The iPad may not be a snappy as the Air, but it still wakes from sleep quickly, which is exactly what you want from a communal computer. One tap brings up Safari, and in concert with apps in the App Store, you can use it to look up just about anything: answers to trivia, movie information, the name of that song you can't remember or anything else on the web.

The white iPad (on top of the original iPad in this image) weighs a half pound less than its ancestor and has a better screen, a faster chip and, of course, two cameras. But that doesn't make the first iPad obsolete.

The iPad is also well suited for use as a stationary screen, fixed in place for quick access when needed. There are myriad docks, mounts and stands available, many of them useful for technicians and mechanics referencing take-apart guides; for cooking in the kitchen; for musicians who need sheet music displayed; or for power users who need an extra screen.

Netflix works just fine on the old iPad (though you don't get the Retina display newer models offer).

A mini TV
From my own perspective, the first-generation iPad is still great for watching movies and TV shows, listening to podcasts, or, if you don't mind reading on back-lit screens, perusing an ebook. There are plenty of apps on this front, from iBooks to Kindle to Nook to whatever you like.

 

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