iPad tablet

After initial mockery, the iPad is enormously successful and it’s definitely here to stay. By Apple standards, as you know, this means that while there will always be an “iPad,” it will always be a full-price new one which is obsolete six months later.

It absolutely dominates the tablet computer market — mainly because it made people notice that there was such a thing — with a 95% market share and over 4 million iPads sold. This success has created a new problem for owners: it’s no longer impressive simply to own one. So, we’ve found seven even cooler things to do with it.

1. Netbook

A Retrovo study revealed that the iPad has cut into netbook sales. While the tablet’s no competition for a powerful laptop, what with the lack of keyboard or multi-tasking, the simple surfer and two-finger typist is easily swayed by the slick Pad. When you’re choosing between two options, though, the Smartlife Path is always a cunning combination of both!

Crux Case for iPad

Crux Case for iPad

The gorgeous Crux360 case is a netbook shell for your iPad. It automatically provides a protective clamshell case and a wireless keyboard to massively accelerate your on-the-go typing. It can also fold forwards or backwards to seal away the screen or reverse it into movie mode.

Crux Case in Movie Mode

Crux Case in Movie Mode

The best bit? No physical connections. It doesn’t even block the regular ports. The instant you feel like leaving the shell behind, you can slide out the sleek iPad and return to a regular tablet. At only $149.00 (they don’t even pull the usual .99 nonsense!), it’s essential for anyone using their iPad as a mobile computer.

2. Instant Order Menu

If you really want to know about the latest social technology applications, you have to ask “What is Japan doing?” Eating and drinking — that’s what!

iPad Menu

iPad Menu

Sharp has developed a universal menu app for iProducts which, when installed, will automatically scan any restaurant for its offerings. If the eatery uses the system, you’ll be able to instantly scroll through the menu and place your order. It’s not (yet) designed as a replacement for regular menus, because Jobs’ project to sell an iPad to everyone in the world is not (yet) complete, but for those who have it, the system is faster (you need never wait for a waiter, which is the wrong way around) and the electronic menu can be automatically updated with specials and happy hour prices.

3. An Entire Music Studio

Most gadgets want to attract the tech-using teenagers, but the iPad is so successful it’s beloved by tech-created teenagers. Gorillaz, the world’s most successful virtual band, recorded an entire album on iPads.

Gorillaz

Gorillaz

The band project consists of frontman Damon Albarn, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, and various guest-starring musicians appearing under the cover of animated bandmates. Albarn fell in love with the iPad and produced the recent album The Fall (released on Christmas Day) in just over a month using the following apps.

Gorillaz App List

Gorillaz App List

And, yes, those are all apps you can get right now. One of the most impressive is AmpliTube, an excellent first stop for any aspiring musician who wants to go high-tech with their sounds. You simply splice an iRig into your existing sound setup…

iRig Installation

iRig Installation

…and commence computer control of your music.

Amplitube Interface

Amplitube Interface

4. Super Speakers

Of course there’s equipment for those who just want to listen to music too. While stupid simple iPod docks are ten-a-penny (and mostly still not worth the money), Bang & Olufsen’s epic BeoSound 8 succeeds by scaling up the speakers to match the massive iPad!

BeoSound

Behold the BeoSound!

The legendary sound-station comes with twin double-amped 70-watt speakers, and is equipped with USB and aux-in because this is not merely for Apple products. This isn’t a gimmick for iFans. This is sonic joy for for anyone who can afford its $1,400 majesty.

5. 3D Light Painting

Berg London and Dentsu London showed off their stuff with this beautiful 3D light painting. That’s because their stuff consists of design consultancy and creative communications, making this a better skills demonstration than a bartender mixing the cure to cancer.

3D Light Painting

3D Light Painting

A simple iPad program cuts the 3D objects into 2D planes, and is then dragged across the canvas…or as we might call it, “reality.” The long-exposure camera records everything, blurring moving objects into the background, while the bright text leaves a shining trail of pure light.

6. Portable Presentations (and Cinema Screen)

They aren’t exactly art, but PowerPoint presentations can be much more profitable. This single fact is responsible for most of the conference room boredom on Earth. You can still make the most of this horrible economic truth with the MicroVision’s SHOWWX+ pico projector.

Pico Projector

Pico Projector

It might seem considerably overnamed, with a six0character acronym heavy on the high-scoring Scrabble letters (and a plus symbol to boot), but when you can project 100 inches at 5000:1 contrast on any surface (curved and angled as well thanks to an “infinite focus” mode), you can call yourself what you’d like. We’ll settle with “Cool.”

It’s hilarious, though, how they’re already calling themselves “pico” projectors, as if even nano-tech is old when their hardware is still on the centi-scale. But that’s the point: it’s at the centi-scale, able to fit in your pocket, and they need to call attention to that however they can. And at $450, so can you. Take it home to for “research use,” which may or may not involve Hollywood or larger-than-life-sized Angry Birds.

7. Pinball!

That’s more than enough pretending to work. By this point, your boss is either gone or reading the article too, so let’s look at a gloriously enjoyable example of pointless madness: using the very latest in high-tech consumer electronics to resurrect a retro mechanical machine.

iPad Pinball Machine

iPad Pinball Machine

This incredible “appcessory” so incredible it actually makes up for that horrible non-word, works with the Pinball Magic app to create your very own mini pinball table. If it was any cuter or more retro-entertainmenty, it’d be Baby Mario. Sure, you can play the pinball program without the table, but playing pinball without the finger buttons is like listening to Rachmaninoff on a cellphone speaker.

Image credit: killerbayer / iStockphoto

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