10 amazing things to do with a tablet

6 Jul 2012

Nicole Kobie uncovers ten unexpected ways tablets are being used, from creating fine art to giving disabled children a voice

When Steve Jobs first held up the iPad, the initial response of many was: what am I going to do with that? Time magazine said, “nobody – not even Jobs, by his own admission – is sure what consumers will use the iPad for”.

The Independent declared: “looks cool, but what’s it for?” The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, wondered if it was “another solution without a problem; a product without a market?”

The common complaint was that the tablet was merely for consuming content. Even Apple merely pushed the iPad as a supersized way to use apps, browse the web, send email, and interact with content such as photographs, music and movies.

Nobody – not even Jobs, by his own admission – is sure what consumers will use the iPad for

Now, the iPad and rival Android tablets are being used for vastly more astounding tasks than updating a Twitter feed. We’ve uncovered ten of the most intriguing, creative ways to use apps on a tablet; the world may not have known what to do with a tablet at first, but it very quickly figured it out.

Manage a sports team

In a world where football teams pay players £20,000 a week to sit on the bench, spending £600 on an iPad app isn’t as outlandish as it may seem to the rest of us. The Performa Sports app allows coaches to monitor the performance of their players in detail, recording every misplaced pass, sliding tackle or wayward shot with the touch of a finger.

Attempting to record stats during a live match with Performa is impossible; it requires three taps to merely record a successful pass. To track player performance with accuracy, stats will have to be input from a video recording of the match, which is labour-intensive: Liverpool FC’s fan site, AnfieldIndex, claims it took them around eight hours to input an entire match.

Once complete, the performance metrics available for each player make the effort worthwhile, giving coaches a barrage of data about the performance of individual players and the team as a whole.

Upload the match video via iTunes and the app really comes to life. You can filter results to every misplaced shot made by a striker, and watch a clip of each at the tap of a finger, allowing said player and coaches to identify and correct poor technique.

Performa Sports

Giving children a voice

With email, videoconferencing and the internet, tablets are a handy communication tool, but they’re especially useful for those who can’t speak.

Through apps such as Speak for Yourself, autistic children and others with learning difficulties have been using tablets to communicate with parents and carers.

The app’s screen is covered in tiles with symbols representing words, letting children put together sentences that are then read out. While it costs £199, the app is a relative bargain compared to hardware-based alternatives – and is sadly at the centre of a patent battle that could see it pulled from the App Store.

Speak For Yourself

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