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Convert an old iPad into a dedicated e-reader

Steve Sande, @stevensande
July 10, 2012
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When iOS 6 arrives later this year, iPad pioneers who are still using their first-generation devices will find that they can't upgrade to the new operating system. If you're not handing that iPad over to your kids (or parents), you might wonder what you can do with the device. Sure, you could still run iOS 5 and all of your previous apps, but Macworld's Lex Friedman has a better idea -- turn that old iPad into a dedicated e-reader.

While you can buy an Amazon Kindle for as little as US$79, there are some advantages to using an iPad as an e-reader. Compared to its one-trick brethren, the iPad has a more powerful processor, a brighter display, and the advantage of multi-touch gestures. On the other hand, that inexpensive Kindle is much lighter and more readable in daylight...

Should you decide to keep the iPad as a Kindle substitute, Friedman suggests paring the distracting apps down to a minimum, disabling notifications (or even setting the device to Airplane Mode so it can't access the Internet), and locking the screen orientation.

For software, there are plenty of reading apps -- Amazon's Kindle Reader, Apple's iBooks, Newsstand, Zinio, and even Nook and Kobo. Reading content from the Web is easy with apps like Instapaper ($3.99), Pocket (free), and Readability (free).

What about you? Do you have a first-generation iPad that you'll be replacing? What are your ideas for repurposing that hardware? Leave us a note in the comments.

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