10 ways to repurpose your old iPad

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Every year, Apple releases a new iPad—and every year, iPad lovers wrack their brains for reasons why they absolutely must have that new iPad. If you already own an Apple tablet, it can be tough to justify replacing that old iPad with the latest version.

But what if you could repurpose that old iPad, that two-year-old iPad, the one without a Retina display, a speedy processor, or a 4G connection? You can. Here are 10 things you can do with your old iPad so you can go buy a new iPad worry-free. Sort of.

1. Use your iPad as an extra monitor

Wishing you had a sleek, expensive touchscreen monitor? You can turn your old iPad into just such a monitor by using a simple app and a Wi-Fi connection. The $20 Air Display works with a free desktop client (available for both PC and Mac) over a Wi-Fi network to turn your iPad into a second (or third, or fourth) monitor.

Air Display is easy to set up: Just install the desktop client, install the iPad app, and connect them to the same Wi-Fi network. You can then right-click on the Air Display icon in the system tray and select your iPad to connect it to your computer. Air Display acts just as a second monitor does—you can adjust the position in the Display Settings menu, and mirror the desktop—and you can still tap-to-click using the iPad's touchscreen.

2. Mount your iPad in your car

Who needs a fancy built-in infotainment system when you have an old iPad sitting around?

You have two ways to mount your iPad in your car: You can mount it in the front, where the driver can access it and use it to look up addresses, play music, and watch streaming video (not that you should be doing that while you're driving). Or you can mount it in the back so that passengers can watch videos or play games.

If you want to mount it in the front, consider investing in a car mount from RAM Mounts. RAM has assorted mounts that attach to various parts of your car—the windshield, the seat rail, or the passenger seat, for example—depending on where you want the iPad to be.

If you want to mount your iPad on the back of a seat, the TFY Car Headrest Mount Holder costs just $13 on Amazon. It holds your iPad and straps around any headrest so that your kids can enjoy video, games, or other entertainment apps.

If you're looking for something even more integrated, you can have your iPad professionally installed in your car's dashboard, though this procedure will cost you quite a bit more than a strap accessory.

3. Distract your children and/or cats

Kids and cats love iPads. Child-proof your tablet by enclosing it in a drop-proof case (preferably one that also has a screen cover), erasing all of your personal information (the last thing you want is your toddler accidentally sending email to your work clients), and downloading some kid-friendly apps, and then let your little ones go wild. Remember to enable the iPad's parental controls to prevent your children from accessing things you don't want them to access.

We bet you can come up with plenty of fun games for your kids, but check out Bartleby's Book of Buttons ($3), PBS Kids Video (free),  and Finding Nemo: My Puzzle Book ($1).

If you have cats instead of kids, try Game for Cats, Cat Toy, and Pocket Pond HD, all of which are free. For maximum durability and continued entertainment, invest in a good iPad screen protector that can stand up to plenty of pawing and the occasional claw.

4. Use it as a news dashboard

Your old iPad might be too slow to run the latest games, but it can still serve up all sorts of useful information. With an app like Statusboard ($10), your iPad can provide you with an overview of the latest headlines in your RSS reader, for example, or your Twitter stream, today's weather, your calendar, and so on. And you can mix and match different streams of information to make the app best fit your needs.

Mount your iPad to your bedroom wall or place it on a stand at ypour kitchen table, and you have a quick and easy way to scan headlines before you head out to work every morning.

5. Read magazines at the gym

E-readers, such as the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook, are awesome if you're seeking to replace physical books with digital versions. But while electronic-ink screens are easy on the eyes, they aren't always ideal for every situation--like when you want to read a vibrant, colorful magazine in all its eye-popping printed glory.

The iPad is especially useful as a reading device in situations where turning the page isn't always an easy thing to do, such as when you're running on the treadmill at the gym. Unlike a paper magazine, an iPad fits neatly on a treadmill or elliptical stand, and doesn't require page-flipping.

Many magazines offer tablet editions with extra features or content.

Many magazines (such as PCWorld, The New Yorker, People, Self, and Sports Illustrated) offer stand-alone apps, while others are available on Zinio, which is sort of like a digital newsstand. The good news: Many magazines with stand-alone iPad apps, such as The New Yorker and Self, let print subscribers access the digital editions for no additional charge.

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