Ten Ways My iPad Paid For Itself

Derek Ouellette —  June 13, 2012

Sometimes I hesitate telling people how much I paid for my iPad. When the conversation inevitably ends with, “so what’d this cost ya?” I stumble my way through: “ah, well, upwards to $900.” Followed by a quick, “but I bought my wife’s iPad2 for only $450!”

Mine is the new iPad 4G with 32GB. It’s an expensive piece of machinery, but I’d say it’s worth every penny just for its functionality, which would have been good enough. The iPad is worth it for it’s own sake. But the iPad goes beyond that and actually pays you back, in a sense. It pays for itself thanks to it’s versatility. It has paid for itself because it’s more than a “computer” (I always get, “is the iPad basically a computer”).

Here are ten ways my iPad has paid for itself:


The price for digital photo-frames has gone down significantly in the past year, but a good one today costs on average of about $150 (retail value). If you sit your iPad upon it’s stand and press the “Picture Frame” button it transforms into a digit photo-frame that looks really slick (especially the black ones). You can create photo albums on your iPad by taking pictures or putting pictures on it than choose which albums you want to run through the slideshow.

2. IT’S A CELL PHONE: $100

My Palm Pre has met it’s end. I have six months before I’m eligible for a hardware upgrade. That means I’m paying for a cell phone that doesn’t work. But no worries, iPad to the rescue. There’s a free app I downloaded called “Magic Jack.” With it I can make and receive calls and I don’t pay a thing for it. Sure I don’t put it up to my head and walk around the mall talking on it (that’s a good thing. I wish most people would stop walking around the mall while talking on their phones. Less bodily collisions that way.) But if I’m out somewhere and need to make a call, I can. It’s about the same value as a cheap cell phone, but without the monthly bill or pay-as-you-go costs.


Apple installed a wicked sweet HD camera on the back of the new iPad. When it came out many reviewers commented rather snarky that they would never use the iPad as a camcorder. But I love using mine as a camcorder. I recorded this experimental video for work on it (Cameron’s Warehouse Sale Virtual Tour 2012), and at family events my iPad is always ready for a recording when no camcorder can be found. Sure I’m not going to put it up on a tripod and record somebodies wedding with it, but for what I do use it for, it’s the value of a decent digital camcorder.

4. IT’S AN HD CAMERA: $150

The same goes for the iPad as a camera. The fact is, where is a camera when you need one?! Most people use their phones now. I use my iPad so that I can create quick slideshows at family functions with iMovie for iPad or set it up as a digital photo-frame right then and there.

5. IT’S AN IPOD: $150

I’m not going to go jogging with it, but I do enjoy sitting it next to me and turning on “Music” when I’m working on the computer or cleaning a particular room or hanging out with friends. Plus, I don’t need headphones.


I’ve always wanted one of these. Now I have one. I can play a movie anywhere. But actually the iPad goes beyond just being a portable DVD player. With the Apple TV I can stream my movie to my flat-screen TV via wifi in which the iPad becomes the remote control (I can do the same thing with Youtube videos and home made videos).

7. IT’S A GPS: $150

We have a small car with not a lot of storage space. I leave my GPS at home and only take it with me when we’re going on a trip. But I can’t tell you how often I think I know where something is or where someone lives only to discover while enroute that I can’t find it. No worries. Pull up the free YellowPages app or Safari and do a google search, then click “directions” and “take me there.” Alternatively you can just use the “Maps” app or download a specific GPS app (I haven’t felt the need to do that myself).

8. IT’S A BIBLE: $50

There are many free Bible apps for the iPad. I use the free “ESV Bible” app and leave my Bible at home on Sunday mornings (even when I preach).


I don’t think the iPad can be compared to a PS3 or XBox (yet!), but it’s certainly vying for the runnings. Developers who traditionally focused on console systems have turned their attention to the iPad and developed some sweet games that graphically compete. For my own part, I enjoy fishing, hunting and racing games. Can you play with your iPad games on a TV? You can if you have an Apple TV. But can you play your PS3 through a projector? Yes, with some work you can make it happen. But at church all I do is plug the projector into my computer, than mirror my iPad to it. Viola, my iPad becomes the controller and we’re playing on the (really!) big screen in the middle of a large room.


I just wanted to throw this in. I downloaded a really cool alarm clock app for free and it has more or less replaced the one on my bedside. Plus, because it’s an iPad and not just an alarm clock it has a bunch of extra cool features. I also wanted to add that there’s a really cool calculator app for the iPad which I love using over any other calculator I have access to at work.

That is $1,350 I saved! And that’s just scratching the surface of the iPad’s versatility and not including its expected functionality (internet, documents, calendar and so on).

For anyone who’s asking, “Is the iPad worth it?” I’d say it’s more than worth it. It pays you back with interest!

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.