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Pimp my iPad

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21 January 2011
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Release an awesome device, and it will get hacked. To bits. Let’s call it the law of hackability of awesomeness. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about all the weird and wonderful hacks out there for microsoft’s Kinect.

Today I’m having a stab at the iPad.

iPad hacking

Adding a Camera

The iPad launched without a camera. Nobody’s sure why, but it did.

Most speculators agree that this is the first thing that will be added in the much anticipated iPad 2. So, it makes sense that this would be the first thing that tinkerers would like to add to their iPads, especially since Skype already supports video on all iDevices.

The most common camera hacks use an iPhone or iPod touch 4G as a wireless camera:

(Some 3rd party products are also aiming at this market).

Taking this paradigm one step further, iPhone photographer Lee Morris uses a wifi enabled media card on his stills camera to send pictures to his iPad on the fly, as he takes them.

Application? Clients can monitor a professional photo shoot while it’s happening without interrupting the shoot or peeking over the photographer’s shoulders like monkeys.

Adding 3G Access

iPhones and iPads are not only combined to add a camera to an iPad.

Often the iPhone is hacked to provide tethered 3G access (that is, allowing other devices to use the iPhone’s 3G by turning the iPhone into a wireless access point), thus giving an iPad without 3G internet access on the go:

This is mostly done via a piece of software for jailbroken iPhones called MyWi. MyWi is not free, but of course (given the community we’re dealing with), there’s an easily accessible cracked version too.

Adding Multitasking

Taking the iPhone + iPad idea a few steps to the left, these guys DIY’d a clip that let you attach your iPhone to the side of your iPad, arguing that this provides a practical solution to the iPad’s lack of multitasking!

A bit less tongue-in-the-cheek, and more of an actual hack, the following procedure adds real multitasking to the iPad:

Then, of course, some people feel the need to hack the already jailbroken iPad to disable multitasking.

There’s just no pleasing everybody, is there?

Adding USB devices

Most USB hacks exploit the fact that the iPad camera connection kit seems to add a fully functional USB port to your iPad. This can be used to, for instance, extend storage:

The problem comes in when using USB devices that demand higher power delivery than the iPad dock can provide. This ingenious hack provides a very clever solution by using a USB splitter, and plugging the third port into a wall socket USB power adapter:

Making Music

A while ago, Robert Scoble interviewed Rhana Sobhany, the world’s first iPad DJ:

Synthesizer engineer Eric Persing, founder of Spectrasonics, built a weird and wonderful mashup of a Moog Little Phatty analogue synth, a Mac mini, two iPods and two iPads.

The king of cool in this section though, has to be DJ Kid Chameleon, who built himself a groove helmet out of a Macintosh Plus casing and an iPad:

Hardware Hacks

When the iPad came out, many people commented on the hardware hackability of the iPad, and predicted that a whole range of hardware hacks will see the light of day before the press release papers have properly cooled down.

It didn’t happen.

Except for this hack, which, quite ambitiously, replace the AT&T 3G hardware with much faster hardware from Verizon.

Oh yes, and finally there’s this iPad printing hack, which could maybe, by a long stretch of the imagination, be classified as a hardware hack:

How to print from an iPad


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