I have an iPad 2 that sits in a stand on my office desk. It doesn’t go anywhere any more. It’s old and thrashed out, permanently plugged into power, jacked into the desktop speakers and good for very little. It is, essentially, a clever office radio.
It runs nothing but TuneIn Radio, SomaFM, my podcast app Downcast (which syncs with Downcast on my phone), and, in theory Bloomberg Radio+ and Monocle 24. Though I haven’t tried those two in a while.
The iPad is so old that it won’t run BBC Sounds. This is a sadness to me, but TuneIn, Soma and Downcast gives me more than enough.
Given that I probably picked this thing up in the summer of 2011 and that it was sunsetted by Apple in 2014, I feel pretty good about it still being useful in 2020. I mean, they don’t even make the stand it’s in any more (a “Ekit Universal Tablet Stand 9+10 Inch Compatible” which I picked up in 2013).
Devices that degrade into a limited set of functions can be interesting. I mean, I don’t think the machine could even handle typing in an email these days. All the fancy high-end stuff and the cruft have fallen away, leaving a very specific set of uses that still operate very well. I’ve used touchscreen radios, and this is better.
I could do this with an old phone working off wifi, too. And I probably will, once this old iPad next to me finally joins all the other radios I have loved, from the massive radiogram chest to the two-deck cassette AM/FM machine I used to record John Peel and Annie Nightingale on, back in the dark ages…