The iPad as an iPod

As Steve Jobs said: The iPad is magical — and without a doubt the best iPod Apple has ever produced. You can enjoy all your existing iPod content — music, audiobooks, audio and video podcasts, iTunes U courses, music videos, television shows, and movies — on the gorgeous color display found on every iPad ever made (even the oldest iPads have gorgeous color displays).

Here’s the bottom line: If you can get the content — be it video, audio, or whatever — into iTunes on your Mac or PC, you can synchronize it and watch or listen to it on your iPad. And, of course, you can always buy or rent content on your iPad in the iTunes Store.

When syncing (transferring media from your computer to your iPad), some video content may need to be converted to an iPad-compatible format, with the proper resolution, frame rate, bit rate, and file format to play on your iPad. If you try to sync an incompatible video file, iTunes alerts you that an issue exists.

If you get an error message about an incompatible video file, select the file in iTunes and choose File→Create New Version. When the conversion is finished, sync again.

And here’s another tip at no extra cost: The free HandBrake app often provides better results than iTunes when converting movie files to an iPad-friendly format. It has presets for most iPad models, so it’s simple to use, and it can often convert movie files and formats that iTunes chokes on.