Apple's iPad One Year Later

On anniversary of iPad's release, a look at top uses of the past year.

April 3, 2011— -- Apple's iPad is quite the accomplished one-year-old.

Since its release, one year ago today, it hasn't just entertained gadget geeks and Apple fans, it's helped catch crooks, make music, teach students, treat patients and more.

It has shown that it's more than just a cool toy for techies, but a valuable tool for people in fields as varied as art, music, health care and law enforcement.

Below, take a look at five of the iPad's top uses of the past year.

iPad Joins Stethoscope as Doctors' Trusty Tool

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the iPad would be "revolutionary," did we really think it would someday help save lives?

Well, the device is only as good as the hands it's in, but over the past year it's found its way into the hands of doctors around the world.

Days after the iPad's release last year, Kaweah Delta Healthcare District in Visalia, Calif., made headlines when word got out that it had ordered 100 iPads to help doctors access X-ray images, tests results and patient monitoring programs.

But the device has spread to other health care professionals in the United States and overseas.

Last June, a team of doctors at a Kobe University facility in Japan used an iPad during surgery. A YouTube video made the rounds online, showing a plastic-wrapped iPad used as a display.

iPad Goes to School

Kids these days have it so easy.

Instead of lugging giant textbooks to and from school every day, lucky students in grade school and college only have to carry one thing: their iPad.

Last March, Seton Hill University, a private Catholic school in Pennsylvania, announced that it would give a new tablet to each of its 2,000 incoming freshman. Other universities announced that they would also give some students the new iPad or give them the option to get that instead of a Mac laptop

But the iPad also found its way into even younger hands.

Sacramento Country Day School, a private school in California, last summer announced that it would give each sixth grader a new iPad at no extra cost. And other private and public schools have lined up behind the iPad too.

In January, the New York Times reported that public schools in New York, Chicago and New Jersey planned to test iPads in the classroom. In Scottsdale, Ariz., even kindergartners get the high-tech devices.

iPad Masterpieces

Can high-tech and high art get along? Judging from the masterpieces and sketches created by iPad-wielding artists, the answer is yes.

Leading a new trend in the art world, David Kassan, 33, a New York artist known for his life-like paintings, told ABC News he has been using the Brushes application on his iPad to bring his work from the canvas to his computer screen.

Instead of a brush, he just uses his finger and then goes to work on what he calls his "portable color sketchbook."

In a recent interview with ABC News, Pixar animator Don Shank also said he knew the iPad would be a painter's delight the moment he learned about the Brushes application. Not only does it let painters sketch and play with ideas no matter where they are, it lets them undo their last stroke and then see each of the strokes that led up to the final product.

For other artists and photographers, the iPad is a perfect vehicle for showcasing their portfolio.

iPad Helps Law Enforcement

Even police officers are getting some help from the iPad.

Last month, police in Texas said the GPS technology in a woman's iPad helped them track down a man who had robbed her at gun point. The thief ran off with several of her belongings, including her cell phone.

Using a program called MobileMe, which enables iPads and iPhones to communicate, she was able to use her iPad to track down the precise location of the her iPhone, and the crook who took it. Police said they apprehended the man in less than two hours.

But police are using the iPad in even more systematic ways as well. According to Apple, police in Redlands, Calif., use the iPhone and iPad to receive, send and access the information they need to get their jobs done. The larger screen on the iPad lets them view maps, photos of stolen property and other key details and the device's portability means they can file reports from the road.

Can the iPad 'Save' Publishing?

For newspapers and magazines struggling to keep subscription numbers up, the coming of the iPad was like the coming of the messiah. The hope was that with the interactive device, they could win back their audience -- and turn a profit.

Whether the iPad can live up to those expectations remains to be seen, but it is helping to change what the "print" medium is.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's The Daily, for example, has been touted as the first "newspaper" for the iPad only. But it's a newspaper like no one has ever seen. Though it launched to mix reviews, The Daily features traditional text stories, but also video, interactive ads and dynamic graphics.

Other traditionally print outlets -- like Wired magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times and others -- are also finding some success charging for content on the new device as they experiment with the new platform.