The iPad has gone from strength to strength since its release three years ago, and this week's news that iTunes U – the education arm – has had 1bn downloads of lecture videos and resource is cause for celebration.

That's why this issue of tech. focuses on the amazing things the iPad can do, with fantastic ideas of getting even more from your iPad. Forget watching movies and playing games, that's for dullards, why not hack your car with your iPad mini, turn it into a file server or use it as a second touchscreen monitor for your home PC.

That's just a few of the great ideas in this week's tech. mag, which also looks at the latest news on the next iPad release.

Practically perfect

Editor Marc Chacksfield was particularly excited about this week's issue:

"We've never done anything like this before, and it's been great to cover a practical feature in our own way. These aren't boring tips for newbies, this is serious ideas for technical iPad owners, which we've enriched with video and interactive features," he said.

Elsewhere, there's news on Google and Apple's new music streaming service, and an in-depth look at a few of this week's weirder stories, such as why Facebook's days could be numbered and why there could be an internet for aliens.

Of course, tech. magazine is always packed with the latest hardware, so there's the definitive review of the Asus PadFone 2, Microsoft Surface Pro and a pair of futuristic skiing googles.

You can get tech. on iPad now, and get your first five issues free!