iPad 2: The Missing Manual, Second Edition
BY J.D. BIERSDORFER
Copyright © 2011 J.D. Biersdorfer. All rights reserved. Printed in Canada.
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May 2010 First Edition. April 2011 Second Edition.
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Steve Jobs revealed the original iPad on January 27, 2010, finally con-firming rumors that had been swirling for years: Apple was making a tablet computer! And when that first iPad model hit stores a few months later, the public snapped up 300,000 the day it went on sale. Less than a year later after the first one arrived, Apple put out an even bet-ter iPad in March 2011. Thinner, lighbet-ter, fasbet-ter, and equipped with a pair of cameras, the iPad 2 created its own huge lines around the country when it went on sale. Apple’s inventory pretty much sold out the first weekend. So what’s the big deal? Tablet computers are nothing new. Tech companies have tried the concept since the 1990s. But those flat slabs never caught on for a variety of reasons. Some required input with an easy-to-lose stylus; some had slow, unresponsive touchscreens; and some were so heavy it felt like you were hauling around a patio flagstone that happened to run Windows XP. Most of the public took one look and went: “Nah.”
So why has the iPad proven so popular, even as competitors rush to put their own clunkier imitations out there, lurching for Apple’s thunder? One theory: combine a growing desire for Internet access and a shift to digital music, books, and video with a sophisticated, fast, lightweight touchscreen device and you have a gadget perfectly suited to the emerging world of personal media devices. Sure, the iPhone does all that, but you don’t have to squint on the iPad. The iPad is both an evolution and a solution.
And thanks to the thousands of third-party apps already available, the iPad can move beyond being just a platter that serves up media and Internet content. In fact, it can pretty much be whatever you want it to be.
Get to Know Your iPad
Sure, you’ve seen the concept of the iPad before. It’s a popular prop on futuristic science-fiction shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation: a flat slab of a computer, wirelessly connected to a net-work that instantly pulls down any information you need, right then and there. (In fact, in the Star Trek universe, that device was called a PADD, short for Personal Access Display Device.)
But one thing those movie and TV gadgets never seemed to have is a manual so you could find out things like, say, how to turn down the sound when someone asks you a question during a heated game of Angry Birds, or how to get back to the screen where your photos live.
Here on 21st-century Earth, these things may not be obvious for new iPad owners, but that’s where this bookcomes in. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to navigate your iPad so you can find the programs you want, jack it into your computer to load it up with movies and photos, and make sure you get it charged up for a full day of fun.
Interact with Your iPad
These days, touchscreens are nothing new; you find them every-where. They’ve been on automatic teller machines for years, and dispensing New York City subway fare cards for more than a decade. Some delis let you order up a turkey-and-swiss by pressing a sensitive menu. So, in the grand scheme of things, the iPad’s touch-screen isn’t unfamiliar.
But using the iPad takes more than touch. You tap, you flick, you swipe, you double-tap, you drag, you press-and-hold. Which motion you make and
when you make it depends on what you’re trying to do at the time. And that’s where this chapter comes in.
You can get content onto your iPad two ways: by pulling it down from the sky—or rather, the Internet—and by synchronizing it with your computer to copy over music, videos, books, and other media through iTunes. This chapter tells you how to get your iPad set up for that first option. (If you just can’t wait to read up on syncing, jump ahead to Chapter 11.)
Every iPad can connect to the Internet over a WiFi connection. You can get online from your home wireless network or from a WiFi hotspot at a local tech-friendly coffee shop. But some iPads don’t need to be anchored to a stationary WiFi network to get to the ether. Wi-Fi + 3G iPads can reach out and connect to the Web through the same network you use to make cell-phone calls—the 3G network. Whether that’s AT&T or Verizon’s network depends on which 3G iPad you bought.
Surf the Web
Sure, you can surf the Web on a smartphone. But odds are you strain your neck and squint your eyes to read the tiny screen, even when you zoom in for a closer look. For most people, microbrowsing is fine on a train or waiting in line at the cineplex, but who wants to do that in a coffee shop, campus library, or on the couch?
Keep in Touch with Email
Email is part of daily life. You wake up and check your inbox, you go to work and check it all day, and you come home and check it once more to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Today, the ability to compose, send, and receive mail on mobile phones means you spend less time in front of a computer, but still, there you are—hunched over a smartphone, squinting and pecking on a tiny screen.
The iPad changes all that. Now you can lean back on your couch, flip on the tablet, and read and write mail on a spacious 10-inch screen. No more terse, abbreviated messages inspired by a cramped little keypad. With the iPad’s full-size onscreen keyboard, you can compose your thoughts com-pletely, without having to drag the laptop out of your home office and wait for it to boot up.
Use the iPad’s
Apps, also known as “programs that run on the iPad” (and iPhone and iPod Touch), make Apple’s tablet a versatile device, beyond its role as a Web window and portable email reader. As mentioned back in Chapter 1, the iPad gives you a few of its own apps right on the Home screen, alongside the previously discussed Safari and Mail apps. Three of these apps handle personal organization tasks: Calendar (for keeping your appointments), Contacts (your address book), and Notes (for jotting down bits of text to yourself ). One app, Maps, helps you find yourself and chart your course, and two other apps (iTunes and the App Store) point the way to shopping Apple’s online stores.
Aside from the Settings app (described in Appendix A), the rest of the iPad’s Home screen icons are there to entertain you: YouTube, Photos, Videos, and iPod. And if you have a second-generation iPad, you have three other fun apps to play with: Camera, FaceTime, and Photo Booth, all devoted to creating pictures and video clips right there on your tablet, wherever you may be.
Shop the App Store
In the beginning—2003 to be exact—there was the iTunes Music Store. Apple’s perfectly legal online emporium sold songs for 99 cents a pop and quickly became a hit itself. The premise and the promise were simple: inexpensive entertainment you could instantly download and use. Just a few years later, the renamed iTunes Store added (and still sells) TV shows, movies, and simple arcade-style video games for iPods. And then in 2008, Apple added the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch programs. The App Store is where you download apps, or programs, that run on your iPhone, iPod Touch, and now, iPad. You can find thousands of apps, includ-ing foreign-language tutors, e-newspapers, restaurant guides, hurricane trackers, tiny word processors, and sophisticated handheld videogames, in the App Store, with developers writing new programs every week. It’s a hugely popular part of the Apple empire, with more than 10 billion apps downloaded as of January 2011.
Read iBooks &
Books in easy-to-use, page-turning form have been around since the second century or so. Now, after a few years of false starts and dashed hopes, electronic books are wooing many people away from the world of ink, paper, and tiny clip-on book lights for nighttime reading. And as the eBook goes, so go eBook readers. The Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Reader are among the big names in the eBook reader playground.
Enter the iPad.
With digital music, videos, and books tucked inside your iPad’s slim glass-and-metal form, you have plenty choices for enter-tainment. But if you want to play instead of just sitting back and
pushing Play, your tablet makes a nice high-def game console as well. You can zap zombies, thwart governments, and channel your inner Dale Earnhardt Jr. You can also relive your glory days at the arcade. But instead of facing a machine the size of a phone booth, your fate lies in your hands—literally. iPad games aren’t simply iPhone games blown up to tablet proportions, either. Savvy game-makers have taken popular titles back into the shop to super-size them for the iPad’s big 9.7-inch screen. As a result, you get richer graphics and more precise gameplay, with plenty of room to move around. That bigger screen makes it easy for two people to play against each other, too. And thanks to Apple’s online Game Center network, you don’t even need to be in the same room as your fellow joystick jockeys.
Word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think of the iPad—unless they’re the first things that come to your mind on any topic. After you’ve used the iPad for longer than two hours, you realize that it’s a great little device for consuming stuff (videos, eBooks, web pages), but not so much for creating stuff, like, well, word-processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Apple’s iWork suite for the iPad attempts to change that impression. For many years, iWork—consisting of Pages (word-processing), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations) programs—lived on some Macs in the giant, looming shadow of Microsoft Office. After all, from corporate offices to college campuses, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are the de facto industry standards for documents, spread-sheets, and presentations.
Organize and Sync
Media Files with iTunes
iTunes is a master of many trades. It’s a repository for all the audio, video, book, and podcast files in your media library. It converts compact disc tracks into digital files for iPads, iPhones, and iPods. And it has its own online mall that you can pop into any time of day or night to buy the latest Stephen King audiobook, grab a copy of the new U2 album, or rent a digital download of The Social Network.
Another cool feature of iTunes? It syncs any or all of your media to your iPad. You may have already dabbled in a bit of this in Chapter 7 with the iTunes App Store, or in Chapter 8 when you read up on the iBookstore. This chapter focuses on iTunes basics: downloading Store purchases to your computer—and then getting what you want over to your iPad. (For more on mastering the art of iTunes, see Chapter 12.)