Above: someone's snarky idea of what's really inside an iPad. NOT!
I’ve now had my iPad for ten days. I’ve played a lot and discovered a lot.
Apps & Printing
Sure enough, I don’t really need a lot of the apps I use on my iPhone. This is because I can use Safari to go the sites I had app “shortcuts” for. Now I have a real web experience. So I deleted the iPhone apps I had transferred, freeing up a ton of space for apps, pictures and video.
I got the Pages app. Pages is Apple’s word processing software. It’s pretty good and I can really write on it. It doesn’t show the tool bar in horizontal mode, which is kind of a pain, but I’m confident Apple will fix that in updates. iPad auto-saves your work. You can then mail and export your document in Pages or Word formats.
I also got the Adobe Ideas app for drawing. I really like how this works. You can “scribble” with your finger to draw, and it automatically smoothes your strokes. You can apply color, magnify to insert detail, and other features. You can then e-mail the results to yourself or others as a pdf. This is a powerful little drawing program, and I recommend it.
Print-n-Share is the application I decided to use for printing. You need to download a companion server to the computer actually connected to your printer to make this work. I spent a whole evening puzzling this app out, as the instructions are poor and it is NOT intuitive. But all the other printing apps sounded worse, and this was a “cheap” mistake ($6.99). Anyway, I got it working except for trying to print my Pages documents. I still don’t know how to do that. But I can print photos, web pages, and various other things. When you use it, it spools to your computer and prints with the printer. It works, but I wish the iPad had native printing. Using an app, etc., is just too awkward.
I’ve been using the Netflix app to watch streaming video on my iPad. This really works well and of course the display is top-notch. I can start watching a streaming show on my TV, then resume on my iPad, and it remembers where I left off (I know this is a function of Netflix, not the ‘Pad, but it’s still cool and handy.)
I purchased some video from the iTunes store to carry around on my iPad. Downloading is slow as always. I bought a four-part Doctor Who story (4 episodes) and it took well over a half an hour to download. Ugh.
I like iBooks but my eyes get tired after reading on the screen for awhile. So I’ll still be using my Kindle (which was sorely neglected this week; sorry, Bilbo!)
I downloaded the Kindle app for iPad. It is magnificent and works beautifully. So now, in fact, I have TWO Kindles. Nice.
Books in iBooks are still more expensive than Kindle books. This will impact my shopping on iBooks, I’m sorry to say. However, iBooks also has a fair number of free items, which I have downloaded, including Moby Dick, some Jane Austen, and other classics. I also downloaded some free samples (a la Kindle). If you like what you read, you can purchase the book.
Apple’s iPad Case
My case arrived last week. This is the “official” case for iPad as sold by Apple. It’s like a neoprene diving suit for the iPad, with a fold-over cover. I really like the easel feature. It allows me to prop the iPad up on my knees for viewing and watching. I don’t know how they figured out the ideal angle for this, but Apple got it right. Of course, it only comes in black. I wish there were other colors. When it’s on the iPad, it increases the iPad’s footprint by about 1 inch all around. That will impact any other carrying case I choose for it. The fit of the case is snug and doesn’t impact the weight of the device. I did order a handmade case from Etsy. When it arrives, I’ll review that in a later blog post.
More on Typing
I use the iPad in horizontal format for typing; it’s just more comfortable. The keyboard is a little smaller than a normal keyboard, so I find that I can’t quite do five-finger typing in a normal way. It’s more like three fingers on each hand that I’m managing. But never mind. It works. I don’t like typing in the vertical format. That feels too much like a giant iPhone for me. But sometimes I have to do it in Pages if I want to apply styles and such to my documents. Again, I hope Apple fixes this in a Pages update.
No. Does iPad need it? YES. Especially if I want to listen to iTunes and work on another app at the same time. I hear that multitasking will be available this fall as an update to the iPad OS. I sure hope so. With that and native printing, the iPad will be almost perfect for me.
Smudges and Dust
Apple claims that the touch screen is smudge-proof or somesuch. I must have weird skin then. I can see my little pawprints all over the screen. Solution? I am using one of those special micropore cloths to wipe eyeglasses. Works like a charm. Now to stop excessively wiping…
Cool to Pass Around
I surf while watching TV, wiki-ing to answer any questions that pop into my brain about what I am watching. The iPad makes it easy to pass around and show others what I’ve found, too. Beats passing around a laptop—clumsy and heavier.
What did I name my iPad? HEDWIG, after that lovely owl of Harry Potter's. Seems to me that an iPad is a lot like a mail owl--delivering wonderful content at all times.
I plan another review at the end of my iPad’s first month. Stay tuned!