My review copy of Wallace Wang’s new “My New iPad 2: A Users Guide arriving at Moore’s Redoubt last week couldn’t have been better-timed, coming the same day as word from my nearest Apple reseller (50 miles) that iPad 2 stock is finally arriving, and the white 16 GB Wi-Fi unit I’ve been waiting for two months for would finally be here in a few days. As it turned out, I picked up the white 16 Gb WiFi iPad the day before this column is going live, so I’m living “My New iPad 2″ non-vicariously in real time.
I skipped the iPad 1, so using an iPad in earnest is new to me. It’s one thing to play around with someone else’s machine for a few minutes at a time, quite another to live with it on a day to day basis yourself.
Consequently, this user’s guide is exactly what I needed to help me get my new iPad to up and running and in workhorse harness efficiently, avoiding slowdowns and pitfalls that would be inevitable had I tried to bootstrap the orientation using just the pathetic Apple hard copy documentation, which amounts to a handful of tiny, sketchy loose-leaf notes.
Updated for the iPad 2 and now in full color, “My New iPad 2″ (No Starch Press, May 2011, 280 pp., $24.95, 4C, ISBN 9781593273866) also explains how to use the features introduced in iOS 4.3, like the iPad 2′s new cameras, multitasking abilities, and FaceTime video-calling.
My first inclination whenever I bring home a new device, whether it be a computer, a lawn mower,or an electric drill, is to “Read The Fine Manual.” Interestingly, the new electric lawn mower and drill I unboxed over the past couple of weeks, two commonplace and minimally complex machines, both came with actual hard-copy manuals the put Apple’s iPad documentation to shame.
My New iPad 2 is intended to guide the user through the business of setting up and running the iPad to for either personal or business use or both. It’s not a narrative that one would read from front to back, but rather a reference volume in which you can browse through the six parts containing cumulatively 30 short chapters, themselves broken into multiple sub–topics.
My first impression of My New iPad 2 the book upon scanning through the six–page table of contents was that there’s a lot more to the iPad to then I had imagined. Apple’s tablet is a disarmingly simple-seeming device, and it is easy to use, but also capable of an amazing variety of functions.
My first impression of my new iPad 2 the tablet, upon unboxing, was that I was really, really, REALLY glad I had this book in hand. iTunes does a good job of walking you through the basic setup process — at least it did after I downloaded and installed the current iTunes 10.1.3 to replace the iTunes 8 point something I had been using on my MacBook, a system requirements point that is only mentioned in microscopic fine print on a sticker on the back of the box. It’s not that big a deal, but should be made clearer for those of us who keep Apple’s Software Update turned off in OS X.
My New iPad 2′s six part categories include Basic Training, Making The Most Of Your iPad, Getting On The Internet, vIdeo, Music, Photos, And E-books, Organizing Yourself, and Additional Tips.
Basic Training is just that; explaining the rudiments of iPad 2 use, such as how to turn the machine on and off, charging and power conservation, using the physical and virtual controls, controlling the iPad user interface, and using the virtual keyboard.
Making The Most Of Your iPad gets into more involved functions like customizing the Home screen, using Parental Controls, protecting your privacy, setting up an Internet connection, and app. installs/uninstalls.
Getting On The Internet carries on with pointers on browsing with Safari, using Safari bookmarks, setting up an email account, and sending and receiving email.
Part Four covers video, music, photos, and e-books, explaining how to transfer songs, videos, and other content to the iPad 2; shopping at iTunes and the iBook store, listening to music and other audio files, watching video, reading e-books, making, organizing, and viewing photos and videos, and using FaceTime.
Organizing Yourself tells you how to jot down notes, keep contact information, use the calendar and maps, and searching the iPod using Spotlight.
Part Six, Additional Tips, includes information on making data on your iPad more accessible, using foreign languages, the author’s take on the best iPad apps, and a section on troubleshooting.
At 256 pages, plus seven pages of index, My New iPad 2 is trade paperback sized and not a candidate for doorstop duty. It covers pretty much all the bases and then some for new iPad 2 users, while not overwhelming with painstaking detail.
With a cover price of $24.95 ($28.95 Canadian — I guess no one at No Starch Press is up to speed on the fact that the Canadian dollar has been trading in excess of the value of the greenback for about six months now), you don’t expect glossy, highly-calendared paper stock, and you don’t get any, but the semi-matte stock is attractive enough, and renders the many screenshot illustrations nicely in full color.
Criticisms? I don’t have many. The issue with needing iTunes 10.1 or later on your mothership Mac could have been helpfully covered, but isn’t, and some schematics of the iPad 2′s controls, both hardware and software, would be helpful in the Basic Training section.
However, if you’re a new iPad user like me especially, My New iPad 2: A User’s Guide is an especially good value that should justify its modest cost in time saved and inconvenience averted. However, it’s also a great little reference for any iPad 2 owner. Newbie or seasoned iPad/iOS veteran, if you have an iPad 2 you want this book.
Author Wallace Wang is the author of several best-selling computer books, including My New Mac, My New iPhone, and Steal This Computer Book (all No Starch Press). He is also a successful stand-up comic who has appeared on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv” and performs regularly at the Riviera Comedy Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Chapter 17: “Listening to Music and Other Audio Files” (PDF):
Table of Contents:
Detailed Table of Contents (PDF):
My New iPad 2
Publisher: No Starch Press
By Wallace Wang
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