Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
Excellent quick start and reference ...
on 22 December 2010
Apple famously doesn't see the need to include manuals with their products. Aside from the basic "finger tips" leaflet that comes with most iOS devices information no how to actually use the product is scarce. With the launch of the iPad, tablet computing (and in a lot of cases just plain computing) became a lot more accessible. Many people who weren't interested in having a smart phone, and therefore have never used an iPhone have been attracted to the iPad - with its excellent performance for basic Internet based activities it isn't hard to see why. But what do all these Apple novices do when they get their products home? How do they know how to use them? Things that seem so basic to IT professionals and those in the "industry" are not always apparent to these new users who may have little or no computing experience, let alone experience of using Apple products!
This situation has opened up a market for publishers to fill the void in information, and provide a text that can be used as an introduction to the platform, and as a reference guide for when the user gets stuck. One of the most successful series of these books is the `Missing Manual' series from O'Reilly Media, and the latest incarnation entitled "iPad: The Missing Manual" is an excellent addition to the ever growing stable of titles in this genre and series.
The book is broken into sections covering all the basics that will be required to get things done with the iPad. These sections cover the physical build and layout of the iPad and what the buttons do, interacting with the iPad, Getting online and surfing the web, keeping in touch via email, the basic apps built into the iPad, using the App Store and iBooks, using iWork - and in my opinion the most important section syncing the iPad with iTunes and mastering iTunes in general. These last two sections are vital for a new user as iTunes continues to grow into a sprawling multimedia mess that is far less intuitive than almost every other Apple software product. This is the aspect of Apple product ownership that is most likely to be alien to a new user, and one of the questions I am most frequently asked to help people out with. In addition to the above there are valuable sections dedicated to helping the user with copying music and video to the device, as well as troubleshooting tips for those having specific problems with the iPad.
The content is delivered in a clear and concise fashion, and absolutely hits the right mixture of narrative and instructional content to ease inexperienced users through the early days of iPad ownership. Readers aren't talked down to, nor are assumptions made about their pre-existing knowledge of the iPad or associated systems. The book delivers information at an appropriate pace to gently take a user by the hand and lead them through their first experiences with this revolutionary computing solution, without the frustration of feeling under qualified or incapable. In my experience, even users with a minimal number of hours under their belts can pick up fairly complex systems as long as they have the confidence to give things a try. As the iPad is generally conceived to be a fairly simple device to master once you get the basics under control I felt that this book would make an ideal companion for someone who feels they are either in need of a little confidence boost when using the iPad for the first few times - or those who feel they are not getting the best from their iPad and could use it more.
The only negatives I could find were that the version of the eBook that I had was slightly out of date following the iOS 4.2 update. The rotation lock button changes and multi-tasking additions are not covered yet. All in all, I felt that this would be a great gift for someone receiving an iPad for Christmas, and if you are giving an iPad as a gift, why not pre-install the eBook on there as a special personal touch to ensure the recipient can get stuck into using the iPad right from the get-go! A valuable addition for any new iPad user!