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All About the Apple iPad

Updated on December 12, 2012

iPad and iPad mini: Even More Power. Even More Choices.

Apple has done it again. The iPad with Retina Display is even more stunning and twice as fast.

The Retina Display makes everything sharp and crisp-photos, videos, apps and especially text. It's all razor-sharp with vibrant, rich colors, and with 3.1 million pixels, it's the best mobile display out there. Also, Apple claims that the iPad's powerful A6X chip is up to twice as fast as the previous A5X version, with twice the graphics performance and no sacrifice of battery life.

With over 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad, you can do things in practically every category of fun and entertainment-make your commute seemed shorter, your presentations more interesting and your school lessons more informative. Plus, with ultrafast wireless (up to twice as fast as the previous iPad) and access to more cellular networks worldwide, you can access the world on your iPad more often and in more places.

FaceTime and iSight cameras let you chat face-to-face with friends and relatives from across the country or around the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Plus, you can use the iPad for taking self-portraits or capturing 720p HD video.

Apple's Siri is the intelligent assistant that helps you to get things done by talking to it, just as you would to a person, with no rigid commands that need to be memorized. Simply ask Siri "Should I bring an umbrella "or "Did the Cubs win the game last night" or "What time is my luncheon tomorrow" and Siri understands what you mean and figures out the right apps to use to give you the answer.

iOS brings you the world's most advanced mobile operating system, with all the built-in apps you use every day and free updates to allow you to do things better. iCloud is integrated directly into the iPad and gives you access to the data you need, no matter what compatible device you're using. You can share photos streams, locate or lock your misplaced iPad, or browse the web and then pick up where you left off on your Mac or iPhone.

AirPlay allows you to enjoy media on your iPad or watch it on your HDTV. All the content on your iPad, such as music, photos and videos, can be streamed wirelessly to your HDTV through Apple TV or to AirPlay-enabled speakers through a Wi-Fi network. Merely tap on the AirPlay icon and rock the house with your favorite music, watch a movie or show off some photos. You can print via AirPrint right from your iPad over Wi-Fi to any air print enabled printer.

Plus, you have the choice of the iPad or the iPad mini with its beautiful 7.9 inch display, FaceTime and iSight cameras, thousands of great apps and 10-hour battery life. It's more portable, yet every inch an iPad. Although it lacks the Retina display and it's not as efficient for typing as a full-size iPad, with its thin, light form factor, it's actually better for some tasks, such as reading e-books.

Courtesy of Apple
Courtesy of Apple

A Brief Overview Of The iPad

For the average person with an average interest in new technology, the iPad may be just another expensive device from Apple.

Many who decide to visit Apple's website as a result of all the media buzz, however, are influenced to purchase the gadget. All in all, most nontechies have not considered its pros and cons, and just want to know exactly what the iPad is and what it does.

In a sense, the iPad is a mobile computer, or more precisely, a tablet computer. It is not the first tablet computer ever produced, yet it is revolutionary. It is neither a laptop nor a personal digital assistant, nor, strictly speaking, an e-book reader. It is an entirely new class of electronic device.

While much flatter than a closed netbook computer, its horizontal and vertical dimensions are slightly greater. It does not have a keyboard; its multi-touch virtual keyboard that slides into view when needed serves that role. As good as this keyboard is, however, it lacks the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard, so some prefer docking it onto one of the available external keyboard accessories for extended typing.

Multi-touch means that the device recognizes tapping or dragging with the fingers on two or more areas on its display at once. In addition to multi-touch, the iPad is also multi-oriented, so the user can tilt the frame from vertical to horizontal position according to preference, and in most apps the content of the screen will reformat according to this orientation.

The iPad can be used like any computer for the creation of documents and other content. Apple's iWork software suite, the company's answer to Microsoft Office, allows the creation of documents, spreadsheets and slideshow presentations.

The main purpose of the device, however, is for information consumption. The iPad is great for web browsing, e-book reading, video watching, and gaming. It is powered by thousands of apps that can perform almost every conceivable function.

The default browser on the iPad is Apple's own Safari, which works in much the same way as it does on a Mac or PC. Lately, Opera mini has also become available as an alternative web browser for the iPad.

Media consumption is one of the favorite uses of the iPad. The crisp screen resolution does justice to e-books, images and videos, while the enhanced speaker system delivers a respectable sound for music and other audio, and a headphone port gives access to the fullest audiophonic experience.

Internet connectivity is enabled by Wi-Fi and next generation cellular connectivity-up to LTE. The Wi-Fi capabilities keep you connected up to twice as fast as the previous version of the iPad, and with its dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n Wi-Fi and support for channel bonding, you could reach download speeds of up to 150 Mbps. When you don't have access to Wi-Fi, the iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular, which supports ultrafast cellular networks, including LTE wireless networks and other advanced networks such as HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA, lets you browse the web, stream video and download content without the long-term commitment of a contract.

One of the most prominent features of the iPad display are the icons for the various installed apps, and these can be organized to suit the user's preference and frequency of use. A favorite section allows the most frequently used apps to be easily accessed.

In all, the iPad is an amazingly useful and interactive device, which is what the best tech gadgets are all about. Some analysts recommend that consumers wait a bit longer for the iPad to mature in the industry. As good as the iPad is today, as with any high-tech device, the best is yet to come.

Don't wait too long, however, because there will always be another version available down the road with better features, and putting off your purchase means that you will lose out on the enjoyment of the many available features today.

Check eBay for Great Deals on the iPad!

You can find accessories and even secondhand (and sometimes new) iPads on eBay if you don't want to pay full price and are willing to wait.

ipad business office work
ipad business office work

iPad a Capable Tool for Business

With its support for Microsoft exchange, its ability to access corporate data securely and its many available apps, the iPad is rapidly becoming a popular tool for business.

The Safari web browser works much the same way as it does on the Mac and PC, except that it can easily display webpages in both its portrait and landscape orientation, and it offers multi-touch browsing.

Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, the applications comprising the iWork software suite for the Mac, have' been totally redesigned for the iPad, taking advantage of its multi-touch capabilities and enabling the creation of sophisticated documents, spreadsheets with advanced functions and formulas, and eye-catching presentations with advanced transitions and animations.

Ready to share your presentations? You can connect your iPad to a projector or LCD display via the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter.

With iPad you can run spreadsheets and track business data, write and review sales proposals, track your flight status, work with contracts, create presentations and check the Google Analytics data for your website. Indeed, there are literally thousands of apps in the Apple store that help you to manage virtually every aspect of your business. Businesses with more demanding needs can even develop and design apps in-house by joining Apple's iPhone Developer Enterprise Program.

Want to do some extended typing? Plug in the full sized optional keyboard to the iPad or use the Apple wireless keyboard.

Don't let its friendly, sleek appearance fool you: iPad offers multiple layers of security to protect you, allowing passcodes to prevent access to sensitive data, encrypting data over the air and even wiping the iPad's internal storage in case of loss or theft.

iPad has support for sophisticated network communications protections, such as Cisco IPSec VPN, WPA2 Enterprise Wi-Fi, and SSL/TLS. Passcodes can protect corporate data and the iPad can connect with corporate data via Exchange and VPN securely thanks to certificate-based authentication.

iPad works with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or 2007, with its powerful benefits of push e-mail, contacts and calender events, all shared wirelessly. You can search for messages on the server as easily as you can in your own inbox, as well as access your global address list and manage your calendar invitations.

In fact, iPad can sync with many open-standards based servers, such as IMAP, CalDAV and LDAP so you can integrate with iCal Server and Oracle Beehive or search for mail and contacts.

Access your company's intranet with support for Cisco, IPSec, VPN and SSL/TLS networking.

if you need to configure your iPad for your company's email, wireless network, VPN, and passcode policies, no problem! Each iPad can receive its profile either wirelessly or via USB.

As far as protecting the exterior of your iPad goes, there are a number of cases available, but one of the cleverest is the one provided by Apple. When it's not protecting the iPad, it folds in different ways to act as either a stand to hold the iPad upright for watching slideshows or at a horizontal angle for easy typing.

The iPad is a powerful tablet computer that is proving to be an essential device for business.

Review: Apple's Tablet

What are the iPad's Flaws, and Do They Matter?

Long lines stretched around Apple stores on the day of the release of Apple's groundbreaking new product, the iPad. Yet many shrugged it off with indifference and dissatisfaction, insisting that the iPad did not live up to its promise. These conflicting views show how polarized is the opinion on Apple's iPad. Let's take a look at some of the arguments you'll hear against the iPad.

1. The next generation of iPad will come out soon, so why bother?

This, of course, is the argument against all new technology. In the rapidly changing world of high-tech, the current model will always be superseded by a new and improved version. The terms "new and improved" won't be hype, either. Subsequent versions of a high-tech device almost always supersede the older versions in terms of price, speed, capability and features.

The same phenomenon has been true of the desktop computer as well. Millions of people own computers, and yet, each new model is superseded by a faster, more powerful model. That's just the nature of high technology.

Following this line of thinking, nobody would ever buy a PC, because, no matter which one was bought, it would be superseded by a better version for the same or lower price in a few months. However, waiting for the new model to come out means that you will miss out on the benefits that owning the current model can bring.

2. It doesn't support Flash.

The iPad is a groundbreaking and innovative product, and Apple supports innovation in the next standard on the web. HTML5, the next major revision of the HTML standard, Is a more stable, harder to hack platform than the current version of HTML. In addition, it supports rich media without the use of add-ons or plug-ins like Adobe Flash or Microsoft SilverLight. It is truly a major advance of Internet standards, but unfortunately, it is currently still under development.

The problem Apple was faced with was whether to support and encourage the development of the new standard, or to support the current standard and perhaps slow down progress. Apple chose the former. The company did this at some risk to iPad sales, since many websites, especially video and game sites, still depend on Adobe's Flash technology. Is Apple's insistence on promoting progress at the expense of current usability a deal killer? Only time will tell, but it doesn't look likely, judging from the iPad's current popularity.

3. No Multitasking

This limitation has already been mitigated with the release of the free iOS 4.2 Software Update. Although there may be some debate as to whether or not the iPad still offers "full" multitasking, multitasking is available with apps that work with iOS 4 and later.

4. No built-in camera.

Some people thought it was a real deal breaker when Apple's first iPad failed to sport a built-in camera, but how many companies beat Apple to the gate with their own successful, camera enabled tablet PC? Today, that seems like ancient history, since both the iPad and the iPad mini come with not one but two built in cameras, the FaceTime and the iSight.

FaceTime enables video calls over Wi-Fi or cellular with its front facing HD camera while the iSight on the reverse allows you to show others what you're seeing, no matter where you're seeing it.

This way, you can not only keep your friends in the loop, but you can participate in "citizen journalism" as a video reporter, or you can update your video blog or vlog while on the go. Plus, with the 7.9 inch display on the iPad mini, you can easily see what your friends are up to.

You can also use the front facing-camera for recording in 720p HD video or taking self portraits. Additionally, the iPad and iPad mini sport built-in and automatic video stabilization, to keep your recordings free of shakes and bumps.

iSight's 5 megapixel camera sports a backside illumination sensor for capturing great images both indoors and out. When shooting photos, the big, crisp display becomes a giant viewfinder that gives you plenty of room to compose your shot. Plus, it features autofocus, tap to focus and tap to set exposure capabilities, along with face detection that balances exposure and focus across multiple faces at once.

Certainly, any limitations in the iPad that still exist will be removed in future versions. But then, just as certainly, pundits and users alike will find new things to complain about with the iPad. That's just the nature of technology.

The constant dissatisfaction with current technology is what drives new technology forward.

Photo courtesy Apple, Inc.

imac mac Macintosh mac os x snow leoprd ipad
imac mac Macintosh mac os x snow leoprd ipad

Is the iPad Poised to Outsell the PC?

It seems amazing, since the Macintosh platform has been around for over 25 years (that's a quarter of a century, folks), but the iPad now outsells the Macintosh (and is perhaps poised to outstrip the PC as well). This is quite impressive, considering some people were predicting the iPad would "never succeed in the marketplace!"

Today, there is an installed base of 66 million Macs, according to Apple's report at the 2012 World-wide Developers Conference, while there are over 400 million devices, which includes iPads, iPhones and iPods, running the IOS operating system. In light of this, you can see why every new version of the IOS is a big deal.

Part of the reason for the iPad's success is that it is tapping into the popular netbook market. Many people who would otherwise have chosen a netbook are opting for the iPad.

Originally, the iPad was not positioned as a replacement for either a desktop or a standard notebook computer, but as a sort of "in-between device" since the iPad originally relied on computers in order to update itself and to sync files and data.

Today, however, the iPad is very much a standalone device that can store its data in the cloud and can easily be charged through any iPad docking station, as well as printing to AirPrint-compatible printers.

The iPad has also tapped into the much larger PC market, as compared with that of the Macintosh, in drawing users. The iPad can sync with either a Mac or a PC.

Vote for your favorite iPad books on Amazon - Reader friendly beginner books on the iPad

Hard to believe... when I started this lens, there were no books on the iPad (that's because the iPad hadn't been released yet)! Now look at just a few of the great offerings there are to choose from!

Already read one or more of these? Vote on your favorite!

Great Quote on the iPad

"It's official: the iPad is every bit as successful as even the most bullish commentators had predicted. Two million sales in just 60 days for a device that's not only a brand-new product, but creates a whole new market is, by anybody's standards, pretty remarkable." -- Kenny Hemphill, MacUser UK

Apple iPad Guestbook

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    • TimothyArends profile image
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      Timothy Arends 6 years ago from Chicago area

      @anonymous: The iPad is not intended to replace a laptop if that's what you really need, but to be a supplement to it. The iPad brings your data much closer to you without a keyboard to get between you and what you are reading. Of course, thenext generation will always be better, it just depends on how log you want to wait!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      So many gadgets, so little time!

      I think I will wait for the next generation or competition

      to do one better.

      For me to be able to buy a new 17" very powerful,

      500GB HD, bells and whistles loaded laptop

      for the price of an iPad, Hmmm, think I'll wait.

      What do you think? BG