A couple of schools are giving out iPads for their incoming students, and that means that the iPad will get into the hands of quite a few people who maybe would not have bought one by themselves. So now you have an iPad (and if you are a faculty members you maybe even got it for free): What are you doing with it? This blog gives you, over two parts, a very brief overview how you can make good use of your iPad. Sadly, the discussion has to remain at the surface level for now, but stay tuned for more in-depth discussions about particular apps, tips, and tricks.
The basics: home screen, dock, search, appstore
You navigate through the various applications on your iPad via your home screen. Every app (short for application) on your iPad has an icon either on the home screen, which can consist out of several pages filled with apps, or in the dock at the bottom. The icons in the dock stay the same even when you swipe left and right to visit the various pages of your home screen. Clicking the physical home button brings you back to the home screen or back to the first page of the home screen, depending on whether you have an app open or not. Swiping left when you are on the first page of your home screen opens a search dialogue. You can sort the apps according to your own needs by holding down your finger on any of the apps until all apps wiggle. Then you can move them around or drag them over to another page. Press the home button when you are done. It is all very intuitive, but if you prefer to read in more detail about the basics of the iPad, check out Apple’s iPad User Guide. If you want to upload additional apps, for example to try out some apps that are mentioned below, you need to visit the App Store and insert the name of the app into the search field in the upper right corner.
Things you know from your laptop / desktop computer
Obviously, the iPad allows you to check emails, browse the web, view your calendar, and to look up contacts. The obvious benefit lies here in that you have a fairly large screen which is still portable. So what you would normally do in your office, you can do now in a cafe. This also includes writing a document, working with spread sheets, or preparing a presentation. There are a number of apps that can do these things for you (e.g., Pages, Numbers, and Keynote from Apple; Documents to Go from DataViz). These apps differ in respect to how they work with files from Apple’s iWork suite and Microsoft’s Office suite, but this deserves a separate post sometimes later. However, if you want to write for a longer time or your document is very complex, you are probably better off using you laptop or desktop computer.
Upcoming: Things where your iPad shines (part 2)