Articles Reviews Technology

Waking up to the iPad Wi-Fi+3G – Part Two

ARTICLE: It’s now day two as an iPad cult member and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Today I managed to try out a lot of things, without delving too deeply in the nitty gritty of each. More of a whirlwind tour versus a museum excursion overseen by a docent. First off, as an ebook device I really really like it (saying things twice doesn’t make it more so, but it’s fun to say — much like 110%, when you can’t have anything be more than 100% unless you have one foot into the metaverse). Ahem, okay, the iBooks reader is nice and I truly love the interface where the pages fold over as you move your finger. The Kindle app for iPad works very similarly without the paper animation, and offers some very nice controls for font size, sepia paper (simulates “pulp” paper of a worn paperback), and has built-in help.

Winnie the Pooh iBooksBefore I get into the experience of buying some e-books, it’s worth noting that my initial complaint of “where’s the help button,” was answered this morning by a very nice “thanks for purchasing your iPad” e-mail from Apple, which included links to the “hey, that’s what I was looking for” video tutorials. For newbies, these should be essential viewing, and for casual lookie-loos pondering an iPad purchase without going to the store, these videos are wonderful and should be viewed before using the iPad (link: ). In looking through the iBooks store I didn’t see anything that made me want to plop down some cash, but I was being the impatient male zooming through the store and waiting for something to hit me over the head.

I decided to try looking for some classic hard-SF (science fiction), and was unable to locate the things I had in mind, such as Greg Bear’s epic “EON.” So, I read a bunch of the Winnie the Pooh book and just kept smiling as I viewed the illustrations in glowing full color. Certainly, the “video” screen makes anything in color really “pop” as it would if printed on glossy paper, and so the Pooh artwork looks really gorgeous on the iPad.

In using the Kindle app, I was impressed by how nice it looks, and how easy it was to go to the Amazon store and shop for books. I couldn’t find the aforementioned Greg Bear book in the Kindle store either (of course, they had Bear’s book in the Star Trek universe, but not my cup of tea). So, I bought the Orson Scott Card book “Ender’s Game.” This looks really nice in the Kindle app for iPad and, as noted earlier, the Kindle app lets you change the font (lettering) size, for larger text, and also to change the page/paper color to sepia, which is a nice touch.

Ender's Game on Kindle for iPadOddly, in starting to read the Kindle book version of “Ender’s Game,” I noticed a glaring typo in the first sentence of the introduction, where the name of the book is mis-spelled. This leads one to believe this was scanned via OCR, and not converted from a digital file. Not sure if that is Amazon’s fault or the publisher (or author?), but bizarre that a spell-check wasn’t even done on that. Considering I can find “free” copies of many SF books online, scanned in by a volunteer army of archivists, it’s unfortunate that a paid version has such mistakes. But, I’ll comment on the rest of the book once I read more. The Kindle version does have jump links for the TOC, and overall I am much happier with the Kindle book on the iPad than on the actual Kindle Rev1.

Very nice e-reader for books. I was curious about opening a PDF of a reference book I have, and found the quite usable GoodReader app, which has built-in help and has clear instructions on how to open PDF, TXT, pictures, etc., and how to transfer files via USB or Wi-Fi.

Also, one of the tips found in the welcome e-mail from Apple this morning was a tip on how to highlight and bookmark passages in the iBooks reader, which goes like this: Keep track of your favorite book passages. To create a bookmark in iBooks, double-tap and drag to highlight a passage, then tap Bookmark. At the top of the Table of Contents, Bookmarks lists all saved passages.

Of the other more mainstream apps, I am really fond of all of those I played with, including the Netflix app, which let me load and play a movie from my queue, but very unlike the PS3 player — which only lets you play from your queue, not actually choose films — the iPad app lets you do both. In fact, I can search for films, add to my playlist, and then on my PS3 they are there to watch. Nice.

The Weather Channel app worked very well for me, although earlier versions seem to have had problems according to feedback in the iTunes app store. Worked brilliantly for me. If you wanted “real weather” information versus the little thing on your iTouch, this is the real deal.

I had never used Pandora before, since I have over 1,200 legal albums in my iTunes library and have been using the Napster to go service the last couple of years since my brother turned my on to that. Still, it only took a second to create an account, type in Thomas Dolby, and I was instantly listening to Dolby followed by Talk Talk. I miss the ’80s.

So far, the iPad is everything I had hoped for. I have not yet delved too much into the productivity apps like Apple Pages, or played the pinball game I purchased, but even now I can see this is going to be a great relationship. Another home run for Apple, all the way around the field.

Article is Copr. © 2010 by Christopher Simmons – all rights reserved. Article originally appeared on

Articles Technology

Apple Unveils the new iPad – the 21st Century Mac, iBook Reader, and Portable Playground

ARTICLE: Well, it’s finally here. I can stop holding my breath, crossing my toes, and praying to the mighty Mr. Jobs that we’ve finally have something like an iPod, only, er, bigger. It’s here, it’s real, and now the Apple fan(atics) all over the Web can stop “guessing” as to what it will be and what it will cost. Surprise, starting at $499, this thing will rock. Consider I paid over $300 for my original white iPod (10GB?) back at end of 2001 (early 2002, I forget). Consider I paid almost $1,000 for my first Apple notebook in the early ’90s. And being the first on the block to own an iPod Touch wasn’t that much less than the iPad’s entry point. And it’s so much more. Bigger screen, real CPU power to do things that were, perhaps, less than they could be on the iPhone/iTouch (like multi-track audio/MIDI, or video). Games. And, yes, books!

First impressions. My credit card is out of my wallet, and I typed in my email for Apple to “let me know” when I can order one on their website. More specs below, but you can find all of that at – so you don’t need me to spell out every goodie in detail when Apple can do a better job themselves (um, pun intended). Yes, it’s basically a big iPod/iPhone, but with much more power (a custom 1GHz processor, from one of the tech firms Apple acquired over the past couple of years to develop just such tech without having to go to AMD or Intel, or even IBM who provided most of Apple’s 20th century silicon).

From the presentations and videos I’ve seen, the ebook store to buy books, and the new iBook application (not to be confused with the notebooks called iBooks) look really beautiful, and I’m excited to try the iPad for this purpose, as I sent back my original firt generation Amazon Kindle due to the form factor, but primarily the refresh lag on the display when switching pages — my brain is pseudo-idetic, and for every page turn, my brain would take a little snapshot of the reversed out page before the new one could appear. Simply couldn’t deal with it. I know the latest generation is much better, but I have been waiting for Apple to try its hand at this.

Back in 2004 I did a roundtable interview/article on “the future of e-books” where I posited that what the e-book (or ebook) industry really needed was a great reading application to take off and succeed. Amazon has done that with Kindle, because they followed Apple’s model with the iPod of making sure you had “food” for your device at a reasonable price, and with relative ease in acquisition (unless you’re totally clueless and still can’t cook popcorn in your microwave). What make this the right time for Apple is a no-brainer: they have the design and usability skills, they have a whole generation of users “in pocket” who are familiar with the iPod/iTouch/iPhone, and many of those are second generation folk who first fell in love with the Mac/Apple culture with the iMac as kids.

Us older folks who had SE30s, Quadras and PowerPCs (but, ahem, who use Windows PCs daily now), were early adopters of the iPod as it originally only worked on Mac. Many of us who came from that space of trust jumped on the iPhone when the entire business and tech, and telecom, communities expected it to fail (or “epic fail” if you will pardon what is the most loathsome phrase in social media right now). But, no, the iPhone took off and has become the most recognized, and perhaps the only “loved” multimedia portable, outside of the Blackberry (crackberry) cadre, who are mostly business-oriented folks and not the average joe, or the right brained sort (pardon me if I’m mis-labeling you). But, I’m getting off topic. Point is … it’s happening again right now, with the media saying Apple can’t succeed with the iPad, there’s too many others bringing tablets to market, and what about the Kindle, blah blah, blah, woof. So what. Apple has the chops to make the hardware, do the software, and they have the user base, the ecommerce system in place, and they can deliver what others like Microsoft and Sony have failed to follow through with.

Basic pricing:
16GB 32GB 64GB
Wi-Fi $499 $599 $699
Wi-Fi + 3G $629 $729 $829

Basic specs:
Size and weight
9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model;
1.6 pounds (0.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model

* 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
* 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi).


iPad Keyboard Dock: The Keyboard Dock combines a dock for charging your iPad with a full-size keyboard. The dock has a rear 30-pin connector, which lets you connect to an electrical outlet using the USB Power Adapter, sync to your computer, and use accessories like the Camera Connection Kit. An audio jack lets you connect to a stereo or powered speakers.

Brilliant. Look for a review in 2-4 months when I have one!

Article is Copr. © 2010 by Christopher Simmons – all rights reserved. Originally appeard on