Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: iPad 2 - The Missing Manual by J.D. Biersdorfer

iPad 2: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)iPad 2: The Missing Manual by J.D. Biersdorfer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

iPad2: The Missing Manual by J.D. Biersdorfer

Thinking about a "Missing Manual" for the iPad2, the obvious first question is "Why?" The marketing is all about ease of use, and there are YouTube videos out there with toddlers adeptly maneuvering around the interface. And if you think of tablet computers as only a media consumption device or an Internet appliance, there probably is not need for a a manual. But if the iPad is a computer platform in it's own right, and you can actually be productive, there is a place for a Missing Manual. But I don't know if this is that book.

The iPad interface is largely intuitive, so the role of a manual is to provide trouble shooting and some insight into no-obvious functions. A second role would be to demonstrate enough
uses to expand on an owner's understanding of what is possible with the iPad.

The Missing Manual does well when discussing the included iPod type applications such as the Photo viewer or the iPod (music) application. And the chapters covering the many features of iTunes and how it integrates with the iPad are highly informative, especially if you are not familiar with the many features of iPods.

But past the built in applications, it is thin. It provides a tour some other prominent applications, mostly those sold by Apple. For each application it introduces it, installs it on the iPad or home computer as appropriate and guides you through basic use. But it does not go much past that. Some of the applications, such as the parts of the iWork suites or Adobe Photoshop Express, are barely more then an advertising brochure that let's you know that an application exists.

What it is useful for is how to use the iPad out of the box, especially for getting the most out of iTunes media (music, books, video, apps) management. But for using the iPad to be productive, the search is ongoing.

I received a free electronic copy of this book as part of the O'Reilly Press blogger program. This book can be found at the O'Reilly Web Site

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