Are you a Microsoft Windows user considering buying an Apple iPad?
For more than 25 years, I've been using Microsoft Windows. For the past few years, I've been using an HP/Compaq Windows “tablet” as my primary computer. I was seduced into pre-ordering an iPad by it's slim size, light weight, and impressive 10 hour battery life. The moment I heard about the iPad, I knew that it would be an ideal tool for e-mailing, surfing the Internet, and reading. After using the iPad for several days now, I can say that it has exceeded my expectations. I am not an Apple fan boy, but I agree with many other reviewers that the Apple iPad is definitely revolutionary.
If all you do is eMail, correspondence, Internet Browsing, and Twitter or Facebook, then you can probably get by with the iPad as your primary daily computer. You can't run specialized software on the iPad, so if you have an accounting, custom database, or fancy graphics program, then you may want an iPad just as a “traveling” computer that you use in your bed, easy chair, patio, bus or train ride or to take along as a daily planner.
Keep in mind that you'll still need a Windows or Mac desktop computer to run the iTunes software needed to initially set up the iPad and transfer your picture and music library. Once you've set up your iPad, however, you can download apps directly to the iPad and use it indefinitely without having to connect it to a computer.
iPad Size and Weight: An iPad weighs as much as a 400 page soft-cover book, but its physical width is as thin as a 200 page book. The Apple iPad weighs about 1.6 pounds and the Amazon Kindle DX, which is about the same size, weighs 1.2 pounds. The iPad feels a bit like you're carrying around a 1.6 pound wooden bread cutting board, but is considerably more useful. BTW, the iPad can create great salsa. [Link to Colbert?] Exact iPad dimensions: 9.56 in (24.3 cm) × 7.47 in (19.0 cm) × 0.5 in (1.3 cm).
iPad Battery: My iPad battery has never run out during my (somewhat long) daily use. Apple reports a 10 hour battery life, but other reputable reviewers have mentioned that they had the iPad battery last up to 12 hours. It will stay charged on standby for 30 days and can play 140 hours of audio. The long battery life is achieved because the iPad is solid-state, (it has no CD/DVD drive or moving parts) and the screen size is only 9.7 inches with an energy conserving back light. The iPad takes about 4 hours to fully charge if you're using a wall power adapter or up to 6 hours if you're charging it by connecting it to your computer's USB port.
iPad Keyboard: Using the iPad keyboard is actually called “Tapping” not “Typing,” because you tap the keys one at time with no shifting for capitalization. The iPad has built in “predictive text” than can automatically predict what you're about to type and will automatically capitalize or correct words as you're tapping. Because of the limited screen space on the iPad, only alpha characters are displayed, by default. To reveal the “number keyboard” or the “symbols keyboard” you must tap a button on the main keyboard to reveal them. While using three “partial” keyboards sounds like it would be overly cumbersome, it is actually surprisingly accurate and effective. I've installed an iPad typing tutor app called “TapTyping” that will seemingly speed up my tapping. However, if the tapping thing doesn't work out for you, I've written an article about how to connnect a regular keyboard to the iPad, which you can find here.
iPad Memory: The iPad is available with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. The base iPod model with 16GB of RAM may be adequate if you don't plan to store movies, music, or pictures. I bought the 32GB model because I expect to load videos on my iPad to watch while I travel. If you always have a live Internet connection, you won’t need store video on your iPad, but instead be able to watch live streaming video from the Internet.
iPad WiFi + 3G (Cellular Internet): Like the iPhone, the iPad always knows where you are. I was pleased to discover that even though I did NOT buy the 3G iPad, the WiFi version still uses triangulation to find my location. This means that I can use my WiFi iPad to easily find local points of interest and get maps and directions to and from my current location- And the iPad already knows approximately where I'm located. However, since I don't have a 3G (cellular) iPad, I can't use it for live GPS tracking navigation. I have a dashboard GPS for point-to-point navigation, so I probably won't miss it on my ipad. I bought the WiFi-only iPad because most places I plan to use the iPad have WiFi availability. The iPad WiFi+3G adds $150 to the iPad price, and the iPad's 3G cellular contracts are contract free, pay as you go. You can purchase an unlimited 3G data access for $30 per month, or 250MB per month for half that price. If you choose to access the Internet only via WiFi, then you can stop the AT&T contract and pay no monthly fees.
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