iPad: The Missing Manual (2014)
It’s often said that Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, knew what the public wanted before it did. Over and over again, Apple came up with inventions that seemed to feed a hunger we didn’t know we had.
There’s no better example than the iPad. Apple unveiled it in January 2010, three months before anybody could actually buy one. Without ever having tried the it, tech critics called it the dumbest machine ever invented.
“An utter disappointment and abysmal failure,” wrote the Orange County Design Blog. “Consumers seem genuinely baffled by why they might need it,” said Businessweek. “It’s nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks,” declared Bloomberg. “Insanely great it is not,” snarked CBS MarketWatch. “My god, am I underwhelmed,” said Gizmodo.
As we know now, the joke was on them. Apple sold 300,000 iPads on the first day they were available; 1 million in the first month; 250 million in the first seven years. The iPad became the fastest-adopted new product category in history.
The iPad Defined
Now here we are, five iPad models (and three mini models) later, and we can now see that the iPad was a turning point in computing history. Today, lots of people carry around an iPad instead of a laptop.
Your ability to replace a laptop with an iPad, however, depends on what you want to do with it. For years, the conventional wisdom was that the iPad is fantastic for consuming material—surfing the Web, reading ebooks, watching videos, playing music, doing a first pass on email—but a clumsy tool for creating it. Sometimes, a mouse and keyboard are faster, more precise tools than your fat fingertips.
These days, that view has softened. Especially in iOS 8.1, the iPad’s dictation feature has gotten so fast and accurate that you don’t ache for a keyboard quite so much.
And then there are the apps (programs). Sooooooo many apps. 750,000 apps written just for the iPad, including, surprisingly, Microsoft Office.
And then there are those 1.3 million iPhone apps that also run on the iPad.
The iPad is already a thin, light, touchscreen computer with a dazzling screen. But those apps turn it into a sensational Internet viewer. It shows fully formatted email (with attachments, thank you) and displays entire Web pages with fonts and design intact. It’s tricked out with a tilt sensor, a proximity sensor, a light sensor, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, a gyroscope, and that amazing multitouch screen.
For many people, the iPad is also a camera and a camcorder—one that’s getting better with every year’s new model.
Furthermore, it’s a calendar, address book, alarm clock, stopwatch, traffic reporter, RSS reader, medical reference, musical keyboard, time tracker, remote control, reader, and so on. And, whoa, those games! Thousands of them, with smooth 3-D graphics and tilt control.
All of this sends the iPad’s utility and power through the roof.
By the way: As a thoughtful courtesy to people who own multiple Apple gadgets (as well as people who write books about them), Apple wrote iOS to work almost identically on the iPad and the iPhone. Where things are, what they’re called, and what they look like is almost exactly the same.
In fact, there are only a few iPhone features that the iPad doesn’t have, some of which may surprise you:
§ Phone features. Without the assistance of an iPhone, an iPad can’t make a traditional phone call or send traditional text messages.
§ Vibrate mode. The iPad can get your attention with visuals and sound, but not touch; there’s no vibration.
§ Certain apps. For reasons nobody can quite figure out, the iPad doesn’t come with as many apps as the iPhone. It’s missing Calculator, Stocks, Weather, Voice Memos, Compass, and Health.
§ A flash. There are cameras on the iPad, front and back, but it doesn’t have a flash.
Apple introduces a new iPad model every fall. In October 2014, for example, it introduced the sixth full-size iPad model—the iPad Air 2—and the third 7-inch model, the iPad mini 3. They’re thinner, faster, and better in most ways.
More importantly, there’s a new, free version of the iPad’s software, called iOS 8.1. (Why not “iPad OS” anymore? Because the same operating system runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s not just for iPads anymore, and saying “the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch OS” takes too long.)
You can run iOS 8 on older iPad models without having to buy a new phone. This book covers all phones that can run iOS 8: the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 2, iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 4th Generation, and all three mini models.
About This Book
You don’t get a printed manual when you buy an iPad. Online, you can find an electronic PDF manual that covers the basics well, but it’s largely free of details, hacks, workarounds, tutorials, humor, and any acknowledgment of the iPad’s flaws. You can’t easily mark your place, underline, or read it in the bathroom.
The purpose of this book, then, is to serve as the manual that should have accompanied the iPad. (If your older iPad doesn’t have iOS 8, you really need one of this book’s earlier editions.)
Writing a book about the iPad is a study in exasperation, because the darned thing is a moving target. Apple updates the iPad’s software fairly often, piping in new features, bug fixes, speed-ups, and so on.
Therefore, you should think of this book the way you think of the first iPad: as a darned good start. To keep in touch with updates we make to it as developments unfold, drop in to the book’s Errata/Changes page. (Go to www.missingmanuals.com, click this book’s name, and then clickView/Submit Errata.)
This book covers the iOS 8.1.2 software. There will surely be an 8.1.3, an 8.2, and so on. Check this book’s page at www.missingmanuals.com to read about those updates when they occur.
About the Outline
iPad: The Missing Manual is divided into five parts, each containing several chapters:
§ Part 1, covers everything related to instant communication: voice calls, video calls, text messaging, iMessages, and the Contacts (address book) program. It’s also where you can read about entering text, either by typing or by speaking; Siri, the “virtual assistant”; and the rich array of features for people with disabilities—some of which are surprisingly useful even for people without them.
§ Part 2, is dedicated to the iPad’s built-in apps, with a special emphasis on its multimedia abilities: playing music, podcasts, movies, TV shows, and photos; capturing photos and videos; the Maps app; reading ebooks; and so on. These chapters also cover some of the standard techniques that most apps share: installing, organizing, and quitting them; switching among them; and sharing material from within them using the Share sheet.
§ Part 3, is a detailed exploration of the iPad’s third talent: its ability to get you onto the Internet, either over a WiFi hotspot connection or (if you have a cellular model) via the cellular network. It’s all here: email, Web browsing, and tethering (that is, letting your phone serve as a sort of Internet antenna for your laptop).
§ Part 4, describes the world beyond the iPad itself—like the copy of iTunes on your Mac or PC that can fill up the iPad with music, videos, and photos; and syncing the calendar, address book, and mail settings. These chapters also cover the iPad’s control panel, the Settings program; Continuity (the wireless integration of iPad and Mac); and how the iPad syncs wirelessly with corporate networks using Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync—or with your own computers using Apple’s iCloud service.
§ Part 5, contains two reference chapters. Appendix A walks you through the setup process; Appendix B is a master compendium of troubleshooting, maintenance, and battery information.
Throughout this book, and throughout the Missing Manual series, you’ll find sentences like this one: Tap Settings→General→Keyboard. That’s shorthand for a much longer instruction that directs you to open three nested screens in sequence, like this: “Tap the Settings button. On the next screen, tap General. On the screen after that, tap Keyboard.” (In this book, tappable things on the screen are printed in orange to make them stand out.)
Similarly, this kind of arrow shorthand helps to simplify the business of choosing commands in menus on your Mac or PC, like File→Print.
To get the most out of this book, visit www.missingmanuals.com. Click the Missing CDs link, and then click this book’s title to reveal a neat, organized list of the shareware, freeware, and bonus articles mentioned in this book.
The Web site also offers corrections and updates to the book; to see them, click the book’s title, and then click View/Submit Errata. In fact, please submit corrections yourself! Each time we print more copies of this book, we’ll make any confirmed corrections you’ve suggested. We’ll also note such changes on the Web site, so you can mark important corrections into your own copy of the book, if you like. And we’ll keep the book current as Apple releases more iPad updates.
iPad Air 2: What’s New
Apple’s usual routine is to introduce a new iPad every October. In the 2014 model, here’s what’s new:
§ Thinner. That’s really the biggest feature: The Air 2 is less than a quarter of an inch thick (6.1 millimeters). Any thinner, and you could fold it into a paper airplane.
A tablet is something you have to hold all the time you’re using it, so thinness and lightness matter.
§ Faster. There’s a new processor inside: Apple’s own chip, the A8X. Apple says it’s 40 percent faster than before, and it does feel faster. Yet the iPad’s 10-hour battery life hasn’t suffered as a result.
§ Camera. The camera’s been improved, too. It has a new, 8-megapixel sensor that brings to the iPad most of the tricks of the iPhone 6, like time-lapse video, slow motion, burst mode, self-timer, and panorama mode. It still lacks some of the iPhone camera’s awesomeness, though—like superfast autofocus (what Apple calls “focus pixels”), optical stabilization, hypersmooth 60 frames-per-second video, and a tap-to-focus feature.
§ Fingerprint sensor. The iPad Air 2 has a fingerprint sensor embedded into the Home button (what Apple calls Touch ID), just as the last couple of iPhones have. It’s smooth, fast, and reliable; it doesn’t care what angle your finger is at. In many cases, it spares you having to remember passwords.
You can use your fingerprint to unlock the iPad Air 2, or to make purchases from Apple’s online stores (music, movies, apps), or, now, to buy stuff online with just a touch of your finger.
This doesn’t mean that you can buy things in physical stores by wielding your iPad, as you can with the iPhone 6 models. You can, however, use your fingerprint for the other part of Apple Pay: shopping online from within shopping apps like Houzz (housewares), Fancy.com; Target; Panera Bread; Uber, and so on.
§ Faster WiFi. WiFi is much faster on the iPad Air 2—and you really feel it when you’re opening Web pages. The cellular iPad models ($130 extra) are 50 percent faster than before, too.
§ Better screen. Apple reduced the number of layers between your eye and the image, so that the image seems slightly closer to your fingers. Apple also says the screen is less reflective than before.
§ Universal SIM card. Apple now sells a single cellular iPad model that can hop onto any of three U.S. cellular networks: AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can freely flit between those companies; there’s a lot of fine print (The Universal Apple SIM Card).
The iPad comes in 16-, 64-, or 128-gigabyte models these days, with black or white fronts and black, white, or gold backs. The model with a cellular connection always costs $130 more.
iPad Mini 3: What’s New
There’s a new iPad mini this year, too. Apple made only one change to it, though: It now has a Touch ID fingerprint reader built into the Home button, just as on its big brother.
The mini remains a fascinating machine, though. Its 7.9-inch screen displays just as much image as the bigger iPad’s 9.7-inch screen—just smaller. You can carry this thing in an overcoat pocket or a purse, making it much more transportable, manageable, and handleable.
What’s New in iOS 8
In 2013, Apple freaked out the world by introducing a radical iPad-software redesign in iOS 7: clean, white, almost barren, with a razor-thin font (Helvetica Neue) and bright, light colors. The design was controversial and polarizing.
The iOS 8 design is the same—by now, people have gotten used to it—so the improvements now are focused on features and flexibility.
If the fonts are too thin for your taste, you can fatten them up just enough by turning on Settings→Display & Brightness→Bold Text. While you’re there, you can make text larger in most apps, too; tap the Larger Type control.
Apple says iOS 8 contains over 200 new features, but here are the big-ticket items:
§ Predictive keyboard (and Swype, and SwiftKey). At long last, the iPad now offers three onscreen buttons, predicting the next word you’re likely to type above the onscreen keyboard. It’s smart enough to save you a lot of typing.
But if you think other companies do the onscreen keyboard thing better, go for it: In iOS 8, you can now install any of dozens of popular keyboard systems, like Swype or SwiftKey, to replace Apple’s.
§ Family Sharing. The days of having to share your iCloud password with your kid—or to type it into the kid’s phone every time he wants to download something—are over. Now, up to six family members can share one another’s Apple-purchased books, videos, and music. You can keep track of your teenagers’ locations. And you each get a common Family category in Calendar, Reminders, and Photos, so the whole family can share.
§ iCloud Drive. Now there’s a single folder in the sky—the iCloud Drive—that stores whatever files you want to be able to access from any Mac, Windows PC, phone, or tablet. It’s like the Apple version of Dropbox.
§ Expanded Spotlight. The iPad’s built-in search bar can find all kinds of stuff beyond the phone. You can search for Wikipedia entries, movie showtimes, news, Apple’s online app/movie/bookstores, and so on.
§ Continuity. If you have an iPhone too, prepare to be mind-blown. The suite of features Apple calls Continuity (Chapter 15) makes the phone an extension of the iPad. Now you can use the iPad as a speakerphone, taking and making calls. You can send and receive text messages from your iPad—to any cellphone, Apple or not. You can begin working on something in Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, or Contacts—and when you arrive at your Mac or iPhone, the half-finished document is magically already on the screen, ready to complete.
§ Photo editing. There’s a lot less need to duck into another app to adjust color, saturation, brightness, and other photographic settings; that’s all right in the Photos app now. So is a search command. So are “smart albums” that can round up all photos taken within a certain time period, or in a certain place.
§ Video and audio texting. Hard to explain, easy to use: Now, when you’re texting in Messages, you can hold down a button to record a sound or a video instead of typing; when you release your finger, it shoots off to the recipient instantly. The iPad becomes a walkie-talkie.
§ Mail upgrades. You can swipe across a Mail message in the list to delete it—no second confirmation tap required. Swipe a different way to archive it, flag it, or mark it as read. When you’re composing a message, you can now refer to another message without losing your place. And Data Detectors, a great feature on the Mac, have finally come to the iPad: When an incoming message contains the sender’s contact information or a date for an event, Mail offers to pop it into Contacts or Calendar automatically.
§ A thousand helpful tweaks. When a notification about an incoming text, mail message, calendar invitation, or reminder appears, you can reply, delete it, accept it, or snooze it on the spot—right in the notification banner. The app-switcher screen now has icons of the people you contact the most, so shooting off a call or a text is only a double-press of the Home button away.
You can use the fingerprint reader (iPad Air 2, mini 3) to do more than unlock the phone. You can use it to log into apps instead of remembering a password. The Camera app can now record time-lapse video.
§ They’ve fixed Siri. Siri’s speech recognition is much more accurate, especially if you have an accent. You see the words appear as you’re speaking them now. And there’s a new, hands-free, “always listening” mode for Siri whenever the iPad is charging (for example, in the car). Even if it’s asleep, you can say, “Hey, Siri” to make it listen to a spoken command.
It’s a lot of tweaks, polishing, and finesse—and a lot to learn. Fortunately, 500 pages of instructions now await you.