After having used an iPad for a couple months, I can say that most things on the device are fairly intuitive, but there are a lot of things to learn. I was given a copy of iPad: The Missing Manual for review and I’m happy to say that for someone who wants a comprehensive guide to Apple’s first tablet computer, the book didn’t disappoint.
The Missing Manual series of books sets out to be what one might expect: thorough user manuals for today’s products which lack the traditional printed manual of yesteryear. The overall tone is definitely in the how-to style although the author does a good job of injecting humor and real-world reality into the text instead of just dry instructions.
The first few chapters cover iPad basics including explanations of the hardware, buttons, and ports along with a tour though basic app navigation. A discussion talks about how to get online with the iPad (either wifi or AT&T’s 3G service). Since the book was written prior to AT&T’s recent rate plan changes, the rate information is no longer entirely accurate. After discussing connectivity, the next couple of chapters talk about surfing the web and using email on the device… these are probably the most important uses for many people. Topics move along to the other built-in apps including iBooks and the iBook store.
Although Apple’s iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) aren’t bundled with the iPad, they’re quite prevalent and are the subject of their own chapter. Following the productivity coverage a few chapters are dedicated to both basic and advanced usage of iTunes as well as the music-playing functions of the iPad. The book wraps up covering videos, photos, and MobileMe, Apple’s synchronization service.
I found the book to be light-hearted yet technically complete. As a previous user of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, I found the iPad fairly intuitive but someone who is new to the platform would likely find the book to be a great resource for both getting started and then diving in deeper with the iPad and applications.
Interestingly enough, iPad: The Missing Manual is available in print (iPad: The Missing Manual on Amazon), or as an iPhone/iPad app (click to access on the ), but not as an iBook.
The book is less than $20 through Amazon and is a good, thorough look at the various hardware and software features of the iPad. If you’ve wanted a comprehensive iPad manual, this is a good solution.