Have you unwrapped the season’s hottest gift — the Apple iPad 2?
You’ve got an incredible device. Here are some tips to use it well.
Apps to download
Netflix and Hulu Plus: One of the best uses of the iPad is as a personal video device. Each of these apps requires a separate $7.99 per month service charge to access the streaming video. Netflix is heavier on movie titles and older TV shows, while Hulu Plus carries many of the current series on Fox, NBC and ABC. Many past seasons are also available.
Dropbox: This app lets you easily share documents from a computer to the iPad. It’s a great service to use anyway, but with the iPad, it’s a super-convenient way to access things like PDFs, photos and other documents. The service is free for up to 2 gigabytes of online storage.
Skype: The iPad 2’s front-facing camera means the tablet is a great way to video chat. Video chats are free and can be made to any other Skype user on a computer, smartphone or tablet. It’s a great way to keep in touch with long-distance family members or those overseas for free.
Use four or five fingers at the same time to swipe left and right between open apps. It’s the fastest way to switch to the last app you were in. You can also use four or five fingers to swipe up to reveal a tray of all the apps currently running frozen in the background.
You can customize which apps appear in the bottom tray, so that the programs you use the most are always there. Just take an app and hold down on it until it shakes. Then drag it to the dock. You can have up to five items here.
You can use iMessage on the iPad, which means it’s possible to send text message-like notes to anyone running iOS 5, including iPhone and iPod Touch users. The new iMessage system has given iOS users a seamless way to send messages between devices. They can also be sent over Wi-Fi without a cellular data connection.
With the iPad, I often make the case for no case. When your iPad is in use, there is little reason to be encumbered by a clunky wrap-around case. Usually, iPad users are safely at rest on the couch or in bed.
Apple sells the Smart Cover, which starts at $39. It’s a great way to keep the screen covered and also doubles as a typing and viewing stand when folded back.
For the iPad 2, I recommend picking up a sleeve-like case. Go to www.etsy.com and search “wool iPad sleeve.” You’ll come up with a bunch of beautiful sleeves for the iPad that are handmade and start at around $50. They’ll keep your iPad protected while in a bag but allow you to take it out and use it without a covering. It’s a beautiful device — don’t hide it.
A tip here: If you buy a sleeve that says it also works with the thicker original iPad model, you’ll also have room in the sleeve to leave on Apple’s Smart Cover. That’s the best combination out there.