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the Ipad2, a small review and critique

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  #1  
Old 07-28-2011, 12:03 AM
Craig Walters's Avatar
Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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the Ipad2, a small review and critique

i recently bought an ipad2. at first i was impressed by what seemed like a really innovative new tool in the computer arena. i was on vacation at the time and hadnt brought my laptop with me as it would have been a pain to lug it around, but i wanted something. i had seen the ads for the ipad2 and decided to take the plunge.

at first, it was a lot of fun. it's small, lightweight, fast, and easy and intuitive to use... once you unlock it. yes, it has to be unlocked. you unlock it by putting itunes on another computer and connecting the ipad2 to that computer. it then does a whole registration thing and finally unlocks the ipad2. that's a complete pain in the butt and even insulting and even almost criminal. i just paid $700 for this thing and i cant use it unless i have another computer? that's just wrong and really annoying.

still, once i got it unlocked and running, this thing was pretty slick. it doesnt come with very many apps, but i got mine with wi-fi built in and could surf the internet almost anywhere, since wi-fi's hotspots are very common. i also got a couple passwords from friends to use their wi-fi connections. you can also get the ipad2 with 3gs built in.

so, i went ahead and set up an account with the apple store and downloaded some freebies and some pay-for apps. now, this was a bit surprising... most of the apps you pay for are less than $5 a piece and some of these are really good apps. sure, there's a lot of junk, so you just watch the ratings in the store. ok, so i was liking this, especially because it was so handy while i was out and about on vacation.

at one point i came home for a few days to pay bills, check on the cat and generally make sure the house hadnt blown up or anything and that's when the troubles started. i wanted to move files to and from the ipad2 and my pc.

the ipad2 has some serious drawbacks that arent apparent at first. i have the ipad2 and i'm frustrated constantly by it's unwillingness to share. moving photos to or from the ipad2 is a pain. you have to have itunes installed as it acts as the medium to facilitate transfers of data. but, if that's not odd enough, you have to have itunes installed just to unlock a new ipad2. and, itunes has to be installed on a regular computer, mac or pc. additionally, you can only 'sync' one file from your pc to your ipad2. syncing is a sort of temporary transfer system. if you want to sync another file or folder you have to erase the earlier one from the ipad2. this makes no sense whatsoever, but that's what it requires. thus, if you want to move photos from your pc to your ipad, they must all be in the same folder and you sync that folder, but if you want to move anything else to the ipad2, like your music files, you have to unsync the photos, which erases them from the ipad2. this is completely bonkers.

to further screw with you, once you move photos to the ipad2 from your pc, you cant move them back. so, you might have this really cool app for altering the photos somehow and you really like it and now you want to put it back on your pc, you cant. ok, you can, but you can only do it by emailing it from the ipad2 to your pc email.

and, if you want to move photos that were gathered or created on the ipad2 to begin with, it's a trick to download them to the pc and even trickier to view them. apparently the only pc program to currently be able to view apple's proprietary format is photoshop elements 8. now, i'm sure we all have the program, right? lol. you cant view them in paint shop pro nor in photoshop, itself.

when i first got the ipad2 i was impressed by how much they had packed into this little device. now, i'm seriously looking around for a better tablet. these restrictions are totally unnecessary. all i can think is that apple is somehow convinced that everyone is going to rush out and get their tablet and buy their apps and therefore they dont have to be compatible with anyone else... the world is supposed to be compatible to apple, not apple to the world. this always surprises me about apple. for a company that really does have some good creative ideas, they get totally whacko when it comes to opening up their market.

oh, and did i mention that you cant play anything with adobe flash on the ipad2? that means most of youtube is restricted. tons of web games are not available. tons of animations wont play. apple gets really retarded again. i'm seriously thinking of trading this thing in for a Samsung tablet. it's too bad, too. it really could have been the answer to a viable, compact, lightweight, seriously fast, affordable, mobile communication device, but with all these restrictions on files and file sharing and blocking flash stuff, the thing basically becomes a toy for buying apps from the apple store. granted, some of those apps are pretty cool, but i certainly dont want to be locked down to only that. so, apple once again does something totally cool and then shoots themselves in the foot doing it. i dont know who's running the company these days and setting these weird policies, but the board and shareholders might want to reevaluate their choice.

now, just in case i'm wrong, please tell me there's an easier way to move files and more than one file, back and forth between the two devices. i've looked at the apple site support stuff and from what all i read there and in the ipad2 manual, i've got it right, but i'd be happy to be wrong if someone knows a good way to do all this and bypass all those apple restrictions. i just hate goofy things like this.

anyways, that's my current take on the ipad2. it really is a slick device; just dont expect it to play well with the other children.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:42 AM
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

Good points, Craig, thanks for taking the time to write them up!

A couple of quick thoughts:

I think the upcoming iCloud service is meant to solve these syncing problems, relegating the computer to just another device, not the hub. I was also told early on in my own iPad experience that Dropbox was a viable option. But either of these options involves a lot of network activity, which I'm not keen on (I would love a USB cable or card slot...).

As for transferring photos, on the Mac one uses iPhoto (which I never use otherwise). My teenage daughter showed me how to do this-! Every time I want to transfer a new batch of PDFs to the iPad 2 I have to go get her.... And to think I've been using Macs for 20 years! But I agree, syncing is very dorky and spooks me every time. I keep a separate backup of my iTunes folder elsewhere in case the main folder gets synced into oblivion.

Oh, and then there are the various user accounts to deal with! We started out using my daughter's account and gift cards to stock up the iPad 1 and then I set up my own account, but I still come across apps I originally downloaded under her login.

iOS has a built-in YouTube app. I haven't noticed any restriction playing them. Flash, yes, but I only tend to see them on news websites.

Regardless of all this, Apple's business model is definitely working well for them, kicking the others' butts.

My daughter likes buying all sorts of games; I like the guitar and music apps (Garage Band is the best of them) and am exploring various photo apps (such as Snapseed). The iPad 2's poor camera really needs some serious artsy applied to the results...

(In your honor I just used my Apple-branded black cloth and shined up my iPad screen!)
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:08 AM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

Buying an iPad was so far away from my plans, after reading your notes on the thing, it completely vanished... Thanx for posting, Craig !
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:12 AM
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

I use dropbox to transfer anything and everything to my ipad. I have no use for itunes except to upgrade the os, and even that won't be necessary anymore after ios5. I also loathe Safari on the ipad, and replaced it with Atomic Browser. Kindle on the ipad is a joy to use, much better than even on the hardware Kindle.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:28 AM
dkcoats dkcoats is offline
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

Craig -
You might want to check out the HP (Palm) TouchPad. I don't have one (yet) but I have a Palm Pre+, which uses an earlier version of webOS, Palm's nifty open-source operating system. Moving files from computer to mobile device and vice versa is every bit as complicated as is it from computer to, say, a USB stick. You won't find the dizzying array of apps available for the iPad, but give it time - HP is devoting a fair amount of time and cash to supporting webOS (it's why they bought Palm) and there's an active community of homebrew webOS developers out there.

And you won't have to deal with Apple's snootiness.
(I also have an iPod Touch so I know some of what you're talking about. They don't make it easy.)
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:44 PM
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

Craig, thanks for your review and opinions. There are some things that do concern me about Apple products generally. The most important to me at least is that they do seem to be intent on locking out others or making life difficult to do what you want with their system. My experience of this I suppose is quite limited but purchased the iPod touch (some nice apps etc) really for the music content on the move - which is great. I also fully expected to be able to interface my small bluetooth gps unit and install apps - without success. My old HP PDA had no problems in communicating with the gps and running the required apps. Perhaps you just have to jailbreak the system to allow the functionality you want - just seems a shame to hamstring such a fine piece of technology
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:02 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

i shld, in all fairness, point out that the ipad2 is a good device. i've had no real trouble with it, no viruses (knock on wood), and there are some really cool apps at a very reasonable price. here's a list of some of my favorites in no particular order:

angry birds (all versions)
world of goo
Sid Meier's Pirates
Trenches
Pocket Organ
Garage Band (totally excellent!)
Army of Darkness
Mobile Monet HD
Auto Painter HD
9 Innings Pro Baseball 2011
Plants Vs. Zombies (hilarious)
Bejeweled 2

that's to name some of the better ones i've gotten so far. again, there's a bunch of freebies and a lot of junk. do be aware of the freebies. make sure there arent a lot of hidden pay-for type inclusions. it's ok if there are as long as you're aware of them. some get a bit sneaky with this, so just pay attention and read the blurbs in the app store carefully.

some of the games, i believe can be played multiplayer. havent tried that yet, so cant really report on that.

i also just bought a 5 in 1 plug in gadget, a hardware thing, that allows to use the apple port for SD card reading, so i shld be able to make file transfers easier when that gets here. it also has a usb port, a video out port (vga) and i think another type of card reader... not sure on that last one. one cool thing with adding a usb port is that i'll be able to plug a full sized keyboard into the port and use it with the ipad2. that will be nice when i'm home.

so, you may have noticed that a lot of my apps up there are games. again, because of the limits apple imposes on file transfers, i find that the productivity side of things is rather difficult and limited, so, even though i bought some graphic apps and like them, it's just currently too difficult to move them around. moving bulk files by email is a pain. posting them all up on facebook or some other site just so i can download them to my pc is also a pain. and, with folks ripping off images on sites like facebook and trying to sell them as their own, this really isnt a very viable option.

doug mentioned Dropbox as a means of syncing and transfering files. there is also DoubleTwist that supposedly does this. i couldnt find out how. it seemed to only want to work with the android phone stuff. and not having used Dropbox myself, i would warn folks to be aware that loading images and files up to an internet site doesnt guarantee that that site is reputable and trustworthy. read any EULA (end user license agreements) particularly concerning copyrights and releases to use and so forth. being that it's doug that's recommending it, i'm guessing it's probably a decent site, but read the stuff yourself.

if this little 5 in 1 device works like i hope it will, my file transfer problems will be minimized, but i'm still at a loss with apple over this lack of ports of different types. it just really does seem stingy and close-minded. i'm all for them protecting their products, but disallowing certain standard computer features is just silly and a bit backwards.

anyways, i will be looking at HP's tablet, samsung's and any others i happen to run across. if you've got a favorite, write it up and help out an old moderator
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:14 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

Have you tried any of the Photoshop apps?
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:26 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

i havent seen any photoshop apps, so far, and if Elements is on there, i'm certainly not paying full retail price for this on the ipad2 if i cant move files off the thing more easily. we'll see when my new 5 in 1 gets here. but, since you've mentioned it, i'll post this post and go see what i can find.
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:46 PM
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Re: the Ipad2, a small review and critique

I'm talking about the Photoshop remote control apps. There's one for painting, one for mapping commands, and another that I forget the purpose (color mixing, I think).

Also, I took a pair of old powered computer speakers I had gathering dust on a shelf and bungied them to the sides of my exercise machine. Now I can plug in my ipad and watch Netflix with good (and loud) stereo to distract me while I exercise. If you're an HBO subscriber, I can strongly recommend the HBOGO app to supplement Netflix (Netflix has no HBO programming).
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