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Own an iPad? Read This.

The iPad has blown away the opposition. The device’s share of the tablet market is now more than 61 percent. All the Android tablets together barely make up 30 percent while only 4.6 percent of tablet owners are using Windows-based devices (and it’s likely that 100 percent of them live in Richmond.) RIM’s share of the market is a pretty negligible 3.3 percent. It’s hardly surprising then that HP has already pulled the plug and is getting out of the hardware business altogether. According to one theory though, the secret of the iPad’s strength isn’t Jony Ive’s design or Apple’s A5 processor. It’s the App Store. They’re wrong; it’s the iPad.

Sure, developers have already made more than 90,000 of the store’s 475,000 iPhone applications compatible with the iPad’s bigger screen and greater processing power. Of Android’s 300,000 apps, only 300 have been optimized for the tablets’ Honeycomb operating system, a pretty big difference. But there’s more to it than that. The iPad is just a great device. Even out of the box — without downloading any more apps and certainly without jailbreaking it  — the iPad can do some amazing things. In fact, in the rush to download apps and fire up the videos those incredible little tricks and techniques often get overlooked.

That’s why we sat down with our iPads and — using just the apps that came with it — tried to figure out all of the things that Apple’s tablet could do. We were pretty stunned.

Some of the things we discovered were just neat little tricks that we’d heard of but never really explored, like the ability to make the battery last longer or squeeze more content into the device’s meager memory. Some, such as the ability to add ready-made dates to the Calendar have been incredibly useful additions that we wished we’d known about earlier. And others, such as a workaround that lets international users not just access but actually buy content from the US iTunes store, have felt so much like additional features that they’ve opened up whole new areas of usage for the tablet.

We drew up a list of twenty of what we thought were the iPad’s most powerful, useful and little-used functions and put them together in a new book called iPad Advanced Manual that you can now find on Apple’s iBookStore. Each technique includes step-by-step instructions and lots of screenshots to make sure that you get the trick exactly right. There’s also a quick, little summary at the end of each chapter in case you need to go back and start again, and just need some quick prompts.

Some of the techniques (such as the iPad’s keyboard shortcuts) are straightforward and simple, but are little-known and rarely used, even though they make the device much more efficient. Others can be fairly complex but add the kind of new features to your iPad (such as the ability to search on Safari pages) that are so valuable you’ll wonder how you managed to get along without them until now.

If you’ve got an iPad, either a first or a second generation, you will want to know these techniques — and once you know them, you will be using them!

We’ve included below just one small example of a little-known but surprisingly useful technique that your iPad can do. This is one that didn’t make it into the book. The tricks that you’ll find there are even more valuable and even more useful than this technique that connects your iPad’s Notes app to Gmail to create instant cloud-based, document storage.

Keep Up with Your iPad Notes Anywhere

The iPad’s Notes app can be a very convenient way to create lists and jot down spontaneous ideas. But once you’ve made notes, you want to be able to access them on other devices, including your desktop, laptop and mobile phone.

Fortunately, the iPad, as well as third generation and later iPod touches and iPhones from the 3GS model onwards, can automatically sync content placed in Notes with IMAP accounts. They can also sync them with MobileMe Accounts.

How To Do It

1. To sync Notes with your IMAP account.

i. On the iPad, open Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

The IMAP account also syncs calendars and notes.


ii. Select your IMAP account. Gmail works well.

iii. Slide the Notes slider to On.

Just slide to sync your notes.


2. To move a note into your IMAP folder.

i. Open Notes and press the Plus button to create a new note.

With note-syncing on, write your note….


ii. When you’ve finished writing, close the Notes application.

iii. Open your IMAP account.

Your list of labels should now include a label marked Notes.

…then open Gmail.


iv. Open the Notes label to find your new note.

While you can see your synced note in Gmail or another IMAP mail client, you won’t be able to make changes to those notes or create new ones in the program itself. You can, however, reply to the note, sending the amended version back to your iPad Mail app so that you can paste it into Notes.

This is just a simple technique that lets you continue working on the content you’ve written in your Notes application even when you’re away from your iPad. But the iPad can do so much more, including:

  • Allow GPS usage even on a wifi-only iPad.
  • Read image files from a standard USB flash drive.
  • And even turn books bought from the iBookStore into audiobooks that are read to you automatically.

Sure, the App Store with its giant amount of content optimized for the iPad’s large screen and powerful processor is a good reason to buy an iPad. But when Apple created the device, the company packed so much into the hardware and the iOS itself that it’s hardly surprising that many of the iPad’s in-built features have been overlooked. That’s a shame. If you already own an iPad you need to pick up the iPad Advanced Manual and understand exactly what your device should — and can — be doing for you. (You can also get the kindle or the nook version.)

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