If you’re an iPad virgin and now hold in your hands Apple’s latest creation of the computer tablet, you might be trying to figure out what to do next.
As the owner of all three versions, I know every nook and cranny of the device. If you’re new to it, here’s how to get started.
Protection • Obviously, you’re going to want to get a case to protect your expensive investment. There are thousands to choose from. Personally, I don’t like hiding my iPad behind cheap, bulky plastic — after all, half the reason I like it is for its stellar design. But that screen still needs to be protected from scratches. So get a screen protector. Local company ZAGG makes its invisibleSHIELD for just the screen or the entire body. I also like Apple’s Smart Cover, the magnetic cover that just folds over the screen and doubles as a stand. At $40, it’s outrageously expensive, but it’s functional.
Security • After setting up the device, the first app to download and set up is “Find My iPhone” for the iPad. It’s a great free app from Apple that allows you to locate your iPad on a map with a computer should you lose the tablet. You can also use it to trigger a beep or even lock it out remotely from prying eyes if you’ve misplaced it.
FaceTime • Find out which of your closest friends have an iPad or iPhone and get their number or email. Then you can videoconference with them for free using FaceTime. If you’ve got family out of state, this is much better than calling them. Also download the free Skype app to videoconference others not on an Apple device.
Social networking • Download the free apps for Facebook and Twitter if you’re on those social networks. They’re not the most intuitive clients, but they work well.
Reading • With the new higher-resolution screen, magazines and books for the iPad will look more like a printed page than an LCD screen full of big pixels. Download the Kindle app for the iPad and browse the Apple bookstore to find something to read. And there are wonderful interactive magazine apps like Wired, Popular Mechanics or Vanity Fair if you’re a subscriber. Check out newspaper apps like The Daily, The Orange County Register and, of course, The Salt Lake Tribune. There’s also a great selection of interactive children’s books.
Games • Let’s face it, an iPad without games is worthless. And with the new high-resolution screen, they should look crisp and detailed. Unfortunately, in order to take full advantage of the new screen, the games will have to be made to run at that resolution; older games will be scaled up.
But there are a few great games that take advantage of the touchscreen and power of the iPad that don’t involve birds and slingshots. Try “Infinity Blade 2” from local developer Chair Entertainment, probably the best-looking game for the iPad. There’s also “Scribblenauts,” a wonderful puzzle game that involves creating any object you can think of by just typing it in. Finally, “Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP,” is a unique, esoteric adventure game that demonstrates how original independent game development is flourishing on the iPad.
If you have a question for Vince, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive, go to www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech .