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699 iPad (3) 2012-09-05

iPad with Zagg keyboard and Seattle Sport case

I have always been an Apple user. My first Mac was the second generation model. It was the big one, with 512k of memory and a 10mb hard drive that was a third party add on. Steve Jobs and the other employees signatures were etched on the inside of the case. It was a dazzling machine. I felt cool just drawing pixelated stick figures. Then through the years I continued to purchase Apple computers. There were some good computers and those the critics claimed were bad ones, yet they were all good for me. I have never been a gamer, but I have always had fun creating and computing on my Macs through the years.

When the iPad was first introduced a couple years ago, I didn't buy one. I had an iPod Touch, a laptop and a big desktop. Why did I need a pad? Then, my wife, Amy, received an iPad through the school where she teaches... she raved about the pad constantly. She went to Tech Conferences and Seminars and then raved even more. So how could it be that good? Essentially, it was just a big iPod Touch.

Then, last winter I had a 'breaking' jinx curse me. I broke my dearly beloved iPod and Canon camera during a short period of time. When the new IPad(3) came out in the spring we decided it was time to buy one. We waited for some of the newness to wear off and then went shopping. I wanted to upgrade to the 32gb model and Amy insisted that we also get the Verizon (cellular network) data model.

We purchased the pad in the middle of May and left on our summer trip a couple of weeks later. I was trying to learn how to use the pad while finishing maps, writing, and preparing to be gone for a couple of months. There was not much time for learning, but I had all summer.

During the trip, Amy patiently taught me basics and tricks for using the pad. I originally thought that it would be a good substitute for my aging laptop, but it's not a laptop. It's different. With the iPad we also purchased a Zagg bluetooth keyboard, a Seattle Sports neoprene case, and other connection and charging goodies.

iPad and Zagg keyboard

So a few notes about the iPad ...

The iPad weighs 2 lb 3 oz with the keyboard. The neoprene case adds 8 oz.

After my breaking jinx, I was very careful, and have had not had any trouble with the toughness of the pad. It is sturdier than it looks, but I am still careful. The keyboard also is a light, sturdy, hard shell screen protector. The Seattle Sports case adds a touch of padding and has a clear vinyl optional waterproof liner.

On our two month camping trip we did not have electricity. We used our Goal Zero solar equipment, the Element's battery, and stops at the local libraries for energy. The libraries also gave us Wi-Fi access.

The iPad seemed slow to charge wihle using it. If the pad was shut down (not just in standby mode), it charged much faster.

The Location Services, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular Data all use power, if you leave them on. The power drain even occurs in standby mode.

There are apps galore. The hardest thing is finding what you are looking for and answering the ever burning question 'is the app worth 99 cents?!' Many apps cost more than .99.

With the app store, it is easy to purchase apps.

Still with all the apps on the market, there are still no replacements for some of my work programs. Hopefully, someday...

Apple is emphasizing working in the cloud. The iPad syncs or transfers data by using the cloud, but while camping the clouds are harder to find. Without Wi-Fi or cellular access there is no cloud. Some apps let you transfer through the iTunes sync, which is handy but cumbersome.

The Verizon cellular data plan is amazing. We were able to check the weather is some crazy places. In New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado the iPad worked great. In Wyoming, the AT&T iPhone worked better.

The iPad is extremely stable. Mine has never crashed or needed re-booting.

After using the iPad daily, for over three months, it has become my personal entertainment center. I check email, write email, surf the web, read books with iBooks and Kindle, listen to music and podcasts, watch videos, play a few simple, distracting, games, type longer notes with Pages, and in general have fun. My iPad is my personal entertainment center. I love it!

Happy iPad trails


There are many outdoor apps for the iPad (and iPhone and iPod), I hope to review a few soon.


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