Several years ago I bought iPods for my wife and daughter and they have been in love with them ever since. Being a non-Apple person I did not quite understand their excitement, but that changed on my 70th birthday, December 21, 2011. My wife bought me a 16GB, WiFi only iPad2 from the Braintree, MA Apple store. The same store I bought their iPods from, I might add.
On opening the box, my first reaction was pretty negative on not finding a user manual. So I attached it via USB to the PC my wife uses for iTunes purchases. Windows XP detected it just fine. I downloaded the Apple iPad2 user manual PDF and found that iTunes was essential for getting my new toy setup, but on firing up iTunes I was told that the version of iTunes we had could not be used for the iPad2 setup. After updating iTunes to the latest Windows XP version, iTunes made it a breeze to setup and register the iPad2 and allowed me to sync and transfer my wife's 700+ song purchases to the iPad2.
During this process, I received a message telling me there was an iOS update available. I have no idea what version of iOS was on the iPad2 originally, so I started the install of iOS 5.0.x and was informed it would take over an hour to complete.
While the OS update was proceeding, I figured it might be a good idea to give the iPad2 a WiFi signal to work with, as we live about 25 miles from Boston and I doubted we would pick up a WiFi connection where we live. As it turns out, I was correct about a lack of nearby wireless hotspots.
Our house is well wired for our home network on CAT5E. Besides the Windows XP box, we have my home built Windows 7 Pro x64 machine, two HD DVRs, a NAS, and a Blue Ray player on our wired network. The internet connection for all this stuff is through a combination DSL modem/router with no wireless capability.
Our home network used to have a D-link 4300 router in the mix which does has wireless capability. I broke that router out of storage and set it up to function as a switch and wireless access point with no DHCP functionality. It works great as a wireless access point with a very strong wireless signal inside and even outside the house. The iPad2 connected very nicely with this WiFi signal and is surprisingly responsive and fast loading WEB pages.
So now that my toy had internet access...it was time to see firsthand what the Apple iPad mania was really all about.
I've only played with the iPad2 for a couple of days and I must say it is a stunning achievement and magnificent testimony to Steve Jobs' genius.
The first app I installed was "PhotoSync" to transfer several hundred of our favorite photographs from my Win7 PC machine. This was a very fast, drag-and-drop wireless operation and the display quality of the photos is superb. I really like the slideshow with music.
The next app was "Kindle for the iPad". I was stunned at how easy it was to register the iPad2 with my Amazon account and download copies of my book purchases. Very nice indeed!
I've installed a number of other apps; "Photoshop Express", "Epicurious", "AP Mobile", "Gadget Guide", "VideoTime Machine", "RoboTEK HD", "Fotopedia National Parks", "Zite", "LIFE", and Google Earth". It seems that what really makes the iPad2 jump out and grab you with it's' brilliance are apps that allow you to relive events, people, and places with outstanding audio and visual clarity. "VideoTime Machine" is a great example of how apps make the iPad2 come alive with in-your-face delight.
This is going to be a fun ride.