New User - Some "Tech" Questions

Discussion in 'iPad Help' started by MHG, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. MHG

    MHG iPF Noob

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    Hi guys!

    I'm new here. And I've an iPad 2 which I have no idea how to use. The story goes like this: I attended one of ISOC's INET 2011 conferences today in Bangalore, India. They were giving away a grand prize iPad 2 for a crossword and a slogan. And I ended up winning the iPad 2. I just got back home, and unboxed my iPad. Its the iPad 2 16GB WiFi.

    Anyway, now for something about myself: I've a wide variety of hobbies, ranging from programming to music to photography to writing to cooking. I've worked in the last 5 years almost exclusively on Linux and I find Windows most uncomfortable. I've never touched a mac, though I guess its interface would be a far cry from what I'm used to (its a window manager called ratpoison - that's a black screen with nothing on it and its fully managed by keyboard shortcuts without needing the use of a mouse). Yeah you have weirdos everywhere, and I'm one of them, call me what you will :p

    Anyway, right now I'm trying to figure out how to live with a device designed for a guy who is as unlike me as can possibly be. To start off with, I've a few rather noobish questions:

    1) It seems I need iTunes to activate the device. Do I need iTunes regularly to synch the device and do operations with it ? Reason I'm asking is that I'd be happier if it behaved independently of a software that I've to use by booting into a PC not my own. There is no iTunes for linux.

    2) From a development point of view - Mac OSX is derived from Darwin which is derived from FreeBSD right ? So since iOS comes from OSX, does this have similar core functionality ? Specifically, can I get a terminal on iOS ? And will this run vanilla C++ apps built with GCC compiler ? Is there any simple IDE like software that can run IN the iPad ?? And does it have a python interpreter ?

    3) I hear a lot about awesome iPad apps. But it seems a majority of them are paid. How good is iPad when it comes to free apps ? Can you suggest some nice free productivity apps and entertainment/games apps ?


    Oh yeah I completely forgot to add - I registered here and intend to stick around. I hope to have a nice time with the iPad community here :D
     
  2. richsadams

    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Welcome to the forum! There are a lot of great people here willing to lend a hand anytime. Often using the Advanced Search box (at the top of every page) will lead you to the answers you're looking for. If not, feel free to post a question in the appropriate area.

    Please take a moment to view the information here to get the most out of your iPad as well as our forum:

    Forum Rules - Please read
    Hacking Rules - Please read
    iPad for Beginners
    Free iPad User Manuals
    Download The Official iPad Forum App

    BTW, I moved your post to the iPad Help area where you’re likely to get a better response to your questions.

    With respect to your well-written background and questions, I'll give you a little of my take on things as well as take a shot at a couple of your questions.

    FWIW Apple OS X is based on Unix and as one Linux user to another, you'd find a lot of commonality if you were to use it...particularly if you're a command line user. Having said that there are a number of ways to create a "virtual iTunes" using Linux. More here: iTunes Linux

    Regarding your questions:

    1. Yes, you have to have iTunes (or as noted above some variation) to connect your iPad to your computer to create an Apple account, activate it and subsequently to update it and/or do other work to make it more useful. The iPad needs to initially be activated tethered but with iOS 5, afterward it can be sync'd and backed up via Wi-Fi. Bottom line, although you could activate your iPad and then never connect to iTunes again, you probably wouldn't be happy with its capabilities as a "stand alone" device. It's built to be an integral part of a system.

    2. Although there is some commonality, OS X and iOS are two different OS's under the hood. The UI experience is beginning to become more and more similar, but one shouldn't expect to easily port functionality from one to the other. You can do some of the things you'd like and of course as a developer you could write a good deal of your own programming if you felt compelled. However as far as "off the shelf apps" I think you'll be disappointed with what's currently available for some of the other things you'd like to do. However you may be surprised by what other things you can do with it.

    3. There are plenty of free apps, but as you can guess they are often limited in scope and functionality. This isn't the Linux world where people spend their time working without pay for the greater good. There are a large contingent of folks that do work on apps that are not part of Apple's "walled garden". You might want to pay a visit to the iPF Hacking area where you can learn how to jailbreak your iPad and take advantage of a number of apps and ways to make your iPad do more than Apple probably intended...

    iPad Hacking

    The good news is that most apps cost somewhere between US$0.99 to $US9.99 or so with a majority being at the bottom end. So fitting out an iPad with an extensive array of useful apps isn't going to break the bank. Your best bet for finding apps is to use the iPF search features, either the field in the upper left-hand corner or the global Google search field in the upper right-hand corner of every page. If you can't find an answer, feel free to post in the appropriate area.

    Bottom line is that although the iPad has made great strides in the Enterprise world as well as being quite a robust tool for I.T. work, it is still a consumer grade product dependent on a support system. In other words, it isn't and wasn't meant to be a stand-alone device or a replacement for a "normal" computer. That said, it's pretty amazing what folks have done with it and every day it seems like something new is announced. With hundreds of thousands of apps and new ones arriving every day you never know what direction you can take it.

    Hope that helps and we'll look forward to your participation in the forum.

    Welcome again and enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
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  3. MHG

    MHG iPF Noob

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    Thanks for the reply.

    So I connected my iPad to iTunes, and after unplugging it I'm now able to use it and ran into my first usage problem. Is it possible to be able to download apps and stuff without having to provide credit card details ?
     
  4. Gabriel1

    Gabriel1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, you can buy iTunes gift cards and redeem the credit from them to use for your purchases. I'm pretty sure you don't have to put your card details in but I'm also sure someone else will tell me that I'm wrong!

    The Archangel
     
  5. MHG

    MHG iPF Noob

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    Yeah I have heard about them gift cards. Only problem is, I need to enter my credit card details even to buy free apps. Which I do not seem to find a work-around for.
     
  6. Gabriel1

    Gabriel1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Check this page out at Apple.com http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2534

    The Archangel
     
  7. MHG

    MHG iPF Noob

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  8. richsadams

    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Excellent! I and perhaps those that follow would be interested to hear a few details if you set things up with your Linux system. TIA.

    Thanks for the updates and enjoy!
     
  9. MHG

    MHG iPF Noob

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    I booted into my 2005 era Pentium 4 desktop running Windows XP, downloaded and installed iTunes to "start" the iPad and put it in self help mode. And I've been using it standalone since. I found a nice wiki detailing how to get an iDevice to work on Linux (specifically ArchLinux that I'm using) here. And I'm planning to try it out sometime later due to lack of time but the interesting part is one of the solutions does not need me to jailbreak the iPad.

    It seems almost all third-party software and jailbreak solutions need iOS version 4.3.3 or earlier which is what I'm running right now. Am I missing out on anything by not upgrading to iOS Version 5.0 ?
     
  10. richsadams

    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Excellent! Thanks for the feedback. Here's a list of the new features in iOS 5:

    http://www.ipadforums.net/ipad-os/49664-ios5-worth-update-12.html#post353091

    If you want to jailbreak, you'll have to stick with iOS 4.3.3 for now...the hacking section has info (keeping blobs to reinstall, etc.). Otherwise if it were me and you don't see anything you have to have, I'd wait a few weeks for the release of iOS 5.0.1 and then upgrade if you feel the need.

    Thanks again, keep us posted and enjoy!
     

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