Apple set up some pretty high expectations with its promise of a “revolutionary and magical” device. Based on our experience and most reviews the iPad meets many of its lofty expectations. iPad is the first mobile device that comes close to being a laptop replacement.
Understanding the internals becomes important to either help troubleshoot your iPad or make a decision about whether to buy one. In the last article in our iPad FAQ series, we tackle the most common questions about the technology running Cupertino’s game-changing tablet.
Can iPad sync with my computer wirelessly?
Unfortunately, Apple still is not really strong at syncing data through the cloud. That is unless you spend up to $99 for its MobileMe service, which provides push e-mail, contacts, and calendar events. Its best feature is Find My iPhone, which allows you to locate and remotely wipe a phone in case it goes missing. (Not like that hasn’t happened lately). Unless you really want the security features, I would recommend using Google Sync, which does the exact same thing with your e-mail, contacts, and calendar as MobileMe does, except it’s free.
Getting music and videos onto the iPad must be done through iTunes, which sometimes feels counter-intuitive given that it is such a powerful device—yet must be hooked up to a PC or Mac from time to time. For all the talk about the iPad being a “computer for everyone,” it is still tied to the traditional desktop.
Does the iPad have a built-in GPS?
The Wi-Fi model does not, although it uses the location of your wireless network to roughly determine your location. It works surprisingly well in Google Maps and other location-based applications. The Wi-Fi + 3G model includes Assisted GPS, which you can read more about here.
If you want to use your iPad as a super-sized GPS navigator, then you are better off getting the 3G model. If location-based apps aren’t that important to you, then Wi-Fi should be fine.
Does the iPad work with Bluetooth?
Yes, the iPad uses Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology, giving you the freedom to connect wireless headphones and keyboards. Apple’s iPad keyboard docks only connect in portrait mode, so the Bluetooth ability gives you some flexibility in syncing up a keyboard and placing the iPad however you wish.
Will my iPhone accessories work with the iPad?
Yes, the 30-pin connector is the same as found on the iPhone and iPod touch, so it will plug into a power outlet or a computer the same. Headphones work the same too. Unfortunately, there are no other ports. So, if you want to put photos on the iPad directly from a camera, that will require a $29.99 iPad Camera Connection Kit.
How many apps can the iPad hold? Can I add a bigger hard drive?
There are three hard drive choices—16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Given that apps vary in size it is hard to put a specific number on this, but apps can be as small as KB to as large as 30MB or more (games and productivity apps tend to be among the largest). Because there is no external memory it is important to choose a model wisely. If usage plans include storage of movies, photo albums, and music, then at least opt for the 32GB. If getting the 3G model is in the plans, and most of your data will probably be kept in the cloud and not stored on your device, then 16GB should be fine.
How long does the battery last on the iPad?
Apple promises 10 hours of battery life. Fortunately, most testers and reviews across the web claimed even better performance – up to 12 hours. The performance will likely vary somewhat from one user to another given what types of activities are performed on the iPad. But it is safe to say that a minimum of 10 hours of battery life awaits you.
Speaking of batteries, how do I replace the battery in an iPad?
There is good and bad news here. The good news is that if the battery becomes unusable, Apple gives you a new iPad. The bad news: it will cost you $99 and unless you backed up your iPad recently, say goodbye to the data. This scenario reaffirms that the iPad still functions somewhat like a mobile device instead of a stand-alone computer. It is imperative that you connect through iTunes frequently to update and back up your important data.