Finally Got my iPad 2!

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

I had plan on getting my iPad 2 on launched day (March 11, 2011), but so many things were going on that day that I didn’t aggressively try that hard to get one. For some reason, I didn’t think it would be in such a high demand so I was just going to stop by my nearest Apple store to pick one up after work. Boy was I wrong.. My nearest Apple Store (still about 45 minutes away from me) already had 500 people in line before I even left work.

So plan B was to go to my local Best Buy. At 5:30pm, they only had two iPads left — both were the 64GB+3G on Verizon. I decided to stop by a few Walmarts and Targets after that. Of course, they’re all gone. I did surveyed them so I know what to expect with the iPad 3 comes out.

Target had about 5 iPads. One Walmart only had 2. Another had 5. Best Buy had 150 but sold out within an hour (or less). Yes, I was all over California that night!

The next day, I went to Best Buy and reserved my iPad. There’s a $100 deposit, but they gave me a $100 gift card in exchange. I waited about a week before calling back to check on my status. They said the iPads didn’t come in yet. So I waited another week, and they told me the model I wanted isn’t in.

Well, I couldn’t wait anymore. Any longer, I might as well wait for the iPad 3 to come out. So when I saw
Macmall’s Tweet about getting a shipment in, I hopped to the opportunity. I called them the next morning (3/26/2011) and they said they had plenty in stock! The nearest MacMall from me was about 75+ miles, but well, it was worth it. Torrance has plenty of great food so I had a yummy lunch and got to do some grocery shopping as well, and plus, I got my new iPad 2!

They only had the 32 and 64 GB wifi black ones available, so I settled for the 32GB. I desperately need the space anyhow. My current iPad barely has space for another email to download.

The funny thing is, Macmall didn’t even get a shipment of iPads on launch day. The customer service was great. If I miss launch day for iPad 3, I know where to go next time. ;)

I’ve only had my iPad 2 for a few days but I’m already testing and abusing it. New reviews for iPad 2 cases will be coming soon, so be sure to come back for those. You can also read my iPad 2 Review here as well as my list of Top 50 Essential iPad Apps.

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iPad Stand Review: TwelveSouth Compass

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

The TwelveSouth Compass iPad stand is one of the most compact, yet sturdy, iPad stands you’ll find on the market. It’s lightweight and perfect if you’re always on the go with your iPad. When folded, the Compass reminds me of a Japanese fan — thin and compact. But the magic is when you unfold it into a functional stand.

Upright Stand. Pull all three legs of the Compass out to form an “A” or easel-like shape. Once you have it in position, pull out the smaller tab parts at the bottom in the front two legs. This is where you would put the iPad. It’ll lean against the stand and sit on these two tabs in the legs. The parts where the iPad rests on are lined with a soft rubber to ensure no scratches are put on your iPad.

Typing Position. Another nice feature in this stand is that it also folds into a typing position. Pull out a metal tab on the back tripod leg and put this new leg on the table. The back leg will fall into place. Lay the Compass in its new position on the table, then put your iPad on top of it. This puts the iPad in a perfect position for typing. It’s lifted off the ground and protected by the soft rubber on the stand.

There is one thing to keep in mind though. In this position, the tabs in the front legs get in the way of your typing, so it’s not recommended to type for long periods of time with the stand.

Overview. With the Compass, the iPad could be displayed in either portrait or landscape mode in both positions. Because of the compact size when folded, this stand is the most ideal for travel. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and quite functional. Beautifully crafted and designed, this stand deserves to be in a class all its own.

Note: The TwelveSouth Compass Stand for the iPad is compatible with both iPad 1 and iPad 2 as well as various eReaders and tablets.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars · $39.99 · TwelveSouth · Amazon ($39.99)

Disclosure: This product was sent by TwelveSouth for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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iPad 2: Review and Upgrading Tips

March 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Are you an iPad (1st generation) owner? Did you also just upgrade to an iPad 2? Here are a few things you should think when moving your data over to your new tablet.

Syncing your iPad 2 with your iPad 1 Backup1

The iPad 2 isn’t that useful until you sync your collection of apps, books, and documents from your first iPad onto it. Downloading each app, one by one can be a large task. The best thing to do is to move a backup copy of your iPad 1 over to the new device. Here are the steps:

  1. Sync and backup your iPad 1 in iTunes.
  2. When this is done, plug in your iPad 2. On the left side in iTunes, find your new device. Right click so a menu comes up.
  3. Select “Restore from backup”
  4. Select the name of your backup (whatever you named your previous iPad device) from the menu.
  5. Click “Restore”
  6. Syncing your iPad 2 may take a while depending on how much data you had in your backup.

Be sure that both devices are running the same iOS version. The iPad 2 is shipped with iOS 4.3. If you’re running iOS 4.3.1 on your iPad 1, this will not work completely.2

What you should be aware of:
Be aware that restoring from a backup does not move everything over exactly the way they were. The apps, their data, and most of their settings are moved over, except they’re installed on the new device in alphabetical order. It’ll start installing on page 2 and end on page 11. If there are more apps, it’ll install on page 1 and then the rest will be on page 12+ (but these will not be visible on the display). You’ll need to use the search bar to find the apps that aren’t visible on screen.

Another strange thing is that folders are not moved over. So once you finish syncing your apps, you’ll have a bit of app sorting and organizing to do.

If you download a lot of book previews in iBooks, they will not be added onto your new iPad either. However, full books and PDFs will be moved over (if you sync/select them in the Books tab).

New Default Apps

Once you’re done syncing, you’ll notice a few extra icons on your iPad 2. These are the new default Apple apps available for the updated device.

  • Camera – This app is the optimized version of the iPhone camera app. You can select camera or video mode in the bottom right settings. The option to use the front-facing or the back-facing camera is on the top right. When you run it for the first time, it will default to the back-facing camera. Change the settings if you like. The next time you open up the app, it will pick up your new settings.
  • Photobooth – Like with most Apple products, the iPad 2 now comes with the classic Photobooth app. This app takes photos of the subject in 9 various modes including Thermal Camera, Mirror, X-Ray, Kaleidoscope, Normal, Light Tunnel, Squeeze, Twirl, and Stretch. Besides the Normal mode, I find the other modes just takes creepy photos of you. This app only works with the front-facing camera.
  • Facetime – Now you can make video calls and video chats with other Apple users. Facetime is available on iPod Touch 4th generation, iPhone 4, and Macs running Snow Leopard 10.6.6+. You’ll need to sign in with your Apple ID (could be the same as your iTunes account). Both cameras will work on this app. Simply switch the camera used in the top right settings.

Camera Placement

Now that there are cameras on the iPad 2, there is a wrong and right way of holding it, at least when you use the cameras apps. The camera on the iPad works best when it’s on top and the Home button is at the bottom (portrait mode).

At first, I thought that having the back-facing camera on the left side would have photo alignment issues. But after testing, it seems fine as long as you look on the screen to center and focus your subject.

This position also works very well when you want to make a video in landscape mode. In portrait mode, if you turn your iPad clockwise, the back-facing camera will be on the top left, making it easier for you to hold the iPad and record video at the same time. Because of the size and shape of the iPad, recording video on it isn’t that practical, but it’s nice to have the option to.

Placement of Various Ports

Microphone. In the iPad 1, the microphone is located in the top left, next to the headphone jack. This is somewhat of an odd placement, but there were not many apps that needed to record sound, so it wasn’t so bad.

Now that Facetime has been added on the iPad 2, sound and voice quality is more important. The microphone has been moved right in the top center of the iPad, making talking to someone on Facetime much better. You’re not talking to just one side of the screen (which would look funny on video).

There’s a major improvement in the speakers as well. The speakers are much bigger in the iPad 2, starting from the bottom left edge of the iPad 2, and abut a finger size in height. Audio is spread much further, making your audio and music much clearer.


The addition of the Dual-core A5 chip has made the latest iPad much faster. If you play a lot of graphic-intensive games (or apps in general), you’ll noticed how much quicker the game responds to your actions. If you’re just using mostly text-based productivity apps, you may not see much of a difference at all.

Design and Weight

Design. The significant differences between the iPad 1 and iPad 2 are their designs and weight. The new design borrows the best parts of the iPhone 3G/GS and iPhone 4 designs. It takes the rounded concave edges to make it appear much thinner, and the back is completely flat like the iPhone 4. When the iPad 2 lays flat on a table, it’s still easy to pick up since the edges don’t touch the table.

In the iPad 1 design, they also mixed the designs of the iPhone 3G/GS and iPhone 4. The edges took the trait of the iPhone 4 and had a straight flat edge all around the iPad 1. However, on the backside of the device, it had a more rounded feel. So if it was to lay flat on a table, only a little part of the device would actually touch the table. This was intentional also so you can pick the iPad up easier.

That’s two design concepts for solving the same problem. I’d have to say the iPad 2 approach is much sleeker and makes the iPad appear much thinner than it is. The optical illusion on the sides gives it the edge.

Weight. If you hold the iPads in one hand, the iPad 2 is significantly lighter. However, you still can’t compare it to the Kindle which feels as light as a feather. The trade-off between a Kindle and iPad is the ability to do multiple things though.

Should I Upgrade?

So the big question is, if I already have an iPad 1, should I upgrade to an iPad 2? The iPad 2 is one of those devices that you don’t need, but instead, just want. It also comes in two colors now — white and black. iPad 2 are scarce, but iPad 2 in white are even more rare. The cameras and speed upgrades aren’t compelling enough to have to get a new iPad. But if you’re interested in using apps like iMovie and Garage Band, you may want to think of an upgrade. More and more interesting apps that require an iPad 2 will start to pop into the app store soon enough. If you’re app-dicted, getting an iPad 2 as soon as you can is a good idea to maximize your time with one. The iPad 3 after all is rumored to be releasing soon!

1You can also use an iPhone or iPod Touch backup, but most apps will require the 2x view. It’s recommended to start fresh instead and download iPad optimized apps.

2This article was based on iPad 1 and iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.1. Some parts may be different in future versions of iOS.

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