My iPad came with a pathetic
little quick start pamphlet. Basic iPad operation is somewhat intuitive, but not entirely by a long shot, and I’m a thoroughgoing fan of print manuals. I’ve always disliked online help, and of
course it isn’t any help at all if you can’t access it because your Mac or iDevice is malfunctioning and is the reason you want to refer to a manual in the first place. In the very early days, Macs
came with excellent hard copy manuals, but the rot was already setting in by the time I purchased my second Mac in 1993, and it’s been going downhill from there.
Third parties have identified an opportunity in a sizeable cohort of print-literate hard copy fans who prefer books that can be read or referenced without an electronic intermediary, even when the
topic is electronics. David Pogue’s very successful “Missing Manual (The Book That Should Have Been In The Box)” series is a quintessential example, as is the “For Dummies” series. There’s also
Pragmatic Bookshelf’s “Kung Fu” series, which deserves to be better-known.
Keir Thomas’s iPad And iPhone Kung Fu: Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Hacks for iOS 7 is one of the best iDevice manuals I’ve encountered, and somehow Thomas has managed to pack an astonishing
amount of useful information—318 tips in all—into a volume with fewer than 300 editorial content pages that include a 20-page table of contents, a 24-page Index, plus several more pages devoted to
acknowledgements, a preface, and ads for other titles in the…