Author: Sean McManus Publisher:Wiley Publication Date: November 2011 ISBN 13: 978-1-1199-7536-6 (print); 978-1-1199-7630-1 (e-book) Pages: 256 Price: Print: $21.99; Ebook: $9.99
The iPad’s popularity spans toddlers to geriatrics, and it is not very hard to see why. With a screen that is clear and easy to read and interaction so natural it involves virtually no learning curve, the iPad is a perfect first computer for young and old alike, and the perfect replacement for a more traditional computer. Recent retirees tired of fighting with Windows are choosing iPads to keep in touch via email and social networks, and on-the-go seniors value the portability and always-on connectivity an iPad offers. For these users, Sean McManus’ book, iPad for the Older and Wiser is a fantastic primer. And for the know-it-all kids who helped their grandparent set up the iPad, there might be a few surprises as well!
iPad for the Older and Wiser starts off at the very beginning of iPad ownership; Chapter One is devoted to the decision process for choosing and buying an iPad. Differences between 3G and WiFi as well as various options for storage capacity are discussed. Throughout the entire book, McManus does an admirable job of accurately translating technospeak into plain, approachable language; for discussions of how much storage the intrepid iPad user ought to buy, he breaks it down into simple math of “this iPad capacity can store x movies, y songs, and z photos.” The print layout is simple to follow for long instructions, and graphics are easily decipherable to draw attention to key concepts or warnings. As a bonus, the book’s size, approximately 8″ x 6″, is perfect for holding one-handed while also using the iPad.
Where appropriate, iPad and iTunes screenshots are available to assist, and all technical processes such as the initial setup are broken down into easy to follow and intelligently laid out steps. Adding to the book’s clarity, complex features are discussed not in abstract terms, but in real-world use scenarios, such as using Maps to visit friends and managing a birthday list with the Contacts & Calendar apps. The book’s overall structure follows a logical progression from setting up an iPad to using it for communication to ultimately enjoying media, books, and apps. Each chapter contains a helpful summary and brain training quiz, useful for future reference and cementing knowledge while reading.
Through no fault of his own, McManus’ book starts off with a disconnect for the present-day iPad buyer. Chapter Two delves into details of setting up an iPad, but iOS 5 radically altered this process just as the book hit shelves. Most of Chapter Two is obsolete, but be sure to note this chapter contains crucial details such as Accessibility settings and troubleshooting tips that should not be skipped.
To cover the additional details of iOS 5, McManus has a link to a free PDF supplement available on his website. Also of note, the book was written in the UK using British English spellings, so some screenshots feature elements (such as .co.uk URLs and double-decker London buses in Google Street View screenshots) that will be unfamiliar to a US reader. The functionality and underlying lessons are not affected.
Despite a target market of older folks, iPad for the Older and Wiser is a good all-around introduction to using the iPad and iPad 2 for any new user. With a style that is clear and concise, Sean McManus has crafted a user guide that makes the iPad both approachable and enjoyable. Bear in mind the caveat that iOS 5 features are not in the print edition, but available as a free download; aside from that, this is the perfect compliment for a new iPad user who may be a bit timid using the newly acquired iDevice.