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Newbies: iPad and images, Match and iCloud

Friday, 7 December 2012

Having asked for advice on iPad vs Kindle, my niece followed up my reply posted here a day or so ago with more questions — about the iPad and photos or videos.

Once again my answer might help someone else who is mulling over the same points. The answer in short is that is is no replacement for a digital camera unless you put the same number of hours in as you would learning photography. But it points and shoots, within limitations, if that's all you need or have time for.

The full answer is below:

You'll be glad to hear I have a positive answer to all your questions.

With iPad you can store all of your photos, videos and docs “in the cloud” to a total of 5Gb for nothing, equivalent to 5000 photos, available to all your computers.

If you need more space you can buy extra from Apple but that's not the cheapest option. Microsoft Skydrive automatically expands your allotted space to 25G if you were signed on before, though that's not as automatic as iPad.

iTunes Match

We use just over 5G and gave up the $100 50GB program I bought because I didn't understand that it didn't back up everything from my iPad, only the docs etc. I don't see how I could ever use 50G.

Since we are talking storage, we also signed up for iTunes Match for $25 a year. This stores copies of any of your CDs (up to 25,000 songs excluding those you have bought vis ITunes) and makes them available to all your devices, Apple and PC, to download and play. Even better, if Apple has a better quality MP3 than yours, it stores the highest quality version. You pop your CD into your computer player and iTunes automatically adds it to your Library list, only uploading a track if it is not in its database. So far I have 5,000 songs in Match. Apple gives full details on its site.

HD resolution

As for photo resolution, the IPad does shoot video at 1080 HD, and takes 5GB snapshots. You'll just have to steel yourself to looking weird when you hold up what looks like a paperback book in front of your face whenever something interesting is happening in front of you.

There are what seems like thousands of video editing and photo enhancement programs in the Apple Store. IMovie and its rival Avid cost $10 each for editing video. They are in intense competition not to let the other get ahead. The photo apps are usually about $1. The built-in camera app is good for most purposes. For more sophisticated editing, you might try Apple's iPhoto.

That said, it's not a replacement for your digital camera yet. The lense and light control just isn't good enough, though there are apps to improve your controls. But to me that rather defeats the purpose if you can't simply point and shoot. My videos have so far proved unusable, because in bright light you can't see the screen and can easily press the button that reverses the camera so that it takes a video of your face as you try to make out the photo.

Here's a photo from our balcony:

Photo from balcony

These are the full dimensions.

What will it cost?

The big question you may be asking is: will that cost us a lot if we buy another one and download all the programs again? The answer is not at all.

If you use the same Apple Id for all your downloads on both machines, you can use any of the programs on either. The same goes for most iPhones. Unless you want to duplicate the machine software completely, you have to switch off automatic synchronization.

By the way, if you delete a program from your iPad, you can always recover it. Apple keeps a record of your “purchases”, even if they are free.

You may have learned, too, that you need to use your computer to delete files or transfer them from iPad, by hooking up the iPad to the USB connector on your computer. There are also cheap Apps to simplify the process instead of going through iTunes. I have also read of people simply emailing files to themselves from the iPad program to use them on their main computers but that seems to be going a bit far, and many programs enable you to store them in Dropbox, where you can pick them up from your computer.

Consider a keyboard — don't do as I do

A final point. If the iPad is going to become your main computer, think of putting money out for a keyboard. Kensington sells the one I have for $65 now (instead of $99). It's detachable and comes with a case/stand. normally these cost you $30-40. So it strikes me as pretty reasonable.

The keyboard itself makes it easier to use the text-based programs for writing, moving around the screen and deleting text. These functions are still not intuitive or completely responsive using the onscreen keyboard.

I have to admit, though, that I have taken to double-thumbing most of my emails: a hand on each side ot the screen, then tap away left and right.



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