All five of these how-to books from Wiley Publishing cover the iPad and iPad 2. The information presented does not vary much from one book to another, but the writing styles and book designs do. iPad2 Fully Loaded by Alan Hess was my favorite in this batch because of the clear, straightforward language, the compact design, the helpful boxed tips liberally scattered throughout the book, and a comprehensive index.

iPad2 Fully Loaded
by Alan Hess
ISBN: 978-1-1180-9319-1
288 pages
$24.99

iPad2 Portable Genius
by Paul McFedries
ISBN: 978-1-1180-0412-8
315 pages
$25.00

iPad for Seniors for Dummies, 2nd Edition
by Nancy C. Muir
ISBN: 978-1-1180-3827-7
308 pages
$24.99

iPad All in One for Dummies, 2nd Edition
by Nancy C. Muir
ISBN: 978-1-1181-0535-1
567 pages
$34.99

iPad for Dummies, 2nd Edition
by Edward C. Baig and Bob LeVitus
ISBN: 978-1-1180-2444-7
338 pages
$29.99

All from Wiley Publishing

The Dummies books follow their established pattern of putting an arm around your shoulder and addressing you in folksy language. iPad All in One for Dummies leads the reader through all the back alleys of iPad arcana and is useful as a reference, but at 537 pages it’s too heavy to lug around comfortably.

iPad for Seniors, also part of the Dummies series, is printed in a larger font than the other books and relies on chummy cliches, sometimes back to back in the same sentence. For example: “iPads don’t grow on trees – they cost a pretty penny.” That gem introduces a short section on care and maintenance. Nobody looks for elegant language in a how-to book, but we do like the language to be more precise.

Unlike most of the other books, and undoubtedly with its target audience in mind, iPad for Seniors contains clear information on using accessibility features in the iPad settings. These settings make the iPad easier to use for users with vision or hearing impairments. The same information also is clearly spelled out in Hess’s iPad2 Fully Loaded.

iPad2 Portable Genius lacks the accessibility information but contains tidbits not to be found in the other books. For example, have you ever been annoyed to find that by default your iPad seems to allow you only to archive, rather than delete, mail you’ve received in your Gmail account? The author shows you how to change that setting so that when you go to delete email, it actually gets deleted. The solution is in Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Tap on your Gmail Account, then tap the archive messages switch to the off position.

In general, the writing is more professional, and hence more informative, in the Hess book and iPad2 Portable Genius. They were also easiest to navigate because of the economy of design and color, with just enough typographical variety and color elements to keep the information accessible but without clutter. Hess also enhances the basic iPad experience by recommending applications that he’s found helpful. These are not blatant plugs for silly products but useful suggestions.

Any of these instruction manuals is going to tell you information that is by no means obvious the minute you turn on your iPad for the first time. The iPad is undoubtedly easy to use but many of its features are not instantly revealed. Apple leaves it to the consumer to discover solo most of the functions that will make the iPad truly useful and entertaining. These books go a long way toward making that learning process painless and satisfying.

iPad2 Fully Loaded: MyMac Review Rating 9 out of 10

iPad2 Portable Genius: MyMac Review Rating 9 out of 10

All others: MyMac Review Rating 8 out of 10

 

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