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12 ways to improve the Apple iPad

How to get the most from Apple's Slate PC

Apple's iPad has only been available in the US for a month, and it hasn't even officially hit UK shelves yet. However, we've managed to discover a number of tips and tricks that will make the device even more versatile and easy to use.

Apple's iPad has only been available in the US for a month, and it hasn't even officially hit UK shelves yet.

However, in this short period of time, we've managed to discover a number of tips and tricks for making the device even more versatile and easy to use, including accessories to buy, avoid, and re-use; tricks for writing on the iPad; and at least one really bad gotcha to avoid.

Hold out for the 3G model

If you're an impatient early adopter (like me) then you'll be pre-ordering the iPad on May 10.

However, the model that's going to be available only supports Wi-Fi connectivity. If you've held out this long, hold out a little longer for the 3G model.

While Apple hasn't released UK prices yet, we are fairly confident it won't be a big premium for the 3G version, considering you've already committed to spend out on the Wi-Fi-only model.

You may think you'll never need the 3G service, but how sure are you? Planning to do any travelling? How extensive is the Wi-Fi coverage where you're going? Think of the 3G iPad as having connectivity insurance.

'Not Charging?' No problem

The iPad has some problems charging from the low-powered USB ports found on older desktops and some USB hubs.

You might see a 'Not Charging' message on the iPad when it's connected.

In many cases, the iPad does actually charge from these connectors, but only when the display is off - which means you can't see the icon that tells you the iPad is charging.

"It's the modern-day 'Does the refrigerator light stay on when I close the door?' mystery," joked Dan Frakes from PC Advisor's sister title Macworld US.

If you're getting the 'Not Charging' message, try leaving your iPad plugged in anyway, and see if the charge is greater when you return.

Keep the iPad out of direct light

No, it's not going to turn into a nasty gremlin; it's just that the screen is pretty reflective and the glare makes it hard to see.

Tilt it any which way

There's no right-side-up for the iPad. You can hold it in any direction and it works.

However, the iPad is often more useful in landscape (wide) rather than portrait (tall) mode.

The onscreen keyboard, for instance, is larger and thus easier to type on in landscape mode, and text is often larger and more readable.

Many apps change mode from portrait to landscape; for example, in landscape mode, the Mail app shows your mailbox along with a particular message you're focused on, while in portrait mode you just see the message.

Similarly, in iBooks, you get a single page in portrait mode, and two pages side by side in landscape.

NEXT PAGE: Don't worry about battery life

  1. Get the most from Apple's Slate PC
  2. Don't worry about battery life
  3. Get the Apple Wireless Keyboard
  4. Get the iPad Case


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