Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 18, 2017
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The irresistible iPad

I've tested the new iPad and found it irresistible. The touch screen is marvelous to use. Smooth as butter, intuitive as your fingers, it has clear bright images. And it's fast, very fast.

Out of the box, there's not much to it — looks like a big iPod Touch. There's a USB cord to plug it into a computer and that's it. Once you'd done that and downloaded the most recent version of iTunes, you're good to go. It weighs in at 680 grams, is about an inch smaller than a sheet of paper, and just over a centimetre thick, it's thin and light, and incredibly comfortable in your hand.

The first impression is that it really is just a big, version of the iPod Touch — with a book store. This is clearly Apple's challenge to ebooks, Kindle, Sony, the Nook and all those yet to come. To get you started, there's a free copy of Winnie the Pooh which looks just about as good as it did when you were given a fresh copy by your grandmother. Take it down by clicking on the cover and give it a flip through, you won't be disappointed. The coloured pictures are lush, the type crystal clear. Pages even turn as though they were paper.

The iTunes store has the usual offerings and a stack of new apps for the iPad, from games to The Wall Street Journal. The latter opens instantly and gives you a pared down version of the paper, like The New York Times, plus it's free. The app to try is the one from National Public Radio (NPR) in the US. Rolling news, lifestyle and music favourites from the radio. The speaker quality is impressive, far better than many netbooks.

As entertainment, it's as sweet as Pooh's honey pot. Using the device for work is not quite as easy. There's a learning curve for the on-screen keyboard but with a little practice you can touch type, a big plus over smart phone keying. The word processor, iPages, works well and has good reviews; iKeynote for presentations gets half a nod, but iNumbers, the spreadsheet, is roundly condemned — it's not compatible with Excel.

You can email your creations or upload them to the iWork website and then invite others to see them there. It's finicky and ties you firmly to Apple, as Mr Jobs intends.

What it can't do or it doesn't have: a camera, a phone, a USB connection for anything but iTunes, flash video, multi-tasking, copying between programs, say, word processor to Safari, which, incidentally, is the only browser iPad uses. What it does have: a battery life of 10+ hours; the ability to mesmerize. iPad makes you wish you could use it for all your computing needs. You can't.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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