Apple iOS Explored

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Now that your tablet is set up, let's go exploring!

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Internet browser (Safari)

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Speaking of adventures, your web browsing experience will be defined by the features and functions of the Safari browser. While it's still got a long way to go, it has a bunch of features like syncing open tabs over iCloud that closely mirror competitors' browser features, but on iOS. For example, you can use tabbed browsing, save pages for offline reading, or sync content from your home computer onto your mobile device using iCloud.

Once you tap on the Safari icon on your home screen, a new window will open and occupy your entire screen. You'll notice that this looks much like any classic browser; URL bar at the top, settings, basic browser functions, etc. Some of the enhanced features, like a bookmarks list, multi-tabbed browsing, and a built-in search bar make the Safari browser on the iPad look virtually identical to the one on an Apple computer.

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The touch controls can take some getting used to, especially if you've never used a tablet to browse the internet before, but there's good news: it's really, really easy to learn. Like everything else on the iPad, you can touch an icon or text to perform actions like opening a link, or checking a box, or opening a drop-down menu, but you can do other things with the window as well. For example, if the text renders too small on a page, you can always pinch to zoom in on the page. Holding down your finger on a page or link calls out a menu that you would get that very much resembles a control + click (right click for PC users) that allows you to do things like copy text, links, and other actions.

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Keep in mind that if you frequent sites with flash content, it will not work on your iOS device. While it's less of a problem today than it would be, say, 5 years ago, the fact still remains that embedded video and the like will more often than not fail to function when you want them unless you download an additional app to handle it.

The biggest thing you'll probably notice about the browser is that there's no huge curveball coming at you. It functions exactly like a browser normally would. For many, this is OK, but that doesn't mean radically different browsers aren't on the way; for example, Apple antagonist Microsoft is releasing Internet Explorer 11 geared solely towards a tablet-using audience with mammoth redesign.

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Email

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Email is also a breeze on the iPad, as it allows you to link your POP/IMAP/Exchange/GMail email accounts to your iPad for easy access. Once you've enered in your account information in setup, you will automatically be logged in every time you tap the email icon.

Once inside the email app, your inbox will greet you looking much like a normal email inbox, but with several features similar to GMail, like conversation grouping. Attachments are displayed right in the email so you can see which pictures you want to download and which ones you would rather just keep off your computer. You can compose and send your own emails too, with the ability to attach files like pictures you've taken from you iPad. This app works pretty much as advertised: it's an email app that provides the level of support you're used to on your other clients, but on your iPad.

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Apps and App Store

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While Google plays catch-up with its Play Store, Apple's App Store has been the reigning king for years with its self-contained and easily-installable applications. With a library of over 200,000 apps ready for purchase and download. While we can't give you a tour of each and every application that you could potentially mess around with, we can walk you through more or less what the experience will be like on our iOS 5.x device.

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Now that you're familiar with how to control your shiny new toy, why not take a look at downloading and managing your apps? Once you've set up your Apple account, and added your billing information, you are all set to go. Using the App Store, you can search through the massive library of Apple-approved applications for your tablet, and download whatever you choose, provided you can afford some of the apps that require money.

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Once you've selected the app you want to download, simply tap the purchase/download icon and your download will start. Position it on the main screen the way you like, and you're all set. For more information, see the previous page for additional app knowledge.

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Social Media

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For better or worse, Apple has built Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp! into the OS of iOS 6 to allow you tweet just about anything on your iPad or other iOS device. This is a part of a general trend in iOS updates to make the social media experience on all iOS devices simple and easy to use in comparison to a computer, and for those who like to broadcast the minutia of their lives for all to see, there probably isn't a better platform to do it with than an iPhone or iPad.

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In addition to being able to open a menu on a piece of content ready for the web and tweet it or post it to Facebook, you can also attach EXIF or location data to it, as well. While this may prove problematic if you have Facebook stalkers, it does appeal to many as the use of this sort of social media application is on the rise. While iOS 6 has difficulties with java and a complete lack of support for flash, it makes do with apps to handle some of the more common uses of the formats, like.flv videos for YouTube, and HTML5 in place of flash.

If your social media platform of choice was not mentioned here, don't worry, as there's more than likely a licensed application for it. Check out the App Store to locate and download your official iOS client for your social media platform of choice.

Additionally, there's also an app pre-installed by Apple called Facetime that serves as a replacement for other apps like Skype. If you know others with the newest Mac hardware, or iPads, you can chat in up to 720p video in realtime over a WiFi connection, though the sheer amount of data over an LTE or WIMAX network may run you into trouble with your mobile provider if you do it on the go.,

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Maps

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Apple ditched Google's maps application in place of their own version that combines many of the features found in Google's Maps, Navigation, and Earth applications. For example, not only does Apple have an almost-global set of maps available to the app, but satellite views and a feature called "flyover," which allows you to explore an area as you'd see it from a low-flying airplane.

Using this app, you can also get directions, and step-by-step driving instructions much like a dedicated GPS unit (or Android device) does, which is quite nice. We'd suggest allowing Siri to walk you through it, as the pop-up notifications for traffic could be unsafe if you're the only one in the vehicle.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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