Apple iPad Review
Apple created the market and dominates it with its mature first tablet.
Music & Audio Controls
The iPod software that the iPad uses has a simple, straightforward interface that puts all the playback controls at your fingertips. Play/pause and the skip keys have their own dedicated buttons within the software. Fast-forward and rewind can be done either by holding the skip buttons, or you simply tap the point on the slider you want to skip to. This touch-to-skip-to functionality is simple and straightforward to use. The 'Now Playing' screen will display a few tidbits of information about the song currently playing. A song's title, artist, album, and position in the playlist will all be visible, along with the cover art from the song's album. If you have a shuffle or repeat feature enabled, there will be a small symbol displayed at the bottom of the screen.
As with other iPods, the iPad equalizer won't let you customize levels. It will, however, provide you with 22 presets: acoustic, bass booster, bass reducer, classical, dance, deep, electronic, flat, hip hop, jazz, latin, loudness, lounge, piano, pop, R & B, Rock, small speakers, spoken word, treble booster, treble reducer, and vocal booster. We're guessing one of these probably covers whatever type of music you are into, but it would be nice to be able to do more tweaking.
Music & Audio Management
In the list of media on the device, navigating around your media library is done by using touch controls to drag the menu up or down. The faster you flick the dragging gesture, the faster the menu will scroll. This allows for very quick menu navigation in relatively short menus. For really long menus, use the alphabet scroller on the right side of the screen. Using this you can jump to a specific letter. With just these two tools, browsing is quick and easy.
The iPad will let you sort your songs by playlist, artist, album, compilation, song, genre, or composer. Audio books and podcasts are also kept separately from other audio files. This is a good list of sort criteria, offering a good deal of granularity. We would've liked to see a few more options, however, such as the ability to sort by rating, or the date a song was added to the device. You can search for particular song names, artist or album titles.
Playlist creation is handled much the same way as on every Apple device, which means it's absurdly easy. Once you have created a playlist, you can select the files to play from the full list, or search for particular songs, artists, albums, genres or composers.
Music & Audio Formats
The iPad also supports a number of popular music streaming services, such as Rdio, Slacker Radio and Pandora. Clients are available for all three that allow the user to listen to streaming music, and Rdio and Slacker allow you to store and play music off-line with a subscription.
Music & Audio Battery Life
The iPad has exceptional battery life when playing back audio. We test by playing a spoken word audio file, and letting it run for 24 hours. At the end of this 24 hours, the iPad was still playing and the battery level had only fallen by 6 per cent. So, we would estimate that you could probably play back audio for over 16 days before the battery ran out. One thing to note here, though; by default, the iPad turns the screen off when it is only playing back audio, so you would only get similar battery life when listening to audio only: the battery life will fall quickly if you are listening to music and working at the same time.
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