I'm an Android guy. Tell me about the iPad

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Azmordean, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Good evening fellow MacRumorians!

    Let me start off by saying I'm currently Android guy. I love my Android phone. I love the openness, the customization, and the little things (like having real widgets). I love the integration with Google services (I use GMail and GCal).

    But, so far at least, I don't love the tablet offerings. To say Android phones have taken off is an understatement. To say Android tablets have sputtered is likewise an understatement. I'm not sure why - maybe it's simply that decent Android tablets are just recently coming on the scene and Honeycomb / ICS are still relatively new - but the ecosystem on the tablet side is severely lacking. Native Android tablet apps are few and far between. So I find myself considering an iPad 3 (whenever it is released). But I have questions I am hoping you can answer!

    1. What's the deal with iTunes? Obviously to copy over music and such, but other than that, why does the iPad need iTunes? On my Droid, I do everything on the device itself (buying apps, OTA updates, etc) and it is all linked up to my Google account. Do you still need your computer + iTunes to do certain things on the iPad, or was that in "the old days"?

    2. How well do Google services work? I understand I can set up GMail, Contacts, and Calendar to sync via the Microsoft Exchange settings. How well does this work? Is it seamless and two way (e.g., add an event on iPad and it appears on GCal and vice versa)? Note I'm not really a GMail power user - I don't use a bunch of labels and such - I just want seamless two way syncing that is automatic, ideally without using a bunch of IMAP settings (which inevitably seem to screw up my GMail inbox with weird labels and such).

    3. What's the current state of iOS multitasking? For example, can I have an IM program connected in the background (not asleep or suspended, but active and connected so I will receive incoming messages) while I surf the web and listen to music?

    4. How do you (honestly) find the web without flash? I'm not worried about flash video - more web sites that make heavy use of flash web elements. While I can see a flashless iPhone, not having it on a tablet always struck me as silly... that said, Adobe is dropping support for Android too, so soon it'll be a non-issue anyway I guess!

    5. How is the browsing experience overall? Is it more like a computer or a phone? Don't get me wrong, my smartphone is great at browsing the web - but there's still some sites that don't work quite right. I'd like a tablet to be as good at browsing as my laptop.

    6. Do features like the Notification Center work the same way on iPad as they do on the iPhone?

    Thanks in advance for your input!! :)
  2. bjpad2 macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2012
    I have an ipod, iphone and ipad. The ipod is connected through my itunes, and you cannot get music onto an old ipod without itunes. At least you have to connect it the first time and after that there are some third party programs that can manage your music. I've had the iphone almost 2 years and it has never been connected to my computer. I probably won't ever connect my ipad to itunes either. I've read too many horror stories about how itunes will copy everything to all devices, and a few instances where itunes wiped the device, so I'm not going to take that risk. You can download apps to your iphone and ipad through wifi, and you can put files onto the devices through dropbox. I don't know what you really need itunes for but some people probably need it.

    I have not had any problem with sites not working. Overall the browsing experience is very good. If you do a lot of typing into websites then I find that is a lot harder than using a computer with a real keyboard. You can get a hardware keyboard for the ipad, but I already have a computer for that.
  3. porcupine8 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2011
    1. I'm not on iOS 5 yet because I'm jailbroken, but as I understand it it makes iTunes no longer required. Though you've always been able to download apps straight to the iPad - iTunes is/was required for activating it, backing up, transferring files directly to/from the computer, and upgrading.

    2. I don't know if the default calendar app syncs with google, but there are many available that do. Same for just about anything else (well, Mail will definitely get your gmail). I will say that G+ support sucks - it doesn't work well in any browsers and the app is for iPhone. I have no idea why google hasn't released an iPad app yet, but it's the main reason I don't use g+.

    3. Yes, you can keep an IM program running in the background. This varies a lot from app to app; those that are less likely to need to run in the background are more likely to be the first shut off when memory is running low, and honestly the iPad doesn't have enough ram for multitasking to be terrific.

    4. There are several browsers available that support flash. I have Puffin, but I have honestly only used it a few times. On the rare occasion that I run into a flash website, I'm more likely to say "screw it" and try a different one than to bother opening another browser - their loss for living in the past, not mine. There really are not as many flash sites these days as you'd think.

    5. Enough like a computer than in about 80% of cases, site-specific apps are superfluous and I'd rather just use the site in a browser. There are a few exceptions, when the app is actually better-designed and more pleasant to use than the site (photobucket springs to mind), but most I can do without.

    6. Again, I don't have 5 yet, but I think so.
  4. Mac.World macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2011
    In front of uranus
    iDevice customization = jailbreak

    Flash is dead. But the app store has Photon web browser which allows you to see Flash on an ipad. There are work arounds.

    As of iOS 5, you no longer need a computer for updates, as you can do everything ota. You still will need an itunes account and apple id though. However, you don't need to download your media content with itunes, you just need itunes to move those media files to the ipad, via click and drag, just like with android.

    Google services work. I use them.

    If you want to fully customize and really use an ipad like an android device, then you want to jailbreak. I would suggest getting an ipad 2 if you want to do this, as it is unlikely you'll be able to jailbreak an ipad 3 any time in the near future.
  5. Shotgun OS macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2006
    I like it and use it. Some of my friends absolutely despise it. Recently, you don't need iTunes to set up and update your iPad. It works perfectly fine without syncing to iTunes, but you won't have the easy backup or luxury of syncing music/videos from your iTunes the same way. I'm not so sure about the Cloud functionality, but there are over the air updates, and you can download music and videos and movies directly from the iTunes Store, too.

    I believe this is possible. If I am wrong, someone please correct me. I haven't been a super multitasker, and I usually just switch between a few news apps, Safari, and the App Store while music is playing.[/quote]

    4. How do you (honestly) find the web without flash? I'm not worried about flash video - more web sites that make heavy use of flash web elements. While I can see a flashless iPhone, not having it on a tablet always struck me as silly... that said, Adobe is dropping support for Android too, so soon it'll be a non-issue anyway I guess![/quote]
    I don't notice it. Most websites that were heavy on flash have web-optimized versions or HTML-based versions now. Every once in a while you will run across the plugin notice, but I think it's rare.

    I don't think it's like either, but more of a combination of the two. For some things, I like to use my iPad, and for other things, I prefer my computer. However, I've been using my iPad much more often, and I find it to be quicker, better, and much more fun. I never thought I would be as comfortable as I am with tablet browsing

    Basically. I find it to be pretty quick and reliable, with easy access to new notifications.

    I actually have been an Apple person for over 10 years, and I recently got an Android phone. I like it and I understand where you're coming from. Overall, I still love my iPod touch and my iPad, and I think you'd like the iPad too. It's really solid, and I haven't had any problems or complaints so far.
  6. buck2520 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2011
    Your Ipad information quest

    Got my Ipad a couple months ago and wish I had waited for a good Android tablet. Still have my Android phone and other than it being smaller, I find it much more useful than the Ipad. Not going to go through your list item by item but will tell you what I do and don't like.

    I like - the build quality and reliability of the Ipad. Great device to surf the web while sitting on the couch. It looks and feels cool. Not having flash has not been an issue for me.

    What I don't like -

    There is no file management system. You can not store files in a common folder and access them from several different programs. There is no way to organize your entire file system in a logical order. You can not even go in and look at the storage architecture to see how it is organized, little lone change it or organize it to your liking. Can't easily move, copy or delete files like you can in a real computer. (OK some people are going to point our apps like IFiles and others that do let you do some file organizing, but it is still only the files within this particular app, not your entire file system) I know I may be a little weird about this, but I like being able to organize my file system to my liking. There are those who will say I need to change my paradigm and open up my thinking. yea - bla, bla, bla and Ron Paul is the answer to all our problems too. :)

    There is no fully functioning USB port (yes there is a converter to download pictures and video, but not other files) Dropbox and other cloud apps are your best bet here.

    While there are more apps for Ipad than Android, I like the Android apps better, I have several Android apps that are not available for Ipad.

    The camera really sucks, poor quality pictures. But then how much will you really use the camera on such a large device. The file system to manage pictures really sucks also.

    The whole Apple "closed system" approach to computing just drives me crazy. They do not play nice with the rest of the computer world; they want you to only buy their stuff from them.

    Now there are lots of Koolaid drinkers out there that will tell you there are work arounds for some of these shortcomings, and there are. I just don't like having to use a work around to accomplish a simple task the operating system should do. Some will tell you to jailbreak it, but I think if you have to jailbreak a device to make it work, something is wrong with the device. They will also tell you that you should have known about these Apple limitations before you bought the Ipad and not gotten it if they were a big deal to you. On this point, they are right, so you are doing the right thing by investigating issues before you give your hard earned money to the Apple Gods. I wish I would have done this.

    My biggest mistake was thinking my Ipad could replace my laptop (a real computer). I now know that this is just not the case. I am not selling my Ipad because I love the challenge of trying to making it work like I wish it would have been engineered to, plus I must admit, it's kind of fun to write in this blog about its issues and I can afford to have it just to be able to set on the couch and surf the web. If you can afford a device to surf the web on the couch or watch Netflix movies in bed then I highly recommend the Ipad. It is a beautiful little device for some functions; just don't mistake it for a real full function computer.
  7. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Push notifications make it unnecessary to have the app running in the background - basically if you have an IM app, it can be asleep, suspended or not even loaded and if someone sends you a message you'll get a notification with the received message. If you then open the notification you go straight into your IM app. To the end user, it's running in the background; to the system it isn't using up resources

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