Friday, January 07, 2011

iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Guide (Part 1)


Apps are why iOS devices are so popular. Use the App Store app on your device to download them.

Apps are tied to a specific iTunes account, so if you own an iPhone and an iPad then you only have to pay for an application once to use it on both devices. We currently have all of our iDevices set up on the same iTunes account so that we can share between all devices. For example, if I buy Angry Birds for my iPhone then it’s assocated with my account. Sonya uses the same account on the iPad so when she downloads it she won’t have to pay (it will look like she will have to pay, but then it will state that you already own the app so you can download it again for free). This can add up to a significant savings if you have multiple people in your household with multiple iDevices.

When you sync your device with your computer then it keeps the information on each device separate, so you don’t have to worry about anything weird happening just because you are sharing an account. You can even have multiple computers associated with a given account, so you can sync with your laptop and your kid can sync with another computer. iTunes has a limit of 5 computers per account, so you can’t do this for everyone you know.

Internet Connectivity

I mainly use my iPhone as an Internet appliance. I check e-mail, surf the web, read news, check Facebook, etc. For me having Internet connectivity is essential to the experience of owning an iDevice.

You can connect an iPhone or 3G iPad to the Internet using the built-in cell phone data plan. There are no more unlimited data plans, but 2GB for $25 isn’t bad, and each additional GB is only $10.

Another option is to use Wi-Fi. If you don’t have a wireless router in your house, but you do have a broadband connection (Cable Modem or DSL) then you should invest in one. You can get one for less than $50, which will pay for itself after the first two months of use if you are considering a 2GB data plan for a 3G iPad. Most ‘sit-down’ places now have free Wi-Fi, like Starbucks, McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, etc. Most hotels also have free Wi-Fi as well, but you need to check before you plan your vacation around watching Netflix on your iPad in the room!

A third option is a ‘hotspot’. These are portable 3G or 4G devices that look like a Wi-Fi access point to your iDevice. This may be a good option if you use Verizon or if you want to have the access available for other devices as well, like laptops. These require a monthly fee and many also require a contract, but if your house has fantastic reception then you could consider using it instead of a Cable Modem or DSL.

Other Considerations

Apple is working really hard to make its devices work seamlessly together. The current version of Apple TV is an AirPlay receiver, meaning you can redirect some audio and video sources to it. For example, if you are watching a video on your iPhone using the YouTube app and you want to share it with everyone, you can tell your iPhone to display the video on your AppleTV. In addition, you can use the Remote app to control your AppleTV like a touchpad—it even displays a keyboard when you need to enter text so you don’t have to use arrow keys to enter in a search keyword.

The AppleTV device is also an iOS device, meaning it uses the same basic operating system as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This opens the possibility that it will support some sort of downloadable app feature. Even without that, it’s worth it to me as a dedicated NetFlix appliance. I go into more detail about NetFlix later.


yoshigirl90 said...

How do you connect the same iPhone to two different computers? You mention you can do up to five computers, but when I try to do it at work(itunes is setup with the same account as my laptop), it says it has to wipe my iPhone and I will lose everything on it.


Pango said...

You can associate an iTunes ACCOUNT to multiple computers. You can't associate an iPhone or other device with multiple computers. You can copy everything from the iTunes folder on one computer to another one and associate the other computer with that account so all of the songs and apps are on there, but the iPhone will still only work with one computer.

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