by Tom Kaneshige

iPad Newbies: It’s an iPad, Not a Big iPhone

Apr 05, 2011
BrowsersConsumer ElectronicsiPhone

Don't try to turn your new iPad into a bigger version of the iPhone. The two devices are used in vastly different ways, from content consumption to content creation, which means different apps will take priority.

Don’t expect to get a lot done on your iPad 2 the first day. That’s because you’ll be too busy (and too excited) loading your new toy with great apps, music and movies. Yes, it will take hours.

But it could take even longer if you make the mistake of thinking about your iPad as merely a big version of the iPhone. Have a plan before you start clicking and syncing your iPad with your existing iPhone apps over iTunes.


[ Check out 15 great iPad apps for newbies. ]

If you’re an iPhone owner and this is your first iPad, you’ll inevitably make this mistake. The thinking goes that you’ve purchased a lot of iPhone apps, so you’ll want to get them on the iPad. Or maybe you think you already know what works because the two devices handle the same functions, more or less.

Well, throw these thoughts out the window. Many tried-and-true iPhone apps have no place on the iPad.

The Great App Sync

I cluttered my first iPhone with apps during my initial excitement, only to delete them en masse later, so I planned to be a little smarter with the iPad.

But then I made the mistake of syncing my existing apps with the iPad, figuring I’d save some time. This turned out to be a time killer because I had to re-check all the apps on the App Store to see if there was an iPad-optimized version. This sent me down the road of deleting and purchasing and toggling with the App Store.

With the iPad, just start anew on the App Store and leave your existing apps behind. You can download some iPad apps you’ve purchased for the iPhone for free, others will charge for the iPad version.

A handful of apps, namely banking ones, aren’t optimized for the iPad but deserve a place on it—after all, you don’t want to get overdrawn. For the most part, though, you won’t want to run a tiny iPhone app on an iPad that you just spent a few hundred dollars on.

iPad Apps vs. iPhone Apps

Also, the kind of apps you’ll want on your iPad will vary greatly from the ones you already have on your iPhone.

Apps with true value that come from extreme portability, such as location-based search apps, or apps that provide quick information updates, such as weather apps, should stay on the iPhone—and off the iPad. I realized that I would never use some of my favorite iPhone apps on the iPad: Golfshot GPS, Siri, AroundMe, Shazam, and Jibbigo. (Check out 15 best iPhone apps for newbies.)

On the flip side, the iPhone’s “whip-it-out” mobility is a handicap at a higher level of data consumption, while the iPad excels in this area. This means you’ll want to employ a different data app strategy for the iPad.

For instance, most iPhone owners can’t imagine life without the Facebook app. You can read status updates instantly. But you might not want the Facebook app for the iPad: Try Flipboard, which pulls and presents information feeds from various sources in a friendly magazine format. It’s a much easier way to take in Facebook information.

My Flipboard has Facebook, Twitter, AllThingsD, National Geographic, San Francisco Chronicle, among others. I considered the CNN feed but felt that the CNN iPad app renders information and video better than on Flipboard, which is an exception. (Check out 15 best iPad apps for newbies.)

Because I do research for stories on Safari, I also decided that I would bookmark many of the news sources and stay in Safari as much as possible. This way I won’t have to bounce in and out of apps as often. For long stories I find on the Web, I’ll read later over Instapaper.

Maybe iOS 5, expected to be announced June 6 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, will bring tabs to mobile Safari. Either way, I’m guessing that the iPad (and other tablets) are reducing the need for the development of mobile Web sites and perhaps bringing back the well-designed, full Web site.

With Flipboard, Instapaper and mobile Safari, I find that I don’t need a lot of individual content apps on the iPad.

iPad: A Content-Creation Machine

Where the iPad really diverges from the iPhone is in the area of content-generation. As a tech reporter, I use the following iPad apps for work: IA Writer, QuickOffice, Dropbox, SoundNote, WordBook XL, as well as the iPhone app AP Style Book.

While some of these apps are on my iPhone, I hardly use them. I just can’t imagine writing a story on the iPhone. On the iPad, I use them all the time. (Check out 5 awesome iPad productivity apps for under $5 and three must-have productivity tools.)

I have an Apple Wireless Keyboard to go with the iPad, which makes typing and navigating around a document with the arrow keys just as easy as on a Mac. I also have the Apple Camera Connector to download and send photos. Now with the new iPhone hotspot feature, it’s easy to file iPad-generated stories.

Fact is, the iPad and iPhone complement each other because they’re used in vastly different ways—and this means the go-to apps must vary, too.

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Networking for Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Tom at