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The iPad's here, now what?

April 2, 2010 07:03 AM ET

Can I do real work on my iPad? Depends on how you define real (as opposed to fake work, which for us means a nap or ESPN), but you can write and crunch numbers and craft soul-sucking presentations if you buy the three apps that make up the iPad version of Apple's iWork suite.

Apple has used a way-back machine to return to the days of the unbundle, when suites weren't collections with a single price but an agglomeration of separately purchased programs that worked together, more or less. In other words, you buy the three applications -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- separately from the App Store. Price: $9.99 each.

Of course, if you're a numbers person and wouldn't know a gerund from a gradated background, you pay for only what you want and the hell with the rest.

There's no camera on the iPad, so how do I get photos onto the thing? Out of the box, the sync cable is your friend: Use it and iTunes to synchronize collections on your computer with the iPad.

By the way, you'll need to update your Mac or PC to iTunes 9.1 -- Apple slipped that out Tuesday -- to sync with the iPad and organize the books you buy with the iBook app.

If there's $29 burning a hole in your pocket, you can spring for the iPad Camera Connection Kit. One of the two adapters accepts a camera's SD memory card; the other links your camera's USB cable with the iPad. Too bad the kit doesn't ship until later this month.

I tried the on-glass keyboard and hate it. What do I do? The iPad also syncs with Bluetooth keyboards, so if you have one of those, you should be able to link to and use it without any trouble.

Apple sells a combination keyboard and iPad dock -- called, not surprisingly, the iPad Keyboard Dock -- that also includes an audio jack for connecting the iPad to speakers or a stereo system. It costs $69. While some reviewers have received a dock, Apple's not shipping to the rest of us until late this month.

An Apple-branded Bluetooth keyboard -- basically, the same keyboard as in the dock -- also costs $69 and is available now.

I have a MobileMe account. Can I add the iPad to the list of my devices to sync? Yes, you can.

To MobileMe, Apple's sync and storage service, the iPad is just another device. You can sync the mail, contacts and calendar on the iPad with your iPhone, Mac or PC; use MobileMe's 20GB iDisk to store documents, like those you create with the iWork apps; register with the Find My iPad feature; and remotely wipe a lost or stolen tablet.

If you don't have a MobileMe account, you can try the service for 60 days free of charge.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at Twitter @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed Keizer RSS. His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

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