Like Apple products themselves, The Missing Manual uses a clean, simple layout for convenience and less intimidation. One aspect I specifically appreciate is not having too many sidebars and "extra information" boxes on each page. Instead, the author includes only two extra boxes: "Tips" and "Notes." This spares the reader from having to learn various symbols or colors that denote the kind of information provided in numerous sidebars and boxes. The "Tips" and "Notes" boxes briefly describe additional (but not essential) information as well as useful shortcuts.
While iPad: The Missing Manual may be geared primarily toward new users, experienced iPad owners will find much to like, too. The troubleshooting section spells out common error messages, and gives instructions as to how to find online support and local repair shops. Is spending extra for the AppleCare program worth it? Biersdorfer addresses that question as well.
The only issue one could raise with the book is its reliance on recommending Apple products. While the author occasionally mentions other accessory manufactures like Belkin or Griffin, she primarily suggests Apple-branded items. One visit to Best Buy or any electronics or computer store quickly demonstrates that endless accessories—some just as useful but less expensive than Apple—exist. Mentioning Apple products is not surprising, but giving the reader more alternatives as well as explaining that the iPad works with a variety of manufacturers would have been helpful information. However, this issue is a relatively small one compared with the instruction this book provides.
Whether you've purchased an iPad for yourself or are giving one as a gift, iPad: The Missing Manual serves as an essential companion which will probably be permanently stored right next to the device. For more information, visit O'Reilly's site and the iPad: The Missing Manual dedicated page.