Published on February 14th, 2012 | by Greg0
iPad and iOS Books: Educate Yourself This Valentine’s Day
It's that time of year again. Hearts adorn the storefront windows, red and pink glisten the aisles, and restaurants are booked full of couples (and want-to-be couples). But what if you want to give a gift that offers more under the surface than flowers or chocolate? What if you're a true nerd, harboring secret dreams of creating the next great iPhone or iPad game? Or you bought your loved one an iPad for Christmas and couldn't help but notice that it hasn't been being used as much as you might hope?
We've got three books to check out today, all with an Apple bent, and all published by Wiley. Let's start with the one with perhaps the widest audience: iPad2 for Dummies by Nancy Muir. It's essentially the same as the rest of the Dummies series, which is to say, quite good really at helping folks who need to start with the basics. We've been reading the just-released 3rd Edition, which covers the original iPad and iOS 5 as well, and is broken up into sections like "Just for Fun", "iPad on the Go", "Getting Productive with iWork", amd "Must-Have iPad Apps". Of course, the information in the book isn't 100% up-to-date; there are always new apps and updates to both the iOS firmware and the software that you run, but we noticed remarkably few errors or inconsistencies considering the speed of change. And while much of the information is available online elsewhere, the iPad doesn't exactly come with a good manual, and this book does a great job of providing one with lots of pictures and explanations. For advanced folks, it'll be mostly review or skippable, but even technologically adept folks will find tips that come in handy- for instance, the "Share Location" feature that is easy to overlook in Maps. Available now, $17.
Finally, if you're ready to move past the basics, you should definitely check out Rob Napier and Mugunth Kumar's iOS Programming: Pushing the Limits. This is a book for those who already have a couple of apps under their belt, and are interested in learning about some of the new features in iOS 5, changes to Xcode, best practices, and other advanced topics. Covered are bits like iCloud, exception handling, version control, and the new ARC- automatic reference counting- which means developers no longer have to worry quite so much about memory management. In other words, this it tough stuff, and incredibly useful to folks who worry deeply about the other kind of garbage collection. We learned a lot, even if we aren't yet comfortable with in-app purchases and controlling multi-tasking. Available now, $28.