Birding with an iPad

ipad and iphones

by Gunnar on December 26, 2010 · 4 comments

in Birding News

Ipad for birders

So did you get a new iPad for Christmas? Are you thinking of getting one? I wrote some first thoughts about the Ipad for birding when it was still released on my blog: 5 reasons why the iPad will be useful for birders and today I saw this review by Drew Weber from The Nemesis Bird:  Birding with a new  iPhone, iTouch or iPad in which Drew walks us through the available apps for birders (principally in the US market).  Peterson Guides just came out with a new birdwatching app for iPad. One particular product – Ibird Pro HD – stands out as a great iPad app in Steven Ingraham’s thorough review. Furthermore the technophiles behind Birdguides have developed a number of birding products for iPhone for the European market.

My Ipad strategy

I gave in, and bought myself  an iPad a couple of months ago and although I have not had much time to explore it due to my many trips recently I still have had some great use for it…and more is planned. First let me tell you some of my strategy.

  • 3G from the iphone. I already had an iPhone (liberated – and not attached to a carrier) to which I have purchased an unlimited monthly mobile Internet account (from Claro – as I already have Movistar in the Blackberry!). That SIM-card is supposed to go to a little gadget attached to the laptop, but I have it in the phone instead.  First you need to jailbreak the iPhone. Apparently, this can now also be done with iPhones containing 4.1 to 4.2 IOS. I will not go into the technical details, but my older iPhone with IOS 3.1.2 had no problems Jailbreaking it.  You know your iPhone is Jailbroken when you have an icon for Cydia on it. From Cydia you can download programs that are not available from the AppStore.  One of these programs for around US$20 is MyWi, which turns your jailbroken iPhone into a 3G modem.
  • 64GB WiFi Ipad. So since I already had “free Internet” available I could get an iPad with only WiFi and still being able to surf practically where ever I go, with the iPhone as a mobile modem.  I bought the most powerful non 3G model I could find in Lima two months ago.  It has 64GB space.
  • Mobile Internet when abroad. Having a liberated iPhone not blocked by a service provider is also good when one goes travelling abroad. One can simply buy a line for the iPhone in the country one visit. It cost around $38 for two weeks recently when I was in Ecuador including the line.

My uses now and in near future.

  • Reading books. One can download all kindle books, as well as from other stores via apps available from the Appstore. There is a huge selection of classics available for free. Great reading experience. In some apps one can wobble font size and style as well as put on a night screen with black background and white text to be read in the dark.  If you thought of getting a Kindle for any reason, an iPad is so much better.
  • Field Guides. I shall be storing the plates of all the field guides in my iPad – and bring it to the field with me in the future.  I am currently scanning them all.
  • Sound. I have practically all my bird-calls also in the iPad – reachable at the finger tip.
  • News. I have New York Times app on the iPad. It downloads a feed that can be read even away from internet connection
  • Facebook. Is far better on iPhone/iPad than on the Blackberry.
  • Twitter. I like Osfoora. I keep 4 different twitter accounts here.
  • Flipboard. A new app I just downloaded. Great feed agregator which presents your Google Reader, selected Twitter-lists, your Facebook, your Flickr friends, etc. Practically any feed you like you can put on your Flipbord. Flipboard is free!

When it becomes obselete – it will be a great toy for the kids.

Finally, the iPad has also become a favorite for my two young daughters 1.5 and 4 years old. There are several games that even toddlers can play. All of us enjoy “Kids can Match Animals for iPad” which is like Memory but one can vary number of cards – and it forces the kids to only turn two cards at once. In comparison to the normal board game, this one comes with sound for each animal plus a voice telling you the name of the animal in English. Cost $1.99

I also just downloaded GoSkyWatch – an interactive star-map you hold against the sky at night and this way can identify all the constellations and planets.  And it is free.

So if you worry that there will soon be a much better model out that have all the jingles and bells such as USB ports and multi-tab Internet browsers, and the possibility to transfer things to the gadget without using iTunes – yes they will come, but why wait for the fun when this gadget can be so awesome right now. When it becomes obsolete, I know two midgets that will be more than happy to inherit it.

Oh, and I almost forgot..(well I did forget….but just remembered)…I promised myself I should link to the iChick…err iChristine. This chick is just mad about MacStuff…and she is mad… She does need not need an introductiion for the younger generation…but for us oldies..she has become famous by producing videos of herself on YouTube…
Not a birding review, but convincing anyway.

Top Photo: Ipad and iPods by Blake Patterson on Flickr via Creative Commons

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  • http://nemesisbird.com Drew

    Thanks for the link Gunnar. With all the apps available now, the iPad has really become an awesome birding tool!

    • http://www.kolibriexpeditions.com/birdingperu/blog/ Gunnar Engblom

      And thanks to you Drew for the inspiration to my post. It was about time to
      do a follow-up from my previous post earlier this year, especially as I now
      have an IPad myself. It’s awesome! I never heard anyone not liking it yet.

  • Anonymous

    This is good information about iPad strategy and other features of iPad. Ipad and ipad 2 both are great devices developed by apple which has more features than other all simple devices.

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