Although the iPad ships with a whole card's worth of information, some users will undoubtedly appreciate more detailed help and information about the latest hot item from Apple. First, no need to fret if you're short a ten. Simply go to the Apple site, and you'll find a generous complimentary manual online. On the other hand, it's understandable that some reactionary types will prefer a "hard copy" manual--one, moreover, that does not require toting 200 letter-size pages of instructions.
Either one of these guides--the iPad Pocket Guide by Jeff Carlson or the Rough Guide by Peter Buckley--will do the trick--though you certainly won't require both (I ordered the 2nd only after forgetting that I'd already ordered the first). Unfortunately, the choice isn't easy. The prices are virtually equal, the size and weight of the two manuals are also practically identical. (Neither manual is quite small enough to fit into a back pants pocket, but that's merely a quibble: they're plenty compact and handy.)
Should you come across the two competing titles in a bookstore and read the back-cover hype, you're likely to assume that the Pocket Guide takes a more personal, hand-holding approach than the Rough Guide to the iPad and its application to your specific needs. However, pretty much the opposite is true. The Rough Guide has thicker pages, some in color, bigger print, more subdivisions and titles, less verbiage, and an index that has fewer than one-half the entries in the Pocket Guide (which must have close to 500 entries in its 9-page index).
Both manuals are written clearly enough, but if your interest is in the details and if your reading environment (not to mention eyesight) is optimal, you'd be justified in considering yourself better equipped with the Pocket Guide. On the other hand, it may matter to some readers that though the Pocket Guide contains more information and more detailed explanations than The Rough Guide, it presupposes just a tad more computer literacy on the part of the user. For example, the chapter entitled "Debunking the Multitasking Myth" would not immediately grab the attention of someone unfamiliar with the "myth"--or, for that matter, with the meaning of "Multitasking" (we'll be more charitable and assume the lay reader can handle "debunking"). On the other hand, if all you want is a fast read, some big print and even some color (forget the highlighting--the editor/author has done all of that for you), then the Rough Guide is no doubt your best bet for an iPad companion.
Having both manuals, I feel compelled to use both. And given the differences between the two--less about substance than style--I'd have to give both five stars at this stage. The "Rough Guide" has bigger print, more pictures, and makes frequent use of an inviting Q&A format. But it pays little attention to the user's actual sequence of using the machine. If you prefer all sorts of orientation, scene-setting, feature-talk before the basic business of getting your iPad set up and connected, the "Rough Guide" is probably the better choice (it doesn't get to specifics about basic set-up until P. 58). On the other hand, the pictured "Pocket Guide" may have smaller print, longer paragraphs, and fewer pictures, but it tries to get you off and running with a discussion of the procedure for set-up on P. 2. If you're impatient to actually use the machine, and if your vision is fairly close to normal, Carlson's "Pocket Guide" is the more attractive if not logical choice.