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5 Ways the iPad is Different Than the iPhone (Besides the Obvious)

iphone and ipad comparison

If you’re like me, you assumed that the iPad was pretty much identical to the iPhone, but bigger.  The form factor alone opens up some new possibilities on the iPad, but there are other differences aside from size.  Here are five differences that, while obvious, might be news to you if you’re thinking about purchasing an iPad.

Photo by Yutaka Tsutano

1.  6 Spots In the Dock

By default, the iPad, like the iPhone, comes with 4 icons in the icon dock at the bottom of the screen.  These are the icons that are available on all icon pages.  On the iPad, though, you can add two more icons, giving you six in the dock.

2.  More Rotation Features

The iPhone is a bit hit or miss when it comes to screen rotation.  While we’re past the early days when only a few apps supported screen rotation, icon pages still can’t be rotated, and there is no quick and easy way to turn rotation off and on.  Conversely, I have yet to find a screen or even an app that can’t be rotated by simply rotating the iPad itself.  The iPad also comes with a switch on the side that you can flick to lock the screen’s orientation.

3. Harder to Type

This one is a matter of opinion, but I find it harder to type on the iPad than on my iPhone, which surprises me.  The iPhone is small enough that you can reach all of the onscreen keys with your thumbs.  Not so on the iPad.  The iPad is too big for thumb typing, but too small for traditional typing.  I’ve resorted to pecking with my index fingers.  Sometimes I’ll use one hand in the traditional typing position, and peck with the index finger on the other hand.  Either way, it is a bit more cumbersome than typing on the iPhone.

4. No Mute Switch

Unlike the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t have a switch that you can flick to kill audio.  In its place above the volume rocker, you’ll find the rotation lock.  You can still mute the audio fairly quickly, though, by holding the audio rocker down for a few ticks.  If you do so, the iPad’s audio will jump to muted.

5.  Your iPhone Charge Cables Probably Won’t Work

If you have a drawer full of iPod or iPhone charging cables, your first instinct might be to use some of those cables around the house to charge your iPad.  You may be in for disappointment.  I’ve found that none of my iPhone or iPod cable/plug combos work with the iPad.  Instead, I’m presented with an onscreen message advising me that the connection doesn’t support charging.  I suspect that the cable isn’t the problem, but rather that the plug doesn’t provide enough juice to charge the iPad.  Also, the iPad won’t charge via the USB ports on some older computers.  There are some reports that the iPad will still charge slowly, if turned off, but I haven’t tried.

If you own both, what other differences, aside from form factor, have you found between the iPad and iPhone? If you don’t own an iPad, are there any differences that are swaying you one way or the other from making a purchase?