I picked up my iPad a week ago and I have been using it around the home office, house and on a few business trips. Here are the impressions so far and they build on the comments I made earlier. Warning this is a long post.
Please note that I am trying to find ways that this device can help me manager my work better. I am not interested in the MAC PC wars or in all the things that this device cannot do, rather I want to know what it can do and how those capabilities are useful.
There are many posts about the things that this device cannot do, or the belief that Apple somehow lied to us about this device. Truthfully the more I here about it the more it sounds like sour grapes.
The more I use the iPad the more I realize that its technology is largely a bigger form factor for the iPhone or the iTouch. This means that the value will have to come out of the applications rather than the innate technical capabilities.
Technically so far the iPad is sound, the wifi antenna works well and the file transfer while clunky is effective. But it’s really clunky. .
THIS IS NOT A PC replacement and to think of it as such is to stay trapped in an old computing and technology metaphor. Having the iPad does not reduce my need for a PC or a Mac Book as this form factor is not particularly helpful for content creation. (see comments below about content consumption.). What I am finding is that the iPad extends information and access into spaces and places that make a full sized PC difficult to use. For example:
- On a regional jet where there is no way I could get my pc open and being productive on an airplane
- At night when I want too look something up on the web and my pc is either turned off or in another room
- In the morning when I can read the newspapers when and where I want.
- When I have a few minutes to do email and respond with more than I can type with my thumbs.
- When I want to show someone something either on the web or a PowerPoint/keynote file
- When I am typing up short notes like this one
This device is a MEDIA SYRINGE it is built and optimized for delivering media beyond just books and video, this device has a great email interface, at least for me and rapidly scanning email messages, it has a serviceable keypad particularly when it is in landscape orientation, more on that below, and Pages is helpful.
Email support is good and this is an effective tool for handling email when not at your PC.
I am a little miffed that my emails look like they were written by ee. cummings as I have to remember to hold down the shift key when I type.
There is no shift lock, which is s bit of a pain.
You have to put this device in its own bin to get it through TSA as I could not make the ‘briefcase sneak’ work, busted three times in a row.
This device needs a cover, preferably one that covers the screen. Apple makes a pretty slick cover but they were sold out when I bought mine so I have an aftermarket cover, which is working fine. Spend the money on the cover.
If you took typing in high school and they taut you to curl your fingers then you will have some challenges typing on this. If you learned typing at the school of ‘hunt and peck’, then you will find the need to keep your fingernails short as the keyboard responds to heat not pressure.
I will continue to buy hardcover books for now as not all of them are available online but for ones available electronically this is a great device.
Socially people have not made up their minds if it’s Ok to have such a device. I am not feeling the interest people had when they first came out with the iPhone. There maybe several reasons for this including the economy and the overhyped nature of the device. But that’s afire as I bought this for me.
Battery life has been good so far, but it is slow in charging off of the USB attached to a computer.
Video looks great, although the built in speaker is tinny.
The ability to rotate the device and keep its screen orientation is good as I worked a whole day with the device upside down and never realized it.
iPhone apps work pretty well reinforcing that technically this is a big iPhone without the camera or the phone.
The color screen is good and seems easier than my prior use of other e-ink based readers.
I never realized my fingers were so greasy. I cannot wait for the murder mystery when some one is framed based on fingerprints lifted from this screen.
I also never realized how fat they are, so people with smaller hands and thinner fingers will have less trouble typing.
It is a little heavy to be a hand-held device
Few third party apps support cut and paste or at least I cannot easily copy this text and paste it into Word Press.
The functionality of Keynote for the iPad is poor. For a device that is so good with video and graphics, the makers of Keynote left out many of the animation capabilities that would make presentations come alive in your hands. Group animation and the ability to link between slides really limit this program on the iPad. I hope they extend the presentation play mode of the Mac version to the iPad.
Your finger is a decent navigation device by a lousy content creation device. I can type but I doubt that I could create a good presentation deck from scratch on the iPad.
Overall it is a good device, particularly when you stop thinking about it as a PC replacement.
Recommended based one week’s use for those who:
- Travel a lot and have relatively light email responsibilities, you read then and write short replies that are longer than you can comfortably write using your thumbs.
- You do not have an e book reader and want one, but do not want a single purpose device, then this is a good choice. Particularly as you can still use the Kindle reader.
- People who are casual and ad hoc surfer of the web. Of you use your laptop or net book which watching TV then you will like this better.
- People who repeatedly find themselves with blocks of 20 to 45 minutes free but they are away from their desks and do not have time to boot up before they need to power down to get to their next meeting.
- People who want to carry more media with them without being chained to your PC. Media like videos, games and yes the web.
Not recommended as a replacement for the PC if you are a heavy content creator or you need more power to do your job. You will need the storage, the keyboard and the mouse to do that kind of work. Gestures are great, but they do not replace the input required to create presentations. The iPad is better at handling an executive workload.
A word about the coming PC based tablets, first off if all they are is a new way to input data using Windows, then I am not interested particularly if it takes PC scale times to boot up. Then there is no point since the glass keyboard is not a great high volume input device and a traditional PC is not instant on.
I believe that Apple can do wrong and they have disappointed me in a few places mentioned above, but overall I am finding ways to use the iPad to make me more productive, but its not a PC substitute nor is it for everyone.