There hasn’t been enough written about the iPad, so I’m chipping in with some bullets. They could easily become meaningless tomorrow when iPhone 4.0 is announced.
I’m still convinced that many many people don’t need an all-out computer, and that this will meet their needs. If the iPad had come out first we’d be questioning why people need a laptop instead.
Web Browser – They tried to throw me off by moving the toolbar to the top of the screen. But aside from that the interface is very much like the iPhone. I love having the bookmark bar at the top of the screen. Safari was the first app I tried after starting the iPad up, and I was amazed at how responsive the device was to my pinches and pans. If the button to clear the url field was a tiny bit bigger I wouldn’t object.
Mail – From Safari I went straight to Mail. I’m a little surprised they didn’t make more use of the space. For example – how about adding a button to attach a photo instead of having to exit Mail and going to Photos to create the outgoing message? Essentially Mail is the same as the iPhone version – but now you can see your message list at the same time you’re reading a message. That’s nice, but I bet they could squeeze some more stuff in there without it being overwhelming.
iBooks – It looks great. I don’t have a Kindle, I’ve never even held one. I hardly know anybody who has one. For a serious reader the backlight might be a lot to take, a point for Kindle. But the interface is easy to use and I can see myself trying a book or two and going from there. Mrs. Murphy is a light sleeper and even with the brightness turned all the way down I’ll probably get elbowed. Along with encouragement to shut it down. Still – iBooks looks like a well-executed winner.
My Old Apps – Next I wanted to see my old apps in action. The jaggies on the 2x view are pretty distracting, but the 1x view is fine for most apps since that’s what they were designed for. I’m glad they run and the ones I tried worked just fine. EyeTV is cool to have, I’d expect a real iPad app from Elgato before too long. Many of my other apps really make more sense for the iPhone, so I didn’t even move them over to the iPad. Like geo-aware and photographic apps.
Video – Video looks fantastic. They should add a brightness slider like iBooks has.
Photos – I love the interface. A friend once said to me, “It’s way too awkward to pass a laptop around a room for people to look at photos.” He was right. Especially in non-nerd company. The iPad is perfect for this function. Photos is probably the best example on the device of how natural a touch interface can be. After digging down into an album or photo you can pinch in to climb back up the tree. I love that.
That said, I was hoping for a more advanced photo app, tied closer to iPhoto. The form-factor is so natural for photos – why not add the ability to tag photos? Tap a bunch of photos and drag a tag name onto them. Perfect.
Physical Device – I’ve pictured what this device would look like over the years. And I always pictured it a little smaller. You can’t get the world to agree on what the right size is though and I don’t think it’s WAY too big anyway. It’s too heavy to hold for very long with one hand. But if you’re sitting and rest it on your lap it’s comfortable enough for some browsing, reading, viewing… Which is probably why the Safari controls were moved to the top. Buttons along the bottom edge can get lost in the folds of your shirt. People complained that it’s not the same aspect ratio as many films. Sorry people, movies come in all different aspects – you’re going to have black bars some of the time no matter what.
The device feels solid and I assume it’s sturdy like my iPhone. I would have liked a USB port but the camera kit will meet my biggest USB need for the device. For others this could be a gaping hole. I wonder how much Apple takes in from licensing the data connector port.
How Will Murphy Use the iPad ? – Not sure yet. I want my mother to try it out. Before it shipped I was sure it was all the computer many people actually need. Especially as a secondary computer. If you have a keyboard.
I heard Scoble (I think) talking about his mother-in-law and how she had never used a computer. She doesn’t speak English and yet he handed the device to her and she could start using it immediately. He pointed out that the iPad is less intimidating than a computer for the inexperienced. Others have mentioned their children taking to it more naturally than a mouse.
Back to ME: I like it. I’m not wild about typing on it while lying on the sofa. But for browsing I love it. So far I’ve used it a lot while standing in the kitchen with the iPad flat on the counter. Typing in that case is fine. And I can watch TV (via EyeTV) without the toddler seeing it. That’s big.
After the iPad announcement I was initially disappointed. I realize now that full OS X – which I wanted – would have been a mistake. But then – like many others – I pictured non-techies using it for email and Internet, especially with a keyboard. Most people I know do very little beyond that with their computers. If Apple announces printing tomorrow a big obstacle will be removed.
Miscellaneous – I haven’t had any wifi issues. I have the latest dual band Airport. I’ve also used it in a couple restaurants that had wifi and with an old Netgear router. No problem. I’m not saying the other people’s problems aren’t valid, just letting you know it’s not affecting all iPads.
I’m not good at typing on it yet. I’m way keyboard-centric on my Mac and use keyboard shortcuts whenever I can. I’ll get better but I don’t know how much better.
I don’t have a case, and I don’t really like the Apple one that much. Just throwing it in my bag for now.
I don’t fly much anymore. If I did I’d take this instead of a laptop in a second. I can’t think of much I’d need on a trip that it couldn’t do.
I’ve shown the iPad to a handful of people. None of them had a Kindle but they were all most interested in the iBooks app. The calendar and address book are pretty good looking, and the Photos app is a great demo.
I heard the iPad can play music for something like 140 hours on a single charge.
I’m writing this on my Macbook.| Permalink