Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review of the iPad

Well, I know everyone and their brother has already done a review, but I can't resist throwing my two cents in, so here goes...

I really like it. Why? The huge screen, relatively light weight, and incredible battery life. Okay, great, but what does it DO? Well, that's the big question now, isn't it? It's a great web surfing tool. Okay, but you've probably got something for that already. It's a great email reader, and a good email sending device if you mostly send short messages or don't mind adding the optional keyboard. Okay, but you probably already have that covered, too. It's a really nice picture viewing device. And video viewing device. And gaming device. And book reader. And calendar. And note taker. And a whole lot of things.

But nothing you can't already do with a laptop, right? Well, the thing is it does all that better than a laptop. Sure, there are things it won't do that a laptop will, but the things it does are all done exceedingly well. And in a light form factor with a battery that will last OVER 10 hours! Not many laptops can even come close to that.

What can't it do? Things like video editing, running Windows applications, or even someone every day tasks like running Quickbooks. Is there a killer application that makes it a "must have"? Not yet. But the thing you do get is the App Store, which will likely mean there will be a killer app or forty at your disposal soon. What do I dig now? The ABC app, the Wall Street Journal app, the fact that the email client in some ways is better than the OSX one, and how much better viewing video is than on the iPhone/Touch. The Blogpress app is pretty good for entries like this, but I had to add the picture using my Mac.

What doesn't it do yet that it will? Multitasking, a proper Facebook app (don't get me wrong, you can use Safari to do Facebook fine, but the iPhone app is better than using the web in many ways, and I expect we'll soon see an iPad app that's of the same ilk), and printing. There are some workarounds for printing from some applications, but hopefully we'll be able to print from the iWork suite. It just seems really odd to me that you can create and exchange documents so easily yet if you want to print one you have to send it to another machine first.

Does everyone need to rush right out and get one? Not really. But if you have a need for a space friendly device with good battery life that will let you surf the web, do email, and generally entertain you, I can't think of anything better. And heck, even the TSA is getting friendly saying it's not a big enough computer that they want you to take it out of your carry-on bag at the security checkpoint. That's worth something to me, right there.

One hole I hope gets filled is navigation. It should be MUCH easier for someone to build and market a dashboard friendly mount for this device so that the GPS enabled 3G version (coming in about a month) can be used as a navigation device (or the current version with an external GPS). The screen size will be much better than most of the off-the-shelf units, and the fact that it can also be your music player is an added bonus. I don't think it'll be more than a couple months before we see something like this on the market, and likely several somethings like this.

Can it replace a Kindle? Depends. If looking at "computer screens" for long periods doesn't bother your eyes, yes. If, however, you find that "computer screens" bother you and something like the Kindle's special screen doesn't, then no. It's a beautiful screen, but it is still basically "just an LCD." The Kindle is special in this regard, and if you need that particular feature of the Kindle then you need a Kindle. Unfortunately the only way to know if this device will bother you is to spend a few hours reading on one, but supposedly Apple does have a good return policy on in-store purchases. The iBook reader is a free application, and there are even some timeless classics you can download to it for free to give it a try. So you can, in effect, try it out for free to see if it will work for you. They've sold a half million of them in less than a week, so you might know someone who will loan you one, too. Nah, few people are going to let these babies out of their hands for quite some time.

-- Posted from my iPad, mostly

** EDIT: Shoot, I should have tried to put the picture in with the iPad. It's totally possible, and not even that hard. You just switch to your browser, find the picture you want to put in your block, touch and HOLD your finger on it, select "Save" from the menu that pops up. Then you have your image saved in your image library and can select it with the Blogpress app. Dang, should have known it was that easy!


Unknown said...

what? airport security won't make you take out your ipad? the last 2-3 times I've been to the airport, they've started making me take out my kindle... which is ridiculous. it'd be like trying to blow up a plane with an etch-a-sketch. nice review!

Donnie Barnes said...

There was a news article that said that, yeah. I'm skeptical myself, but we shall see. Kindle, huh? That does not bode well. *sigh*

Mike Wangsmo said...

I'm still not sold. I'm a geek as big as the next guy but Yet Another Electronic Gadget is hard to get excited about. Especially one that doesn't really do anything new, just a different way of doing day to day things.

Now, I have to admit I'm not a Mac fan (I don't own a single Apple product unless you count Ellen's iPod as mine somehow). So, a lot of sexy factor and allure of the Mac products are lost on me.

My point is, I pretty much have to take my laptop everywhere I go (except maybe around in the house) so I personally am having trouble with the iPad's value add proposition. That said, I hope it is hugely successful because all of the devices that come along after will pick up the best parts of the iPad and will work their way into a product that I do need/use.

Donnie Barnes said...

Yeah, if you have to have your laptop on trips anyway, this isn't for you. The big allure to me was that for a lot of the trips I take, the iPad is definitely enough (especially if I take the keyboard with me, and the combo of the iPad and keyboard is still smaller and lighter than my laptop by a good bit).

As for spawning technology for other devices, I'm still trying to figure what that is. The iPad really is just an iPod Touch with a bigger screen and more CPU. Otherwise you've just got sound, dock connector, accelerometers, and wifi (and soon 3G). The thing I see that it has going for it is the App Store, which I've already blogged about the power of. That's what will set it But that's been what set the iPhone apart, too, and so far even Google's best attempt (the Droid) is coming up way short in recreating that model (lots of iPhone developers tried to jump on that ship and just jumped right back off).

Don't get me wrong, I want to see technology bleed over because competition is a good thing. Right now, in this space, Apple has so little they're ignoring what they do have quite well.

Lis said...

I am cracking up/crying thinking about using Quickbooks without a keyboard or a mouse. Besides, even if it did appear, the Mac version is horrible.