So I was allowed to play with a friend’s iPad the other day, and it was a very interesting experience.
I’ve always had a lust for many AAPL products, but unless they were work related, I was never an early adopter of them. Case in point, when I worked at a college paper, Quark and Photoshop on a Mac was (and many say remains) the only way to go. For full disclosure, I had a 160 gig iPod classic that was stolen from my car; a mini that was stolen from my car and my current day-to-day iPod is the blue 1 gig shuffle – great battery life, tiny and gives me a good selection of Tiesto podcasts to keep me going.
So, the iPad. It was handed over to me, with the nicely textured case (which doubles as a stand to hold it in portrait and landscape). I switched it on, and bam, I was sold – initially. But, like Monet’s paintings…looks good from afar – but far from good close up after some time using it.
Bullets will be the best way to highlight my observations:
- It’s heavy. Honestly felt similar to a netbook with a standard battery. That said, it would fit in my bag perfectly when travelling on the Acela or otherwise.
- Some of the apps were slow – but that’s to be expected, it’s not even been out for a week. The overall app experience was very compelling and contextual. This will force much change among future technological developments.
- No camera. This one is a dealbreaker for me, if I can’t Skype, especially with a camera, then it’s no good. I have to imagine the second gen will have one.
- Multitasking. I’ll leave this to Macworld’s Ben Long: http://www.macworld.com/article/150474/2010/04/ipad_not_for_everyone.html
- ebook reader. I’ve played with the Kindle and brethren. It might be pricey, but the weight, availability of books (even with the crappy DRM restrictions and concerns), and killer screen res still gives them the upper hand. This iPad illustrations were nice in Winnie the Pooh, as was the color, but the font smoothing was poor. I suspect this can all be cleaned up with software, but that may be a limitation of the screen itself; so I won’t be buying it as an ebook reader anytime soon.
- Expansion – with no way to switch battery, no USB ports for cameras, no way to expand memory – all makes no sense, but for AAPL, makes complete sense.
- WiFi. Seemed ok to me, but may be some software glitches with getting on networks.
- iTunes. The fact this has to be activated at a computer with iTunes makes no sense whatsoever, why can’t it be done OTA?
- Photos. I love the idea to use it as a photo frame.
- More real world applications. The iPad will have great appeal for point of sale and political purposes once developers can figure out how to sufficiently manipulate the SDK. More throughts from the Beekeeper group on the political implications: http://www.hivetalkin.com/post/2010/03/23/Five-Political-Uses-for-the-Apple-iPad.aspx
My bottom line assessment. If you want one, get it and use it at home – stream Netflix, listen to music while gardening, to use with a MiFi while travelling, get one. If you want to work, I mean real work, not email, then this is still not ready for primetime, especially with the price for the keyboard.
Glad I got to play with it though, I can’t imagine why anyone would spend the cash for the 3G micro-sim version on AT&T when it comes out. I am going to stay on the fence until the next generation comes out and the price goes down, but I suspect I do see one in my future to have around the house.