Yet Another iPad Post

Apple iPad ImageOk, one more iPad article. I have to admit, the iPad has me intrigued in many ways. I don’t subscribe to Apple’s slogan that it’s a  “A magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price”. Especially that “unbelievable price” part since it implies “unbelievably low”. Still, the hype that surrounds it, the apps being written for it, and the competitors trying to market competing products will make for an interesting year. The good news is that I’ve started another site – Pad Chronicles – to follow along the iPad trail. So, if you can’t get enough of the iPad, head on over there.

I’ve been using the iPad since Saturday and here are my impressions so far:

  • The iPad is fun to use. The interface is intuitive and the touch interface makes sense and doesn’t seem like it was shoehorned in.
  • It’s heavy. Holding it for viewing or reading can be tiring if it’s not propped against something that takes some of the weight.
  • Despite the fun, there are frustrating walls in the UI.
  • The mail app is one of those walls. While the interface seems to make sense if I think about it enough,  it doesn’t feel right. The fact that every time I go into it a mail message is open drives me nuts. Making it worse is it’s always an old message (the last one I viewed). I have to select the newer messages. I’ve gotten a little more used to it, but it just doesn’t feel right.
  • Screen glare is a problem. It ranges from mildly annoying to completely unusable depending upon the lighting and what I’m trying to do.
  • Like my iPad Touch, the screen attracts fingerprints and grime. Maybe because it’s bigger, but it seems worse on the iPad. It does clean easily with a dry cloth (or pant leg) but it can be downright disgusting when I put that black screen down after extensive use.
  • I didn’t plan to watch a lot of video on the iPad but I gave it a try and I’ve been using it more than I expected. I’ve been watching my own videos along with Netflix streaming and it’s been good, unless I’m in a place that I can’t maneuver to eliminate the screen glare.
  • The default wallpaper seems to be a bad choice from a company usually so concerned with looks. I changed it because the stars looked like scratches or dirt which was more annoying than the real smudges.
  • The speaker is mono, but better than the iPod Touch’s. With the Touch I really need to use headphones for any audio. With the iPad the the speaker is usable without headphones. Like I said, it’s mono. It’s also not something you’d want to play music through and expect to fill a room. But I can watch video with the sound through the speaker without a problem. I predict some stereo speakers on the next model.
  • Some of the apps are buggy, probably due to the lack of real hardware for testing. But in general performance has been great.
  • The on screen keyboard isn’t going to be used to write the great American novel, but it doesn’t suck and it’s usable and better than I expected. That said, don’t buy an iPad expecting to create a lot of content. I’ve answered some emails and done some simple web forms. For that it’s fine.
  • There’s still a premium for a lot of iPad apps. Can’t really blame the developer’s. If people pay the price it’s not gouging since there’s no rule saying we need to buy them.
  • There isn’t any multi-tasking (at least for 3rd party apps) and I have no complaints about that. There is the ability to save the app state when switching apps which is what I really want. (Although some apps don’t save state due to either security or bugs). If multi-tasking is added later I hope there’s a way to enable it at the app level. Music in the background is nice at times, I can’t think of much else I want spinning CPU cycles when it’s not front and center.
  • I also don’t miss the camera others say should be there. I guess it would be OK for video conferencing. That’s if you find a way to prop it up at the right angle. As for taking pictures – the word “awkward” comes to mind. If there had been an optional camera I would have passed.
  • The “unbelievable price” claim by Apple really gets under my skin. This is not inexpensive. I’m sure Apple maintains their nice margins on the iPad.

There’s probably more negative bullet point than positive ones in my list. But still, I’m happy with the iPad. It’s a version 1 device and the one next year will be better. But that’s always true. Wait and the hardware always gets better and cheaper. In Apple’s case the price points often stay the same but the hardware improves. While I did consider cancelling my pre-order due to the price, once I got it I never considered returning it and I’ll be using it daily for a long time.