After three weeks with an ipad I have a variety of thoughts. First as a device, I love it. I carry it with me all the time. I think it is the perfect size to really use walking around the house and in the car and at the park. I have the wifi version, but carry a hotspot so have internet access most everywhere. This is my first Apple product and mostly I am a big fan.
First, it is expensive. Most people really shouldn’t spend this much money on a device that is mostly a toy. But if you have the money to spend…
Second, it is locked down. This is also a positive because it works well right out of the box. But I don’t have access to the file system, so it is hard to create a file in one app and use it in another app or share it with another use. Mostly what you have to do is email files to move them from one app to another or to another computer.
Third, most everything is web-based. Again this is partially a positive because you do not need a large drive, or as much processing because you can off load some of the processing requirements to the web. But it means you always need web access.
The best thing about is the screen. It is a beautiful screen. It streams movies well, pictures look great. Apple has done a great job making it a delight to look at.
It is also a great size, just big enough to make it easy to use. It is a good balance between being able to work on it and small enough to carry around everywhere. I am still trying to find the right bag to carry it around in, but that is mostly about my bag fetish. (It does seem heavy for its size.)
Like the iphone, it all comes down to apps. The iphone and ipad are worthless if there are not apps that you want. Right now there are a bit over 6000 apps that are designed for ipad and thousands more that are designed for iphones but can be used on ipad. It is still missing a good office program, iwork from Apple is ok if you have an apple and use the full version on iwork on your macbook. But if you are a windows person and use MS Office, there is not a great option yet. It will be there, but not yet.
It also has a great battery. With a larger form factor comes a larger battery (and is probably responsible for the heft.) I routinely go two or three days with light use and have never used more than 60 percent of the battery in a day even with very heavy use.
I am a reader. I love to read. The ipad is bad for reading. You can read on it. Although I have not finished a book on it yet. The main problem is the distractability. This may not be a problem for others, but with an ipad, I can stop reading and check my email, or twitter, or play a game, etc. I just do not keep reading. I read for 10 – 15 minutes and get distracted and do not get back to it.
My two nieces, age 14 months and 2 and 1/2 years, love it. They will be digital natives. The older one understands how to change programs, go to her books, color, play games, etc. The younger knows how to change the pages in the couple of programs that I have for her (mostly book-like picture apps). But both of them are as distracted as I am. They zoom through programs, rarely staying and playing with something for more than a couple minutes at a time. There are several very good children’s books, but rarely does the 2 1/2 year old finish a book before she moves onto the next activity. The 2 1/2 year old has had problems using a mouse or touch pad, she just does not have the physical dexterity and the understanding of moving your hand in one place to make the other place move. But she has no such problems on an ipad. She touches it and it moves.
The children’s books have lots of movement. They read to you (or if you can actually read, you can read them yourself). There is a mix of video, still images that move around or zoom in, and pan and scan images of regular children’s books. Again, I think people are doing a great job drawing people into the books, but at the same time creating a culture of entertainment that will lead in the long term to issue engaging in any one activity.
In the next couple weeks I will review the ipad as a ebook reader, a comic book reader, an office companion, a travel computer, etc.