While I am a huge Apple fan (my family owns 5 Macs, 2 iPhones, & 5+ iPods), I have been openly critical of the iPad since it’s introduction by Steve Jobs. My criticisms have included the lack of Flash support, the inability to run multiple apps simultaneously, using the iPhone OS instead of full OS X, and lastly my failure to understand the niche it is designed to fill.
Well, today I got my first opportunity to spend some hands-on time with the 16gb iPad, and thought I might share some of my impressions.
*At 8pm the Apple store in Nashville still had plenty available with no line. Not sure what to read of this. Could be lack of demand or could be that Apple was better prepared for the volume than with the iPhone. Only time will tell.
*The device is slightly smaller than I pictured in my head and incredibly elegant. Feels extremely sturdy. No surprises here. Apple gets design in a way that no other computer/device company does.
*Native iPhone apps that have not been updated for the iPad look ridiculous, especially in 2x mode.
*The keyboard is awkward, but usable. No way to thumb type in portrait mode, so the user will be forced to use one finger or set it down on something. Using the keyboard with all fingers in portrait mode is difficult.
*iBooks are pretty slick, but I worry about the glare. Do not like the two-page view in landscape mode. Very nice that you can also read Kindle and Nook titles that are not available from the iBookstore through downloadable apps.
*The mail application is great for displaying and reading messages but suffers from the same problems as it’s iPhone sibling when using multiple mail accounts. From what I can tell there is no universal inbox and switching mail accounts takes multiple taps.
*The screen is beautiful for viewing photos and videos. Really is a great media viewing device.
*The iPhone OS does not translate well to a slate form factor. Really amplifies the need for some type of dashboard. Flipping through twelve screens to get to an app seems very cumbersome.
*The new, touch-enabled iWork apps are not intuitive at all. Very frustrating to try to do what should be the simplest tasks. Really amplifies the fact that this device is for “consuming” media/data and not “creating” it. Also, with Microsoft announcing this week that they have no plans to bring MS Office to the iPad, it is really hard to see this as a business tool.
*Games look really great. Was only able to watch someone else play them, so I can’t provide feedback on playability. However, I can see this being a great gaming device.
Well, that’s my 2 cents after my first use. If you are looking for something small and elegant that can be used for web, email, photos, books, videos, & games, then the iPad is definitely worth a look. However, if you are looking for an extremely portable device that can be used for business travel, then I would recommend looking elsewhere for now.
I’m still not convinced there is a solid, long-term niche for this product, but I hope I’m wrong. The thing I’m most interest in watching is the app development. For example, will there be EMR/EHR apps written for the iPad for clinical environments? Will there be usable Office Productivity apps that will make this viable for business travelers? I’m also interested in hearing about how the screen glare affects those who read a lot of titles on the iPad.
I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts as I get further exposure to the iPad, but that’s all for now. If you have an iPad, I would love to hear your impressions (strengths & weaknesses). Good night!