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    Thoughts on the iPad

    So I’ve had the iPad for three weeks now and I guess its time to provide my thoughts.  To put it simply and short in the words of Kaizumi-san (Vice President of Tokyo Electron Information Systems) “Mmm, big iPod.”  And as far as the device itself, that sums it up.  The key device differences are the bigger screen, better speakers, REALLY long battery life, faster performance, and a screen orientation lock.  The battery life is amazing!  One tester watched video for 11 hours.  I find that I don’t need to charge for several days.  And while these hardware features are cool, I think the platform and the apps are what really make the device shine.

    Video: Youtube, Netflix streaming, Movies, ABC streaming, EyeTV, AirVideo, and I’ve heard rumors of Hulu coming soon make this device a great way to enjoy lots of video content.  We only have one TV in the house, so I commonly prop it up in my office or in bed and watch a little TV or a movie.

    Books: I’m not a huge reader, but the Apple iBooks are amazing.  Its easy to read and the page turn eye candy is awesome.  Search, highlighting, and inline word definitions make you wonder why anyone would still use paper books.  And you don’t even need a night light.

    Documents: With the iWork suite, I can open and edit any Powerpoint, Word, or Excel file sent to me.  I’m currently using the Numbers app to track my workout program and I just take it to my workout like I would a piece of paper.  But unlike a piece of paper, it is charting and calculating my progress as I enter the data.  And with the proper attachment, you can hook this thing to a projector and run your presentation without a laptop.

    Photos: Its a lot more fun to share photos with the iPad than the iPhone.  They are actually at a reasonable size to see all the wonderful detail of the photo.  Plus, it has the ability to run beautiful slideshows and act as a digital picture frame.

    Notes: There are so many apps for this purpose and they all work great.  Evernote, Notes, Penultimate, Adobe ideas, Remember the Milk, etc.  Some allow syncing and others allow handwriting.  And if you feel the need, Pogo makes a stylus for the iPhone/iPad that really makes handwritten notes a snap.

    Calendar, Contacts, Email: I find I use these apps much more often than I ever did on the iPhone, because they are much easier to navigate with the bigger screen.  It’s also nice that I have them all synced with my work, Amy, and my personal info all together in one simple interface.

    News: I love reading RSS feeds on the NewsRack app.  It syncs with my Google reader account, so if I read an item on the iPad, it gets marked as read when I get to my computer.

    Games: The games are SOO much more fun on the iPad.  RealRacingHD, NOVA, and Labyrinth are my favorites, but there are many more.  There are a lot of fun interactions with each of these games with the multitouch and accelerometers.

    Things I’m Excited About:

    • I love coming home in the evening and plopping myself down in the hammock on my back porch and catching up with news, emails, weather, facebook, and maybe a little gaming while Brodie runs around and does his business.
    • I love the Bible apps.  With the Logos app, I can compare translations, read commentaries, define and compare Greek and Hebrew, and perform detailed searches.  It’s nice as a tool in the class room when I am teaching as well as when I’m simply reading along during a lesson.
    • I’m excited about the app called Square.  It is a free app and when you sign up, they send you a free credit card reader that works with the iPad.  You then create all your products in the catalog and whether or not to include sales tax and then you simply check people out on the spot.  They swipe their card, sign their name on the touch screen, an email recipe gets sent to me and them, and the funds get transferred into my account.  All they take is a percentage of the sales.  I’ll be using it at my art show in May for anyone who would like to buy a photo or two.
    • I met with a potential website client the other day and instead of taking a notebook or a laptop, I just took the iPad.  I showed them past work and took notes and it went very smooth and the client enjoyed the interaction and the ease of sharing.
    • The next thing I am considering trying is a remote control app.  I had the thought that I might be able to throw the iPad into a sling bag, take my bike to a coffee shop, and connect to my computer at the house.  Its possible, that I then could do pretty much anything like develop web sites, edit photos in photoshop, and pretty much anything else I do normally on my computer.  I wouldn’t need a power cord or anything.  Just the 1.5 pound iPad.  I’ll let you know how that goes soon.
    • At my job at Tokyo Electron, I now simply bring the iPad to meetings.  It syncs with my outlook calendar and emails and the full Safari web browser works with all our web based applications, so the only part of my job I can’t do on it is run a Java IDE development environment.

    Common Questions and Comments:

    • Are you disappointed that it doesn’t have a camera? I think a rear facing camera would be silly on this device, but the next generation will have a forward facing camera for video chats, which will be nice.
    • It really needs a USB port. Really?  Why?  No one has been able to give me a good answer after I pose that question.  You can get card readers and the keyboard is bluetooth and any data you want to move should be moved via the network interface.
    • It gets bad finger prints. Yes, but you can’t really see them when the device is on, so it doesn’t bother me.
    • Is the keyboard hard to use? It takes some practice, but I say no.  Besides you can always hook up the bluetooth keyboard.
    • What about printing? It will be coming in the new OS this summer, but in the mean time, you can just place it on a copier :-)
    • What about flash? I couldn’t care less.  As a web developer,  I agree with Steve.  Flash is no longer necessary and is a dieing technology.  There are SOO much better ways of presenting web materials these days.  My advice to Adobe:  Focus on what you are good at, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere, and leave the web alone.

    Complaints: My only complaint is that running iPhone apps in supersize mode is rather clunky and pixelated.  I see this feature simply as a means to get you by until your favorite app releases an iPad version.

    Final Thoughts: Its only been out for three weeks, so I can hardly imagine what it will be like in a year or two when app developers keep pumping out amazing new apps.  I’d love to see colleges use it instead of textbooks and I’d love to see companies like Tokyo Electron use it for documentation and manuals for Field Engineers.

    Thanks for reading, now go buy one :-)

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