Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thoughts on the iPad

As anyone who follows my or my husband's Twitter feed knows, we got an iPad this weekend. We hurried back from our long weekend to get to the Apple Store.

The child just didn't understand.

"Why do we have to leave?"

"We need to get back to buy a new gadget."

She looked around at the beautiful environment around us. "Why?"

"Why? Well.. because... well... it's important... I guess... it's an iPad. You know... an iPad..." I pulled out my iPhone. "It's like a big version of this."

"Oh. Can I have your phone?"

"No. I won't replace my phone... it's just sort of... umm... extra."

"Oh. Do we have to leave now?"

"Yes."

"But why?"

"Because I said so."

We got home, breezed in, paid our money, and breezed back out. Since it was a freelance gig of Mike's that paid for it, he got dibs for the first night.

I got my sticky, little, Easter-egg-colored fingers on it today. My thoughts:

  1. The shape is OK (there's a slight bow in the back that feels good against my fingers), but it's a bit heavier than I would have liked. I predict some sore wrists if I use this thing a lot.
  2. I didn't get enough time (I was getting up every few minutes to answer the bleating pleas of the child who thought she wasn't getting enough attention) to see if it gets hot. I had as much as 10 minutes with it and didn't notice the heat. That's long enough for my iPhone to get hot, particularly if I'm running wireless.
  3. The device doesn't charge up off of a PC's USB connection. That's really lame. Either the syncing has to happen faster or the iPad needs to charge up off of any USB connection I can find. That's been hugely valuable with my iPhone.
  4. It's cool. It's seriously cool. True to Apple's pattern of high quality devices, this acts as advertised. The screen is bright and rich in color. The touch screen reacts beautifully to my finger and the scrolling is smooth and lovely.
  5. The interface acts just like an iPhone. It is really nice to be doing iPhone apps on that big a screen. It feels luxurious.
  6. The screen, while beautiful, is shiny and reflective. It's practically a mirror for whatever is around me when I'm looking at it. It looks great in a darkened room but god help you if you open a curtain. I won't be taking this sucker out of the house for outdoor web surfing much.
  7. The apps that weren't built in by Apple are, predictably, inconsistent. Very few look or act different than the iPhone (ie., they don't take advantage of the extra screen size). Since no one could get a hold of these things before Saturday, I won't hold that against them... it's just fair warning to others who are tempted to be a "bleeding edge technology buyer". There's not much there just yet.
  8. The apps that are iPad specific are noticeably more expensive than your average iPhone app. I like to spend a dollar or two on iPhone apps and typically don't have any trouble with that. The iPad apps were clocking in at between five and ten dollars. That's a big red flag for me. Yeah, I bought a new device but don't let that imply that I'm now going to be willing to cough up that much extra money for apps. I'm still the cheapskate I was a week ago.
  9. The movie that Mike bought and downloaded from the iTunes store was GORGEOUS. The movie that I had ripped from one of my existing DVDs for my iPhone looked notably less so. It wasn't awful, but it was pixelated and "crunchy" on the edges. I'm going to have to re-rip all of my DVDs... and they'll be larger in size. That's annoying since the device has rather limited memory and zero options for expansion.
  10. The streaming movie from Netflix was surprisingly nice... even over our crappy wireless home network. That was a very pleasant surprise and helped to temper the annoyance generated by the previous observation.
  11. I haven't had a chance to really spend time with a book, but the ebook app is comfortable to look at. I had some trouble with third-party ebook apps that I'm kind of wondering about.
  12. Mike and I had this crazy idea that we could kind of share the thing. We can't. We have to choose an iTunes account which means one of us doesn't get the apps we want. The limited memory means I can't have my ridiculous amount of music and movies loaded, and he needs to lay off the high-rez photographs. It's not really a good device for sharing. I'm sure it was engineered that way.

I'm glad we got it. It isn't going to change my life the way my iPhone did... but I think I'll find a place -- a netbook-shaped place -- for it in my daily life.

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