So we’ve owned an iPad for a few weeks now, and I’ve had plenty of time to get acquainted with the little slab. As a review of sorts, I’ll offer some impressions in bullet list form.
- It’s useful in ways that I hadn’t expected, and not so useful in ways I had hoped it would be. You can’t really form a complete opinion on the iPad, however, if you haven’t used one for a few days to see how it fits your everyday life.
- The virtual keyboard works amazingly well, especially for my six-finger typing system. I can type almost as quickly as on the netbook’s physical keyboard. If you’re a touch typist, however, it may not work so well for you, due to the complete lack of tactile feedback or finger-indexing features.
- Thanks to the backlit screen that is also the ultimate backlit keyboard, the iPad is just about the best device for surfing the Intertubes in bed with the lights off.
- It’s a lot more sturdy than you’d think a device this size with a glass screen could be.
- The interface is so intuitive that even little kids take to it like ducks to water. I got a few games for Quinn and Lyra, and the touchscreen is so easy to figure out that the kids needed absolutely no instruction beyond demonstrating an initial drag and drop. There’s no tech barrier between user and application, which is a huge deal for kids and elderly people. As an assistive technology, the iPad has a ludicrous amount of potential.
- The size is perfect: small enough to be easily portable, and big enough to be useful.
- Movies look spectacular on that screen, and surfing the web on the touchscreen is the most fun way to go about it without a doubt. Media consumption is where the iPad blows the doors off every other piece of consumer technology out there.
- The iPad makes a crappy iPod because you have to hold it, or put it on a flat surface. You can’t just stick it in a pocket like an iPod. It does, however, have a really good external speaker for such a small device, so you can set it down on the desk or counter to listen to stuff while you do other things.
- Connectivity kind of sucks at the moment, being limited to emailing stuff over WiFi. I could bang out fiction on the iPad, something I’d never consider doing on the iPod touch, but the inability to get files off and onto the iPad easily keeps me from using it more often in that capacity. I synchronize my desktop Mac and the netbook with DropBox, but the iOS DropBox app only supports read access. Once they have file synchronization licked, it’ll actually be a viable option for writing work on the go–the onscreen keyboard works very well, and the iPad can be paired up with external Bluetooth keyboards.
- Battery life is very, very good. Watching a full-length movie drops the cell from 100% to 85% or so. I can use the iPad all day long off and on, browsing the web and running various apps, and the battery will still be at 40-50% in the evening.
- It’s a lot of fun to use. There’s absolutely nothing like it on the market. Saying it’s a netbook without a keyboard doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s everything I like about the iPod touch, only with three times the screen diagonal. It starts instantaneously, doesn’t run hot, and has a much superior direct user interface. The netbook wins by a mile when it comes to connectivity and application compatibility, but the iPad has the edge in ease of use, cool factor, and media playback.
Overall, I like the little slab a lot. Give me a decent word processing app and the ability to synchronize my .rtf files with DropBox, and I could even see taking it out for writing work on occasion. As things stand, it’s a killer media player and Intertubes device, and a very slick piece of technology. The longer I play with it, the more I like it, despite its few shortcomings.