iPad

OK… I Confess…

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

I tried not to, really. I’m serious. I wanted to dislike the iPad. But I was curious. So I went to the Apple store to look at one, to see what it was like. Rats! I really liked it.

So here I sit flying some 30,000 feet over the US on the way to Canada blogging on the iPad. I’ll use this post to write about some of the things I like and dislike about the device. (It is not without issues! But it is a first generation product.)

Probably the thing I like the most about it is how long the battery lasts. When Apple said the battery life was 9 hours (or whatever they said it was) I just thought it was more of their usual hyperbolic marketing department reality distortion field nonsense. Well, good heavens, this battery lasts longer than that, even when using the bluetooth keyboard and wireless!

The increased battery life is beautifully complemented by the device’s extreme portability. It’s small and wonderfully lite. But it is so much larger than the iPhone that using this touchscreen is delightful. I even have no issue at all with the size of the keyboard in landscape mode. I can type really quickly, probably about as fast as I would on a normal keyboard.

I’ve read others complain that they have issues with resting their fingers on the keys. I guess I’ve never done that; I tend to poke and peck; so, that’s not been an issue for me.

I do get somewhat annoyed that I don’t have directional keys. Carefully touching the text to reposition the cursor is a drag. I’ve missed the Tab key as well the other specialty keys. I use them a lot for text navigation. I’m also one of those people who actually uses the number pad, and I miss it!

And a final complaint about the keyboard: I think the keys move around too much from application to application based on what someone thinks you’re going to need in the moment. I find this just confusing enough to slow me down, not speed me up.

Those apps that are specifically written for the iPad are vastly better than the same ones for the iPhone/iPod Touch—at least the ones I use. They have generally made excellent use of the additional screen real estate. However, I greatly feel the need now for multitasking!

The device is so well suited for tasks now that make the multitasking a very very desirable feature. For example: As I type this, I hear an email arrive. I have to save and exit this application to open Mail. Bummer. First generation products have issues. I don’t know if it’s hardware or software, but sometimes weird things happen. For example: some applications kill the iPod playing in the background. Odd. When importing Keynotes from my desktop into Keynote on the iPad, files have some serious issues as the feature set of the desktop application equivalents have a vastly richer feature set. (For example: Can I even add special fonts to the iPad? I doubt it.)

Those iPod Touch/iPhone applications that have yet to be specifically redesigned for the iPad have that ugly expanded mode. I’m fairly confident that will be addressed by the application developers. I’ve also come across two different applications, one even specifically written for the iPad, that will not let me paste clipboard information into a text field. I need to let the software engineers know about this.

The UI of the device gets in my way at times. For example: things are not always in a predictable location from application to application. But, even worse, sometimes UI elements are completely unavailable in landscape orientation—even in Apple’s applications! This makes learning applications with an already limited feature set more frustrating when you think a feature doesn’t even exist, but it really does—just in the orientation in which you’re not working!

Of course, my biggest gripe about the device is the lack of a camera. This really annoys me with Apple. This device would otherwise be great for video conferencing. No USB or FireWire ports.

I’m being forced to go through some weird incantations with iTunes to get documents onto the device for Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. And the three aforementioned applications pale in comparison to their desktop counterparts.

Content creation on the device is exceedingly limited. I currently can’t create movies or screen casts. I can’t edit Google documents in the Mobile Safari browser.

And how on earth does one easily get the iPod music to shuffle? I figured it out, but can it get any more arcane?

I’m sure I will find many other quirks. So, with all of these pesky little issues, why do I like my iPad so? For the tasks I do most frequently, especially the ones I need to do when traveling, checking email, Twitter, browsing the Internet, listening to music, et. al., my laptop is far more limited.

My laptop lid gets smashed when the person sitting in front of me on the airplane leans his/her seat back. The iPad doesn’t. I have to then work in this weird contorted position to see the screen because the seats are too damned close together. This isn’t an issue with the iPad.

My laptop battery will last maybe 2 – 3 hours in flight. I frequently take 4 -5 hour coast-to-coast flights. My laptop battery would already be dead by now on this flight. (I’ve eaten lunch and run a few “errands” during this post.) And this flight doesn’t have electrical outlets in business class. Typical.

Well, I could keep writing, but this post is already too long, and we’re about to land. — Posted From My iPad

Location: Glumack Dr,Fort Snelling,United States