I have been using my iPad ever since it arrived in my office on Monday. My expectations were fairly high as I read through the reviews from the weekend before. On the whole, I think Apple has achieved what they set out to do. The iPad delivers on being a lightweight, long battery life, always on, work-and-play device. It is at it’s best online. The iPad is inherently a net device. When offline, most of the apps except for games are hobbled. (Warning: I love my gadgets.)
So here are a few of my observations:
Screen - The LCD is brilliant and beautiful. While I am going to leave scratch tests to PC Magazine labs and others, I will say that I definitely need to travel with a small soft cloth to clean off fingerprints.
Battery - Battery life is great. Yesterday, I turned it on at 8am and was still at 36% at 3pm. After a full day of email, note taking, tweet reading and browsing. I finally had to charge it at 11PM.
Speed - Whoosh >>>> The iPad is downright speedy. Once you have tried it, the iPhone will soon look like a horse and carriage.
Safari browser - I agree with the pundits: This is the killer app and is potentially a game changer. Most web sites look amazing. Of course, I had to check out two of my own: Nature.com and ScientificAmerican.com. They look really sharp and immediately useful. It makes me rethink the whole concept of custom content apps on this device. Unless you are going to add real value, I recommend just cleaning up your website and make it simply work better. If you want some good examples, try the free apps from BBC News, USA Today, and NPR.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get bookmarklets to work in the iPad’s Safari, so useful things like Sidewiki and Connotea will need to be replaced or made more iPad friendly.
Productivity - Nice slick changes to Calendar and Mail. Love the PDF and PPT attachment previewer. However, I will be on the lookout for an annotation app. Now that I can easily view attachments, I want to mark them up and send them back!
I wish there were arrow keys on the virtual keyboard for Notes and other text editors. It would make the editing process so much better. Cut, copy, and paste is still harder than it needs to be. This whole piece was written on the iPad using Notes, and it could have been a bit easier. There is a hidden “undo” key that is uncovered by hitting the number key and “redo” appears when you click numbers then symbols. I cannot figure out how to control what gets autotyped or autocorrected. Also, Notes will sometimes turn on the caps key without me noticing. Perhaps my hands were hovering too close to the keyboard?
The iPad is a great device for answering emails as long as you have a place to prop it up. I did not buy the Apple foam cover. So far, I have been successful with using almost anything at hand to prop it up: book, closed Macbook, Blackberry, or iPhone in their sleeves. In landscape mode, the keyboard is a very nice size. I can easily type with two hands and multiple fingers. I am disappointed that Mail can only show 200 messages though. Perhaps I should just clean up my Inbox.
So I broke down, spent the $10 and bought Keynote. I have not yet done an in-depth analysis. It can read in PPT files but does not support Windows TrueType fonts (Wingdings, etc.) so some corruption occurs. Keynote can only export to Keynote or PDF formats. More testing to be done here.
Multi-tasking - It’s a shame that the iPad can’t multitask between non-Apple apps. In truth, if they just let me stream Pandora music in the background while using any other app, I would be happy. Perhaps the multitasking for the new iPhone OS 4.0 announced yesterday will help down the road. It would also be useful to be able to flip between two or three apps. Currently, you have to go back to the home screen each time you want to switch.
Adobe Flash support - It’s a shame Apple won’t support Flash. Without it, all Flash-enabled web site developers will have to do quite a bit of work to make their flash features work properly within the iPad’s Safari.
Overall – Always be sure to try out your iPad apps in landscape mode. Many apps have different functionality that magically appears.
So am I happy? Yes for now. I am glad my company has invested in a few of them. However at the moment it is probably about $200 too expensive. Once this wireless iPad can sell for $299 then we may really see them everywhere!
Please send me your own discoveries!