Saturday, April 10th, 2010 | 3:38 pm and filed in Gear.
Preordering an iPad was a no brainer for me. I will admit that I had heard rumors about certain issues which made me a little nervous about being an early adopter, but the fanboy-slash-tech geek in me could not resist. I’ve had a few days to play with apple’s “magical” new device, and I will say that once it’s been customized, it is an incredible device.
First thing out of the box, I noticed that it operates much faster compared to the iPhone 3GS: navigation, launching apps and web browsing are blazing fast. The first app i downloaded was iBooks to see how the store and reader functioned. I tried reading in one of my favorite positions - laying on my back. The weight of the iPad isn’t bad, but holding on to the frame while fully reclined is difficult. In order to support the iPad, I have to hold my thumb over the touch screen which sends errant commands to flip or foldover the page in the application. Finally i discovered a way to position my thumb along the bottom and my index finger on the left edge. In any seated position, it works great, but laying back, it’s a two handed process. One nice feature is the position lock switch which keeps the display in either the portrait or landscape mode - this is needed on the iPhone.
It is indeed true that the published content is still limited, but this will change and I look forward to subscribing to some periodicals so that I don’t have to archive or dispose of old issues of magazines. I really like the BBC News App which has thoughtful navigation and quicktime implementation of the video. Along the same lines, Pandora has made great use of the increased screen area by displaying song and artist information for your stations.
One of the main reasons I wanted a portable reader was to have a way to carry around PDFs. Rather than store these files in emails, a couple of commercial apps are available. PDFReader HD works ok… So far it’s the only one that will open the Record Manual without a problem. Another one that I like is MobileStudio which operates as a little file system on the iPad and you can transfer any type of document via an FTP client. The transfer speeds into Mobile Studio are blazing fast, and some transfers cruised as high as 3,000 kbps. However, MobileStudio has problems opening extremely large PDF files like the Record manual.
I also installed the iWork applications to see if the device could be used in some productive fashion. I do find the abbreviated keyboard annoying. Even after a few days it’s still hard for me to find any comfort touch typing on the panel. They keys are about the same size and spacing as a normal keyboard, but the right hand punctuation keys are missing, and the [return] button is placed where the [;] key normally sits. Also, I find it difficult not to rest my fingers on the keyboard, so I’ve resigned to the tradition hunt ‘n peckr method. The external keyboard option is something to consider.
The other day, I was out and did not have internet access on the iPad, and started to realize that the device is certainly lacks without a highspeed wifi connection. I would say that it’s half useless without some kind of network connection. If you have a lot of apps, books, music, and video loaded then it’s a fairly complete system.
So as far as music application go, I think we all know how powerful this device will be. I’ve done some early tests with TouchOSC as MIDI control surface and have been extremely surprised by the responsiveness over a wifi network. A couple of fun apps that have yet to be ported to the iPad format are technoBox and Jasuto. You can zoom in on iPhone/iPod Touch apps and take advantage of the increased screen real estate, but the graphics are aliased. However, find that even with the low res graphics, the usability of these music apps is greatly increased with the speed and larger interface - especially for those of us who have fat fingers
Is the iPad worth it? If iPhone Safari had flash it would definitely be worth it to everyone because watching video is really great on the iPad. It’s unfortunate that we can’t log into hulu and catch up on some tv shows. As a stand alone version, the iPad is more of an entertainment unit rather than a productivity device, so you will have to shell out some money for apps and books to make it really appealing. For those of us who are seeking some application for the device other than surfing and emailing, the touch screen technology is certainly worth the price of admission. I’m 93.14159% sure that I will upgrade to the 3G iPad, because the experience is much better with some kind of connectivity.