Apple iPad Web/Tech

Some Thoughts on the iPad

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been using my new iPad in a number of different settings – and have some definite thoughts on where it plays really, really well – and where it doesn’t. Here we go…with the two extremes based on my experience.

iPad Plays Really Well – I recently traveled from SFO to JFK and back on Virgin America – whose optional AirCell wireless works reasonably well cross-country. Let’s just say that it’s not a speed demon (try downloading a new iPad app from the App Store enroute!) – but for basic email, browsing, etc. it works great on the iPad. Both going and coming, the only device in my hands was the iPad.

My iPhone stayed in my pocket – why wouldn’t you opt instead for the huge iPad screen as your content consumption device?

My MacBook Pro stayed in my backpack – even in Virgin’s economy section there’s just not enough room for a 15-inch screen to be used comfortably.

But, with the iPad, even basic email tasks are handled with ease – without the physical constraints. For this kind of travel – on a wifi-equipped airline like Virgin America – the iPad works really well. It’s really “all you need” enroute!

iPad Plays Poorly – When I’m at home – and my MacBook Pro is nearby, it’s the ultimate content creation machine for me. The iPad doesn’t come close – even though many of the basics are present on the iPad. It sort of feels like the days of the TRS-80 Model 100 – which I used to read CompuServe forums back in the good old days – but which wasn’t capable of much else.

As an example, I had a flurry of reading this morning – a typical Sunday morning. Using Safari on the MacBook, I was able to read, decide whether to tweet a story, if so – invoke to post the tweet quickly and get right back to reading.

Along the way, I might decide to save a text copy to Instapaper for reading later (by the way, I’ve recently become totally addicted to Instapaper – but that’s another story!) That straightforward workflow just isn’t possible – yet – on the iPad. On the iPad, there’s too much back and forth through the Home button, selecting different Safari windows (oh how I miss Tabs on the iPad version of Safari!), etc. According to the recent iPhone 4.0 announcement, the iPad will get some new support in the fall – look forward to seeing how those enhancements might enhance my workflow. Meanwhile, there’s an on-going role in my heavy content-creation world for the laptop!

Comparison of iPad to Kindle – That said, it is a very funny feeling to go from working on an iPad for several hours to picking up a Kindle 2 and trying to read! Immediately, the lack of the touchscreen on the Kindle screams out at you! You get over it quickly – the TRS-80 Model 100 comes to mind again!

That said, the Kindle iPad app that Amazon has provided is great – allowing me to access all of my Kindle purchased books on the iPad. It’s very efficient, very easy to use, works just like you’d expect it to work.

But, what’s especially irritating about the Kindle and about to result in my canceling a couple of subscriptions (New York Times, Washington Post) is the lack of periodical support on the Kindle iPad (or iPhone) app. One of these days Amazon will wise up and make periodicals available across a user’s devices in the same way that purchased books are available today. In the interim, paying to subscribe to periodicals on the Kindle just doesn’t make sense.

How about you? How are you and iPad getting along? Share you comments below!

2 replies on “Some Thoughts on the iPad”

Absolutely agree that iPad does the trick for maybe 70% of computer chores like email and casual surfing. It also presents new possibilities – e.g. it’ the first kitchen computer that I actually use (thank you Epicurious) after trying a netbook and a laptop.
One-handed typist that I am, I am not much slower creating or editing text on the iPad than on a laptop.
My biggest issue is photo handling, although I am using an Eye-Fi card and Flickr to do my blog lately. I would love to have an iPad-compatible Lightroom or Photoshop in the cloud, however

Hi Scott, my experience is that the external keyboard is worth the cost, though a bit of a hassle to carry around. I haven’t tried the blue tooth, keyboard, but that might be even better since it is more portable.

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