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Life With iPad: The First 24 Hours

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The long, overdue wait for the iPad was finally met with the usual long lines and anticipated excitement of early adopters and frenzied Mac fanatics. In that April 3rd crowd was yours truly and I must say, after owning Apple’s magical tablet for one complete day, I am so excited about what this new category of device holds for personal computing.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to give you some of my initial thoughts about how Apple managed to make a believer out of me. The first thing you realize when you take the iPad out of its box is how well the engineers at Apple have constructed the device. It has the solid look of the Macbook Pro’s with the aluminum finish and the gorgeous glass touch screen. At 1.5 lbs, it has a good amount of weight but doesn’t border on being hefty. You’ll definitely feel like you spent a good penny on it as it doesn’t feel cheap in the hand.

Right out of the box, you’ll find the iPad itself, AC adapter and a USB cable similar to the one you already have if you own an iPhone or iPod. You’ll need to supply your own white earbuds if you want to enjoy your music or movies in stereo as Apple doesn’t provide you one this time around. But you’ll notice the built in speakers are actually quite loud with good bass and sound output.

What makes the iPhone so popular is its incredible ease of use. Whether you’re reading articles online or watching a movie or listening to music, the touch based gestures makes those activities so simple and for that reason has made the platform so successful. Take that simplicity to the iPad and you have an experience that new iPad owners cannot stop raving about.

The iPad is snappy. The new processor makes this thing fly. Screen swipes are fast. Screen orientation switches to landscape and portrait are fluid and fast and the touchscreen interface is amazing. Pinching and zooming out of your favorite websites is a blast and makes web surfing via touch so natural.

And that screen. It’s so bright and vibrant. Watching movies is great as well as viewing your pictures. The HD quality display brings out all of the detail in your photo albums and will definitely be a great way to share photos when friends come over.

How about that keyboard? It’s been widely criticized on the iPhone and now the iPad that you can’t be productive on a virtual screen’s keyboard. The iPad does offer two configurations for keying in your text whether it be in portrait or landscape. Portrait is good with thumbs although if you have small hands, it can be a bit of a reach. Landscape provides a much more spacious laptop like experience and is almost the size of a full net book size keyboard. By comparison, the length of Apple’s wireless keyboard which you can use to pair via Bluetooth to the iPad is 7.2 inches. The virtual iPad keyboard in landscape is 7 inches. Pretty darn close and is pretty functional. As a matter of fact, I am using my iPad in this exact configuration to produce this blog entry using the iPad’s WordPress app. And it’s totally doable.

The big question some may have with the iPad is where it all fits into your computing life. Sure, it’s better than using a smartphone but it’s not quite a laptop with missing features like a webcam, multitasking and lack of flash support. To address those criticisms:

  • Camera: Would’ve been nice and will inevitably be a part of a second generation product, especially when 4G data is available next year making it even more accessible for video chats on the go.
  • Multitasking: iPod music functionality and email sync’ing like on the iPhone are available in terms of operating with other applications but if you want to open up multiple apps, you’re out of luck…for now. iPhone OS 4.0 is set to debut later this spring and the big rumor is multitasking will make its way to the platform.
  • Flash: This has been a big bone of contention with Apple and the rest of the world when it comes to this popular video plug in. Flash enables video and graphic animations on many of the popular websites and if you try to view them on the iPad, you’ll end up in a bunch of hurt because they don’t play. The good news is the internet is listening and many of those sites have begun embracing the less resource-hogging video standard HTML5. Sites like CNN, Time, ESPN and YouTube have all switched to HTML5 and the videos run perfect. For the rest of the sites, be patient. Apple’s influence is being heeded and the growth in the adoption of this device will be a cause for change.

In terms of replacing that old laptop of yours for the iPad, you’ll have to ask yourself several questions. Do you need a computer for web browsing, consuming media like music and video and performing simple office tasks like creating documents? The iPad can work for you. It’s really the best simple computer you can have and I can see a use case for a lot of users that don’t require computing power for editing video or complex gaming. In the time I’ve spent with it, reading the newspaper online, watching youtube videos and creating this blog entry were easy to do and I didn’t ever feel the need to open up my MacBook Pro.

In terms of apps, there are several must have standouts. Netflix streaming is amazing. The entire stream on demand library is available and they look awesome on the HD quality screen. Newspapers like the NYTimes and Wall Street Journal are a dream to read on the iPad. I certainly hope the publishers realize the potential of this platform and begin offering decent subscriptions for digital reading. Saving trees and saving money is good for everyone. And games like Real Racing HD and Plants V. Zombies are incredibly fun and a big time waster.

We all know Apple’s success with the iPhone platform has been the enormous success of the App Store and with the iPad, all 150,000 + apps are available at your disposal. That’s an amazing leveraging tool for a new device category. The built in utilities and available apps makes the iPad even more powerful and with many more apps to come from the imagination of developers, the future success of the iPad is all but guaranteed.

In just over a day with my iPad, I have to say Apple has done an incredible job bringing the tablet to the masses. Bill Gates unsuccessfully tried to do it 10 years ago because the software wasn’t simple enough on the Tablet PC. iPad’s strength is an elegant OS that anyone can pick up and an install base of apps that makes your tablet a multi functional device. And with Apple’s knack for creating the most cutting edge and beautiful looking hardware, it’s no wonder this company’s stock continues to soar.

Doubters can continue to doubt but I say a computing revolution has started because of the iPad. Consuming your media has never been easier and the elegance of iPhone OS will continue to attract technophobic users like no computing device has been able to do.


Written by kietchieng

April 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm

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