After being originally unsure if would purchase an iPad, the Early Adopter in me over came sense and I found myself queuing outside the Apple Store at 8:30 on the day of release!
Having now spent 24 hours with it, I’m initially impressed. The interface, as with the iPhone is great and easy to use. The larger screen makes viewing webpages and text content much easier on the eye. The key development in functionality is the keyboard, it is easy to type on with two hands, this will make the device much more functional as a note taker for meetings.
As with the iPhone the Apps are the thing that make it, obviously at this early stage there isn’t the quantity as as yet, but those I have used are good, with this blog post being written on the WordPress App. However all my previously downloaded iPhone Apps work well on the iPad, with the ability to double the size if them on the iPad screen (in some cases making them easier to use) and for those that do have iPad version upgrades are free, the best of these being Evernote, the iPad interface for this service is superb and may even negate the need to purchase iWork’s Pages.
There are many Apps that take advantage of the touch screen for drawing and note taking, my favourite of these being Penultimate. Penultimate enables you to make hand written notes and organises them nicely in to ‘Moleskin’ style notebooks.
There are lots of fun and educational Apps, the highlight of these so far being Star Walk, an App that shows you a map of the night sky where you are standing, highlighting constellations and heavenly bodies of interest that are above your head. A nice feature being it fixes to the compass direction you are facing and spins on the screen as you turn.
In terms of social networking and other Cloud service Apps there are some noticeable absences especially Facebook, this isn’t a huge problem as the web interface through Safari is the same as the desktop version. Twitter has a good presence in the iPad App Store, I have elected to go for Tweetdeck, which has a great interface showing all your interactions (followings, @mentions and direct messages) all at once. I’d really like to see a delicious or social bookmarking App to make managing websites on the iPad easier.
My only criticism of Apps thus far is the Price! They are a lot more expensive than their iPhone equivalent, making the ability to dabble and dispose less.
One of my main reasons for purchasing the iPad was to use it as an eBook reader, iBook the iPads eBook manager is good. The bookstore has a range of paid books, however I hope this improves and includes more household titles and authors. Nevertheless the Bookstore has a lot of free books from the Gutenberg library and the classic literature will keep me going for some time. Also I was pleased to see a free Amazon Kindle App that will enable books in this format to be read on the iPad, the number of UK titles available is limited at the moment, but I’m sure this will grow with time.
In terms of multimedia the iTunes interface is is clean and functional, but this doesn’t come as a surprise. The most pleasing element of multimedia is video, appearing in full HD clarity and easily viewable from a few feet away from the device. Streaming video is also hugely improve compared to the iPhone with YouTube and BBC iPlayer content looking superb and downloading/processing much faster than on the iPhone, meaning a lot less of those annoying breaks in playback.
However to finish this blog post I think the best testimonial for the iPad has come from my technophobic Mum. I gave her a iPod Touch for Christmas and see has never got to grips with it, struggling with the size of the screen and keyboard etc. Last night she spent over 3 hours on the iPad browsing the web for her summer holiday. She said it was easy to use and the keyboard and the interactivity was much better for her. Well done Steve Jobs, she’s a hard person to please!