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Reading is delightful on the iPad – The iPad Review – Quick Analysis

iPad itself

I’d gladly use an iPad everyday in addition to a real computer, but it’s too expensive to justify.


The iPad is fun device, great for reading and tedious for writing. I could see paying $100, even $200 for it, but the current pricing (“starting at $499”) makes it an expensive toy. Otherwise, that cash would be better put towards a real computer, like a MacBook Air.

The hardware is fantastic, and certain sites and apps like Google Reader and Twitterific are made better on the iPad.

Consuming Content is Cozy

Google Reader in particular is fantastic to use if, like me, you read a large volume of items: the ability to quickly scan a pad-screen full of items and move on to the next batch after reading the rare interesting item is more productive on the iPad than a laptop or iPhone.

Like all new Apple devices, once you have an iPad you can’t keep your hands off it. I found myself going to App Store hoping to find apps so I’d have an excuse to use the iPad more.

For personal, consumer use, the iPad is one of the most delicious computers you’ll have ever used. The iPad is fast, has a crisp display, and using multi-touch instead of mouse and keyboard is like swimming instead of walking in a hot day.

When you open up Netflix and just start clicking to watch video on demand (Faulty Towers, in my case) it all comes together. And surfing the web on the iPad is so much better that doing it on a traditional computer. Apple coyly hides all those little blue boxes so you don’t notice the lack of flash.

The battery life is like no other computer I’ve used before: in the two days I used the fully charges iPad, i only plugged it in once for about 30 minutes to sync with my iTunes, not really charge. When I gave it back to Charles, the battery was around 30%.

Even the tin-toned speakers make a suitable jam-box for casual music listening.

From a consumer perspective, the iPad is near perfect. If you don’t mind the high price, you’ll love it.

At the office

Playing with Charles' iPad

For pro use, you’re better off with a laptop. The core info-worker tasks of writing emails, scheduling meetings, editing documents and presentations, and other text wrangling around business processes and organizational decision making is pretty poor on the iPad. Reading email is great. Reading documents is a pleasure. Viewing we pages is relaxing. But once that little touch keyboard comes up, things get awkward.

That said: I’ve gotten used to doing many of these things on my iPhone, cramped touch keyboard and all. The iPhone is worth every precious penny. I’m typing the first draft of this on my iPhone, in Evernote. In theory, I could get used to the iPad keyboard. I got used to the traditional keyboard, a terribly unnatural device.

A bright spot for writing on the iPad is spellcheck: unlike the iPhone, the iPad has red squigglies which I find one of the best technologies for writing.

If you don’t have to do more than write emails, schedule a few meetings, and just look at documents, the iPad would work well as a travel computer. But even the simple task of taking notes is trying: better to use paper and pen instead of the iPad. If only I was in read-only camp, I could cut down my luggage by half by getting rid of my laptop bag.

Much more could be typed about a device like the iPad: just like any computer, there’s lots of little nuanced corners to explore. (For example, in idle mode the iPad can become a top notch digital frame if you prop it up right.) The iPad is a device I’d love to have, but I’d never want to pay for it.

(Thanks to Charles and The Frontside for the iPad loaner! Also, see a set of screenshots and photos of my iPad testing.)

Disclosure: Adobe is a client, as is Microsoft, and other folks who’re concerned about the success and failure of Apple.

Categories: Quick Analysis, RIA, The New Thing.

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Comment Feed

5 Responses

  1. Did you try using a bluetooth keyboard?

    DannoApril 8, 2010 @ 4:48 am
  2. Danno: no, but I’d wanted to. I’d actually typed up in a longer version that while it’d be kind of silly to carry around a keyboard, the Apple wireless one is pretty small now-a-days. Charles and me will try it out with a stand.

  3. Hey, Michael – since you’re a british comedy fan, did you know the whole IT Crowd is on netflix?

    Ken RimpleApril 9, 2010 @ 5:53 am
  4. Ken: I saw that in there! I haven’t checked out The IT Crowd yet, but I know I definitely need to. I’ll have to put that in my brain for viewing next!

Continuing the Discussion