first thoughts on the ipad

| No Comments

We acquired a 16GB WiFi iPad for my lab last week, for use in prototyping and sharing in meetings. I took possession of it at 11am on Wednesday, and left on a 48 hour trip to San Francisco that afternoon, so I got a chance to put the device through its paces on a long trip.

The verdict? It is, quite possibly, the best traveling gadget I've ever owned. Perfect for books, videos, catching up on email, posting tweets, checking Facebook, and playing games.

I brought my iPhone and my MacBook Pro on the trip as well. It's the first time that I haven't had my phone run out of battery on the first day of a trip (due to game playing and book reading and music listening on it while traveling). More remarkably, I only used my laptop once on the trip--to prep and then present my Powerpoint slides on Thursday morning. In fact, if there were a good way to present from the iPad version of Keynote (it would need to support a remote control), I could probably skip bringing the laptop entirely on many trips.

On the down side, it's not a great tool for getting real work done--I'm typing this review on my laptop, for instance. There are two primary reasons for this.

First, the onscreen keyboard is completely insufficient for text-heavy work. Yes, I could set up the iPad on a desk and connect my bluetooth keyboard, but that's a lot more awkward than sitting in my recliner with a computer on my lap.

Second, the lack of multiple windows and multitasking is crippling for anything other than the most basic email replies. I need to be able to switch between documents and messages and web pages. If Google Docs worked in a web browser, that would help, but right now the only way to work with my Word and Google based docs is by using a dedicated app (Office2HD) which can't run at the same time as a browser.

A review of the iPad in The Atlantic included the following line, which I think is right on target: "The netbook is a work machine on which you can procrastinate. The iPad is a procrastination machine on which you can work, especially if work mostly involves catching up on email."

I'd have to agree with that assessment. I definitely prefer the iPad to the Asus EEE PC I got last summer, and can absolutely see taking it as my only computing device on trips where I don't have a lot of significant content-creation work to do. But it's not going to replace my laptop anytime in the foreseeable future.

(The next post will be a discussion of the apps that have made the best first impressions on me.)

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on May 8, 2010 1:01 PM.

links for 2010-04-26 was the previous entry in this blog.

favorite ipad apps, week one is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Category Archives