The one reader of my blog knows that I’m a big fan of Apple products. I’m usually not an early adopter but I knew that I was not going to back in the States for a little while after this trip and I was jonesing for a iPad. Although the exchange rate is improving, it is still more economical to buy the unit is the US. So I did. I wanted to buy the 32GB model with WiFi only, but they only had the 64GB model in the Apple Store. So I got the MaxiPad (a worn out joke of course).
So what do I think? In the long run, I think this thing could have serious educational and industrial applications. I know immediately how I could use it at work. With the right Apps it could be a great tool for our team. Enough said about my work. I also see immediate medical applications as well. Can you imagine pulling up X-rays or lab results on the screen and sharing it with a patient? It would be like a typical chart, only much more versatile (with the right App).
I haven’t really gone all in yet, as my main computer is in Nagoya and I didn’t want to get a bunch of Apps that I had to buy on my laptop while traveling. I had the patience to wait until I got back to Japan. So I don’t know the full extent of the iPad yet. I found it very convenient though for some things. I wanted to review some lab work that my Doctor emailed to me without any explanation. I was sitting in an airport waiting to board, so I accessed my email, pulled up the PDF of my lab work, then went to a couple different internet sites to do a little research. Very convenient. I could have used my iPhone as well, but the screen area just doesn’t compare.
I checked out the iBookstore as well and I give it a so-so, or as Aunt Linda would say, “I give it a, “Are you kidding me?” and three, “My DOG could design a better site.” Sheesh.” I think Apple needs to make browsing the bookstore and movie store as easy as it is to find a book or DVD on amazon.com. For some reason I have trouble browsing the iBookstore for books and iTunes for movies. They just are not well organized. And the genres are too narrow.
I downloaded a couple of sample books. I think it will take a while to get accustomed to the backlit screen. Nothing will ever be able to replace a physical book, or so I say now, but it does show promise as a reader. I have never used a Kindle, so I can’t make a direct comparison. Turning a page is easy, highlighting text is a breeze as is bookmarking.
One thing that articles (sorry, can’t recall my source) have stated and I discussed with others is that the iPad is more like TV than a computer. In other words, it is not a device where you do a lot of creative work. I think it is more than a TV because you can actively seek information, but it is primary a one direction flow of data and content. The iPad brings content to you. You will still, in general, need to give content back through a computer. I am NOT writing this on my iPad, I’m using my computer. It is much easier.
I found I could not find a comfortable position initially to hold the iPad. I wanted to buy the Apple iPad Case when I originally got the iPad but of course they were sold out. I was chatting with a friend of mine who works at Apple and has been using an iPad a LOT longer than any of us regular consumers and he said the case really helps. I finally bought a case and agree. It made it easier to handle. The profile is thin enough that it doesn’t seem obtrusive. However, a word of caution, with the case on the iPad, it is hard to fit into a protective sleeve (in my case, the Incase sleeve). Also, it will not fit on the docking station with the Apple iPad Case. There are a lot of disgruntled notes about this on the review page for the dock.
I rented a movie in HD to watch on the airplane flying back from the States. Interestingly, I rented, “Up in the Air.” I was, gasp, flying coach on Delta, so my entertainment choices were limited. As a matter of fact, very limited since some Delta Executive’s tweener kid got to pick two-thirds of the movies and chose “Twilight – New Moon” and “17 Again.” Lots of eye candy but I didn’t listen. Anyway, on the way to the US I watched a movie on my iPhone. It was definitely small. Watching a movie on a plane on the iPad was great. I rented in HD and the colors and resolution were fantastic. Really clear image, and quite appropriately sized. And best of all, no moving parts like a DVD drive in a computer, and no bulky keyboard to get in the way. The case converted into a stand was very useful.
I haven’t been to the App Store in a few days, so I would imagine the number of iPad Apps are increasing every day. Some of the Apps that I love on my iPhone that would benefit from the additional real estate of the iPad are not available yet. I’m sure they will be soon. If there are any students of Japanese reading this deep into my blog, I strongly recommend the App called, “Japanese.” It is a great reference.
Finally, like the iPhone, the interface is intuitive. This really became obvious as my 3 year 8 month old niece picked it up and was able to use it immediately. Of course, she uses her Mom’s iPhone – so much so in fact that her Mom had to password lock her out!
I think I will like it in the long run. All my Apple Geek friends love theirs, of course. And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I do own Apple stock.