Saturday, May 29, 2010

iPad Reflections, Week 2

I am left a little more disenchanted after the second week of my iPad experiment than I was after the first. Further observations:

  • There is a noticeable dearth of quality iPad-optimized applications in the App Store. No iPad optimized Facebook (though AIM for iPad with its Lifestream feature is a decent alternative). Similarly, no Blogger support (either an app or a version of the Blogger web client that works on the iPad).
  • The Gmail iPad interface is quite well designed but performs poorly. The Inbox doesn't refresh properly half the time when you navigate back to the page and often gets into some weird loop where it keeps redirecting until Safari finally barfs.
  • Not really great for using on a bus. It's just hard to use without sufficient elbow room, so if there's anyone next to you, you're constantly clocking them in the ribs or contorting your body and fingers into odd positions.
  • The heaviness bothers me more and more. It really makes the difference between a go-to device you can use at will and something you have to dedicate yourself to using, and it's really not functional enough to rival something like a laptop if you're going that far.
  • I've fallen into a nice pattern of leaving my laptop in the office and carting the iPad home with me at night to do email, web and document reviewing at home at night. It's nice not to have to lug my MacBook home every night, but there's no way I would attempt this if there wasn't another real computer at home that I could use in a pinch.
I'm left wondering if there is an audience I would recommend this to. It can't replace the utility of a laptop or the use-it-anywhere quality of a smartphone for the road warrior. It certainly does not replace anyone's primary computer (laptop or desktop).

Perhaps it's an alternative to a smartphone for someone who does a lot of note taking or media consumption in situations where the ultra-portability of a smartphone is not important (e.g. college students, frequent coffee shop patrons). I could see where a dumbphone plus iPad is better than a smartphone for these folks. This is allegedly the market for netbooks, so in the final analysis, the iPad may just be a netbook killer. I'm just not in that demographic and never 'got' netbooks anyway, so while it's an occasionally fun toy, I'd get along just fine with only my laptop and smartphone.

2 comments:

Scott said...

I'll admit that I'm slightly pleased at your lack of enthusiasm. Now I definitely want to take it to Madison for GLS!

This also confirms our sense that it's in the same need space as my netbook. I'm feeling better about my decision to get a Hacintosh and *maybe* wait for Rev 2 on the iPads (at which point my netbook may be wearing out).

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