Friday, January 21, 2011

UG - Apple iPad Review

Ok, I know the iPad has been out for a long time, but I was just handed one to screw around with for the next month. I am playing with it to see how I like tablets as I am considering the Xoom for myself and an iPad 2 for my mother. After playing with it for a few days, I have to say overall I like the idea of a tablet and the design. I still am not sure how much use a tablet would get with me, but I am looking to replace the laptop that sits in my family room and a tablet might do it for me.

Now, I am saying upfront that it is a nicely built device and it works well, but now I will go into my arguments of why I don't like it and I am talking both hardware and software.My biggest complaint of the iPad hardware wise is the weight. This thing weighs more than I expected and it does wear on me if I'm using it for a long time. Lets just say this isn't going to replace an eReader, not to mention reading on a backlit screen for too long sucks. My other hardware issue is that there is no front camera. I am waiting for iPad 2 for my mother just because I want her to have a front camera for using Skype. I know Apple's MO is to slowly release hardware upgrades and I hate that, but it works for them so screw me.

Now for the software, this thing is a big iTouch, that is it. I won't go into that any more as it has already been discussed. The keyboard is responsive, but I don't get how awesome everyone says it is. I don't like that it always shows the keys on the keyboard in uppercase. When I type passwords, I have to keep checking if the shift key is hit or not. Also, there is no predictive text and that requires me type out every single character. I think I would be much more efficient with less spelling errors if it had predictive text. I am also at a loss on how everyone raves about the market. I had a hard time just browsing for random applications so maybe I just need to play with it more to get it.

In closing, Apple made a whole new market with this thing and I am impressed by it. This almost has me convinced to buy a tablet, but I can say that it won't be an iPad for myself. I want ports, storage options, I want choices, etc. One example is I would like this to replace me having to carry my laptop on vacation, but I would like a way to transfer pictures off of a camera to a tablet to free up space on the camera's memory card. That will never be possible on an Apple tablet. It is likely that the Xoom will support USB devices in some way and it is likely that I would be able to transfer things to it. I also don't like that this tablet is portable, but to get most anything on it, I have to connect it to a computer - that sort of kills the mobility for me.

Update: I will give PG credit for thinking of this, but tablets need profiles. Tablets are more shared than phones and so now certain applications such as Facebook and syncing with your email doesn't really work all that well. I don't want my gmail coming to my phone and my tablet. And if my wife is using the tablet, she doesn't care about my email and she wants to launch the Facebook app under her. This also makes lots of widgets worthless. I guess we can just use it purely as a laptop and log in to the sites under different accounts and I can disable all sync stuff....I like the idea of profiles. Get the scientists working on the profile technology, chop chop.

Update2: After 3 weeks of use, I have figured out that for my purposes a tablet just doesn't cut it. I ended up going back to my laptop for everything and the iPad because a very expensive weather station. For my use, I will actually be going with a MacBook Air next. The instant on/instant off is awesome to me and combine that with the full functionality of a laptop, that makes it a fit for what I want to use it for.