That’s what i think to myself any time I see people taking photos / video with an ipad. There’s a time and a place for taking photos or videos with an iPad and that time is ‘never’. The place? ‘Nowhere’. Anyway, i’ve added my name to the list of iPad owners. 3rd Gen, Black, 16GB WiFi-only version for anyone that’s interested…
Why do i need an iPad? Well it was a toss up between a laptop and an iPad (there’s no other tablet worth looking at as far as i’m concerned… not yet anyway). These days, i find myself fairly regularly moving around and in more and more meetings. My old netbook’s battery died which means it can only be used when plugged in to the mains. I’d buy another battery were it not for the fact that my current netbook is fairly slow and just doesn’t pack enough power to do anything other than write in notepad and run a web browser. Plus it takes a couple of minutes to boot up (you know the story). Those precious seconds and minutes tick by and you lose focus on the conversation because you’re willing something to open. Any second now. Just a little longer…
On the plus side, my old netbook has an SD slot & usb slots but right now i need something that’s portable, has great battery life and is fast. It was either going to be an ‘ultraportable’ (laptop) or an iPad. An ultraportable (any brand) is about twice the price of an iPad so that’s why i ended up buying an iPad… it destroys a basic budget laptop (>€500) for battery life and portability.
It’s just a giant iPod
A lot of people call the iPad a giant iPod… that’s exactly what it is. In the same way a 50″ LCD TV is just a giant 22″ LCD TV. What would you prefer to be sitting in front of watching TV? I rest my case. The thing about the iPod / iPhone is that the screen is too small for a full size qwerty keyboard. Personally, i prefer buttons on a phone but because i don’t use my phone as a traditional phone, i can live with a touchscreen. But i still don’t like touchscreens, i prefer physical buttons…
Touch typists would agree with me. You can’t feel the keys, therefore more precision and care is needed when typing which ultimately results in slower typing speed or if you maintain speed, more mistakes (which take an eternity to correct on a touchscreen). For the record, i’m not a touch typist and i don’t believe there’s a proper way of typing. If you can type 100 words per minute, great. Chances are they’re not your words though 😉
The iPad of course doesn’t have a physical keyboard, but it does offer a ‘giant’ touchscreen keyboard which means that you can type with both hands… it’s a little more natural and with the iPad in landscape mode, i’d say i’m almost as quick typing as i would be on a normal keyboard. The problem is that i tend to make a huge number of mistakes, mainly because i’m so used to lifting my fingers up a certain height after every key press on a traditional keyboard. I’ll get used to it but given the choice of touchscreen -v- keyboard, there’s only one winner.
As a first time iPad owner, the display is impressive but so too is the display on the iPad 2. Only a fool would upgrade from the iPad 2 to the iPad 3. The display is really the only change worth talking about and if you’re the type of person that notices the difference (without having them side by side), you’re probably an Apple engineer, a designer or an app developer. If you’re like me and have a choice between the new iPad and the 2nd gen iPad, i’d say go with the 2nd unless, like me, you hate buying ‘new’ stuff that is actually out of date. It’d be similar to buying an iPhone 4S now. Why would you when you can hold off a couple of months and get a newer version for the same price? As a tech enthusiast, that makes no sense to me… it’s different of course if you can’t wait for whatever reason or get one as a gift.
The display is great but it’s also the iPad’s weakness. When i take photos with the iPad (only to test it out), i’m left disappointed by the quality of them… not because they’re not sharp but because the screen is so large & clear that it makes lots of things look pixelated or grainy. We’re just not used to taking photos or video with a huge screen.
The web & many apps also have a lot of catching up to do. For me, this new iPad highlights the growing need for a new, responsive image format. Some apps have been beautifully designed but you then have ugly pixelated headline images being pulled in which completely destroys the ‘crystal clear’ experience. It’s a problem. People with ‘retina’ displays expect perfect / maximum quality all the time. If they don’t get it, they’re left frustrated.
Too hot to handle?
This was one criticism of the new iPad… it was too hot. I had the iPad on my lap for several hours yesterday and again today. Probably wasn’t maxing it out playing games but if people think this thing is hot, they’ve obviously never held a 6 year old + laptop on their lap for a few hours. On one of my old laptops, the stickers on the bottom of it melted off over time. The iPad gets to what i’d describe as ‘luke warm’ at worst. Perfectly acceptable.
Battery Life = Great. Charge time = Awful.
What i did notice however is how incredibly slow it is to charge. I seem to plug my iPhone in and it’s charged in a jiffy but the iPad is something that really needs all night to charge. I think the charge time is listed as 6 hours but i’m not sure whether that’s in an off state or not. Whilst i had it on yesterday, i was charging it and it seems to charge up about 10% per hour on average when i was using it on and off. It’s something i’ll study a little more carefully next time i charge it. I put together this little summary below although i realise it’s not quite as black and white as i make it appear…
Smart Cover is smart
It was only when i began researching the iPad and it’s rivals that i came across the official range of iPad ‘smart covers’. These covers stick magnetically to the iPad, acting as a shield, a cleaner and also as a stand. I’m almost as fascinated with this cover as i am with the iPad itself. Had i not got an argos voucher to use up, i probably wouldn’t have bothered getting one, but i would have missed out big time. Although it’s another additional expense at €39, the ‘smart cover’ really is ‘smart’ and no iPad should be without one.
It’s very difficult to type of the iPad when it’s flat on a table… it’s just not natural and i’m pretty sure it’d be damaging for your wrists / fingers to type like that constantly. The smart cover tilts the iPad up to about 30 degrees which is just about right for viewing and typing when on a flat surface. It also lifts it up to a near vertical state which is handy for facetime / skype or if you want to use it as a really expensive digital photo frame or clock.
One thing the iPhone doesn’t have is gestures. With the iPad you can swipe four fingers across the screen to navigate from app to app. Swipe 4 fingers upwards and you pull up the task manager. ‘Claw’ 4 fingers towards the center of the screen and you get back to the home screen. All of that means that in theory, there is no need for a home button. I’m not sure why Apple haven’t gotten rid of it yet…
Gadget without a purpose
The iPad is consistently called a gadget without any real purpose. Yes it’s cool and it’s a great example of modern day technology at it’s best but does it serve any real purpose or enhance our lives any? I think it depends on the individual. I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t use it or may regard it as a ‘nice to have’ toy. Personally, i think it’s a giant iPhone / iPod touch which owners of said devices will see an immediate use for. Already, i’m using my iPhone less and less, particularly at night (in bed) or in the mornings. Pre my iPad era, i’d always check emails / messages in the morning and last thing at night along with doing some catching up on news or Facebook / twitter updates. For quick note taking, the iPad is also useful as it can sync stuff to dropbox or your email account. You can even sketch things on it or sketch over existing photos if you’re using the right apps. You can’t do any of that with a regular notepad.
All of that is just a much more natural experience on the iPad compared to the iPhone. You have the power to compose serious messages if you want or do some serious web browsing… on the iPhone you can’t really do that. You can in theory write a long email and quote people whilst navigating back and forth from the web but it’s cumbersome. On the iPad, it’s quick and simple. *Almost* like a laptop only without the bulk and slow start up time.
For development work or any kind of creative work, stay away from the iPad… that’s not it’s purpose. It’s not a laptop substitute. If you have a smartphone and understand it’s importance, you’ll most likely find a role for the iPad. For me, it’s now my chief consultant device and primary bed time tech companion. My iPhone has been fired from both positions.