The iPad: A Few Weeks Later

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Now that the iPad's been out for a bit, I thought I'd share a few quick takes on my experience with it now that the novelty is wearing off.

Where it excels

It's amazing for gaming. Any time I show someone Real Racing HD, they look for the nearest Apple store (or search engine). I brought up some of the social gaming uses in an earlier column; Scrabble's brilliant. I'm a sucker for We Rule (username "berkowitz" if you play).

Video's beautiful. If I'm on a plane and want to watch one of my own movies, I'll do so – though I usually read when I'm not working in-flight.

It's not bad for checking email, especially if I don't want to boot up my computer. I'll get some of my news fix on there too – the screen is perfect for news articles.

Where it lags

My least favorite activity on it is reading. The glare is awful, and the backlit screen is nowhere nearly as easy to read as e-ink on the Kindle. I tried to read a full book on the iPad and gave up less than halfway through. Fortunately I bought the book through Amazon and read it on the Kindle iPad app. I switched over to my first generation Kindle, where I'm progressing through it, and enjoying the experience so much more even without the fancy page animations and easier navigation the iPad offers.

I also don't like the magazine apps I've tried on the iPad, such as GQ and Popular Science. They seemed to try too hard to produce an iPad-friendly experience when they likely would be much more readable just offering a digital version of the magazine. Maybe someone else will get the design right in time, though as noted above, I wouldn't want to read something cover to cover on there.

It's also not the best productivity device. I'm sure some tools will get better for blog posts and that sort of thing, but multitasking is so much easier on a PC, and typing's much faster and much more accurate on a PC. You can't touch-type on the iPad.

So where does that leave it?

It's a hybrid device.

If I was a college student, maybe I'd like it more, or as a parent with young children, it might be a great device to share with them.

It's very good at a lot of things, but not as useful as a computer or a mobile device for most others.

A nice to have? Definitely? It's fun, fast, and beautiful.

A need to have? Hardly. It will probably be gathering dust before long.

5 thoughts on “The iPad: A Few Weeks Later

  1. If you're referring to netbooks, you miss out on the apps, they're not great media devices (the screen's much better), and I'd hardly recommend reading on them. If you have a decent laptop though and a smartphone, there really is no reason to get an iPad unless you're a gadget fiend. 

  2. I guess the iPad still has the 99-Year old grandmother, first computer purchase market left 🙂

  3. Eh..I have to say most Apple products are a “want to have” rather than a “need to have.” It’s great for Apples marketing scheme, but not so great for the consumers spending their money. Plus half the time, these flashy products aren’t even efficient all the time; I recently purchased a 3G Iphone and I’m constantly having problems with it. Most people who buy this stuff are really paying for the brand, not the product. I mean if what you need is a portable computer where you can read, watch movies, and take notes, why not get a notebook? It’s takes up less space and its about half the price of an Ipad.

  4. Haha yeah, thanks Matt 🙂
    Oh I also forgot to note in this recap that the wifi really is flaky – it cuts out on me ALL the time, even asking me to reenter my wifi network password. You don't have to enter the password each time though – just flick it off and on again.
    Argh, 1G devices…

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