Random thoughts from an unusual company

My iPad Review

Tim Davis  10 May 2010 09:16:04
I've had my iPad for a week now, thanks so much to Carl Tyler. Do I like it as much as I thought I would?

To sum up how I feel about it, let me just say I made my sister snort her drink through her nose when I told her it was a 'life-changing' device. I was very funny. Also exaggerating, because it isn't.

It is however an absolute joy to use. Even being essentially a bigger iPod Touch, the interface has been smoothed over and jazzed up somewhat. It all moves so smoothly with only tiny gestures, you can't help but smile.

Browsing is fast and slick. Using touch gestures is so easy you do it without thinking. Touch is so very much better than using a mouse, and is an important part of what makes this kind of device stand out.

And here's a bold statement: The iPad mail client in landscape mode pulling my mail from Traveler is the Best Mail Client... Ever. You get your inbox down the left and the current email on the right. You flick to scroll up and down both. You can select multiple emails and delete or file them with just a few quick taps. The keyboard is big and easy to use. Handling mail is fast, fast, fast. I am sitting here typing in my Notes Client blog db, and I prefer to read my mail on my iPad than switch tabs to my inbox.

What else am I doing on it? I have bought iPad versions of my favourite games, Fieldrunners, Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies. The games are big, bright and gorgeous on the iPad, and here I am comparing to both my Nintendo DS and iPhone. Again, it is the touch interface which makes the difference, and the iPad has got it right where the DS only kind of did. (The Nintendo CEO said recently that they are targeting Apple as their main rival now).

I also have the Marvel Comics app, which is phenomenal. I downloaded a bunch of free comics and it does this great frame-by-frame transition.

Other stuff I installed: TweetDeck, SoundHound, Things, Bento, Stumble Upon, SketchBook Pro, Tap Tap Radiation, VNC Lite, and a bunch of my iPhone apps which look fine expanded to 2x (Skype, Ocado, Remote, Amazon, Ebay, etc).

I was pleased to find that the screen is larger than I remembered, yet the whole thing isn't too heavy to hold in one hand as you wander around. Mostly is sits nicely on the desk or my lap or chair arm. Movies play great on it. I played the final showdown from 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' to everyone in the office and we could all see and hear fine. (One younger member of our team said it looked like a dull film. Philistine.)

I think the main thing is that it does only do a certain bunch of tasks, but it does them very, very well. I am looking forward to being able to get the iWork apps, iBooks and the App Store here in the UK, but in the mean time it is still doing plenty.

What's annoying about it? For me, not much. I suspect that the popup keyboard may not be good enough for people who write a lot of emails. Also, while the battery seems to last forever, it takes a long time to charge. There doesn't seem to be that fast-charge effect you get on the iPhone. I don't tend to visit any websites with flash videos so the youTube app is sufficient, but having no flash could be a killer for some.

So who is it for? If you are reading this blog, then it is probably not for you.

It is not a clever device for clever people to do clever things to. You can't hack or tweak it. Until 4.0, you can't multitask except playing iTunes in the background. It is a beautiful, simple tool for doing beautiful, simple things.

We showed it to a friend who is a landscape gardener and who describes herself as a 'luddite', and she said "How fun is that!". We demoed it to several groups of people at the event we were at over the weekend (thanks to the kind people at Amex) and would overhear them later telling other groups of people how fabulous it was. We should be on commission.

If you like your iPod touch or iPhone apps, or are someone like my Mother, then I bet you will love it.

1Kathy Brown  10/05/2010 18:20:05  My iPad Review

I haven't wanted an iPad at all. No interest in it whatsoever. Now, somehow, you've made me want one, despite possibly insinuating I am a luddite, or your mother. ;-)

2Tim Davis  10/05/2010 23:12:54  My iPad Review

Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, look into the eyes. You're under!

You do want an iPad. You do want an iPad.

3, 2, 1, you're back in the room.