I’ve had the Apple iPad since it was delivered that very first day. You may not believe me when I tell you I really wasn’t excited about its delivery but I wasn’t. You can ask my wife who asked the same question about a week before delivery and my response was similar to others who asked the question, “Its just another piece of technology and have learned not to build it up to be more than it really is.” In fact, the day it was delivered it sat in the box for more than eight hours while I painted the kitchen. I am a man with priorities.
A few facts you need to know about me. I’m no fanboy of apple. I would consider myself to be technologically agnostic and really look first at what will accomplish the objective at hand with a normally limited budget. My first smart phone was a BlackBerry and even poked fun at those with an iPhone using the often quoted statement that BlackBerry was for business folks and iPhones were for (fill in the blank). I now have an iPhone which you can all thank Jamie Russel who, while talking with him at a meeting, commented that he had been loosing weight and getting in shape and attributed it to his iPhone. The comment that resonated was that he had never had a piece of technology which had changed his life. Neither had I and I wanted in.
I ordered my iPhone and despite the concerns of my BlackBerry friends (and even some iPhone friends) that I wouldn’t like it because of the keyboard and a variety of other typical issues the truth was I loved it right out of the box – especially iTunes. It wasn’t a game changer and not even revolutionary in comparison to my BlackBerry. What it was was intuitive, flexible and consolidated a lot of my other pieces of hardware including a small iPod which was given to me as a hand me down from my daughter.
So let’s get to it, my review of the iPad. This post is based on all the initial reviews and concerns and my thoughts after using it for a month. By the way, I’m typing this post on it using the WordPress app.
Keyboard – It took me a about an hour to get the hang of the keyboard and I still prefer to type in landscape. I keep holding back on getting the external keyboard simple because it feels like I am not being true to the device. My friend Matt Galloway commented that adding a keyboard was basically an effort to turn the iPad into a laptop and I would argue the great value to the iPad is it isn’t a laptop.
Mouse - See Keyboard
Printing - Yep it can’t. I think theres an app for that but I haven’t gone looking for it. This one caught me completely by surprise – since using the iPad I hardly print anything. I’m not sure if its an awareness thing or the fact that I spend more time doing work away from my printer but my printing has almost come to a halt. Even when working on my computer (and HP) I still won’t print anything. Thinking about all the printing I’ve done over the years I might plant a tree this weekend as an act of attrition.
It doesn’t replace a laptop – Yes and no. First no, it doesn’t replace my laptop. I still need that for some heavy lifting such as editing video, etc. And would I want to type a three hundred page novel? Probably not. But for just about everything else it is awesome. Here is where it has replaced my laptop:
- On business trips – files are loaded or saved on google docs, evernote, dropbox or some other platform for retrieval at the moment of need
- Meetings - its not as obtrusive as a laptop and a weird observation – no clicking which always made me feel self conscious when typing away in a meeting. It was also tough pulling everything out, the production of opening the laptop, turning it on, etc. With the iPad I flip the cover and type away. One issue I will admit – you need to give an extra fifteen minutes to any meeting because everyone wants to ask about your iPad and the brave ones want to touch it.
- Everywhere in the house - I used to drag my laptop all over my house to “work” which is code for check email or some other minimalistic effort. The iPad works great in this capacity and if you spend most of your time online, working on documents, responding to email or any social networking ditch the hot lap.
- In bed – I add this in addition to the note above simply because I love to read but most of what I enjoy reading is online content – thus I brought my laptop to bed a lot of nights. This, for you young techlyweds is not conducive to a harmonious marriage. My wife is awesome and never said anything but I knew… The only complaint of the iPad is the bright light in an otherwise dark room. But here’s a trick. When your wife is asleep next to you and it’s 1 a.m. either go to sleep or go in the other room, regardless if you have an iPad. (enough marriage advice)
Here’s where it hasn’t:
- My office - but even then I find I often use my iPad while my computer is sitting right in front of me. It’s just convenient sometimes.
It isn’t open – I love open source as much as the next guy and am a huge advocate, even encouraging my student to use free and open source software instead of paid for products (most don’t). I follow many open source advocates and yell my commitment from the pews. Apple is closed. So what. (start the debate below)
Let’s talk books – I haven’t downloaded too many books but for the ones I have I didn’t miss paper at all. The experience was fine. I wish I could search all books for my personal notes but I haven’t yet found a device to do that for my paper copies. One think I love – I’m able to lug around three text books (200 plus pages each) all in a product smaller than my favorite restaurant’s menu. Are there some trade offs? Yep. Can I think of one off the top of my head? Not at the moment.
It can’t multi task – Read any study on multitasking and you will see the one thing multitasking folks do well is multi-task. What they don’t do well is all the things they are multitasking. I know the new OS will allow multitasking. Meh.
Is there anything I don’t like about the iPad? – I am sure there are but nothing so glaring it is enough for me to turn it in, even if I could get a full refund.
Do I do anything different because of the iPad? – I spend less time at my desk simply because of the ease to do those trivial work tasks anywhere. I also spend a lot less time using my iPhone. Yep, it’s a huge iPhone which I can’t talk on (yet?) but where my laptop and iPhone weren’t optimal the iPad is. (update – clarification, being a huge iPhone isn’t a bad thing)
(note, I published via my iPad but edited in my browser to add font changes – you can’t do that with the WordPress app.)