Rick’s (unorthodox) review of the Ipad


History:

I am a computer engineer who got tired of Microsoft’s crap all the time.  I used to spend all of my free time reinstalling various copies of Microsoft Windows on my computers to “keep them working”.  That really was annoying.  I needed anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-everything installed in order to keep my business to myself.

I finally decided to buy an Apple computer.  With that one purchase, I realized that it is possible to have a computer that “just works” and that does not require constant updating and tinkering in order to keep things running.  I did install a free Mac anti-virus program … just in case… but for the most part… I don’t have to worry about my computer crashing.  To be honest, the Mac has hung up a few times… and yes I had to turn the power off and on… but I have done that (across all my Macs) hardly at all compared to all the PCs I had.

Soon after I got my first Mac I decided to get an iPhone.  They go hand in hand.  An iPhone connected to a Mac runs much better than an iPhone connected to a PC.  iTunes, the lifeblood of the Mac iPhone connection does work better on a Mac.  I decided to get one and I was not disappointed.

iPhone:

WHat is an iPhone?  I have the first generation version… outmoded by the recent release of the fourth generation iPhone.  It is (now) slower than the all the other versions (less memory, less processor speed, less network speed, and is now orphaned in terms of the latest and greatest version of the operating system.  Seems pitiful now… but the first generation iPhone still works really good.  It allows me to do the things I want to do… in a mobile way.  Here are a few things that I do on my ancient iPhone:

1) Check my mail on it

  1. Take pictures with it
  2. Twitter with it
  3. Do Facebook with it
  4. Update my blog with it
  5. Text with it
  6. Talk on it
  7. Run tons of applications on it
  8. Listen to music with it

a) In my car via the Jack-in on my car stereo

b) Via headphones while I fly on a plane

  1. Watch videos on it while I fly on a plane

Basically I access mobile information on it.  The on-screen keyboard is so small that generating content on it… is tough to finger the keys for meaningful input.  It is not impossible, but generating an average size e-mail is about as much as I would want to use it for.  In a nutshell… content consumption is what I usually do.

What is an iPad:

I think we pretty much all know what an iPad is by this point.  People laugh and call it a huge iPhone or a huge iPod Touch.  The truth is that both descriptions are correct and incorrect.  It is like an iPod Touch with 3G cellular service, but unlike a 3G iPhone there is no voice service.

The iPad has a really nice big screen and comes in a version that is WiFi only or a combo of 3G and Wifi.  It has a new microprocessor that is fast (come to find out it is used in the new 4th generation iPhone as well) and comes in 16 GB,32 GB, and 64 GB models.  The iPad I bought is the 64GB 3G version.

Why did I buy an iPad?  Did I buy one because I had to have the latest and greatest version of the new Apple device?  No, that is not it.  The reason is, that I did an analysis of what I would be doing with the iPad and if it would help me do what I want to do with it.  Like the smaller iPhone it runs all kinds of applications and lets me stay updated with what I want to track.  I can read a newsgroup, check a blog, open a web page and read it, and basically CONSUME INTERNET CONTENT.  The one major plus I wanted is a cheap 3G network plan that would enable me to have access on the road wherever I would be.  This is one of my requirements that is completely met…. at the 100% level.

Here are a few things that I think make the iPad a great buy:

  1. The screen is bigger and allows for better viewing of videos and web surfing.
  2. With “Dual use” applications, I buy one once on the iPad or iPhone and get the other version for free.  (The iPad can run iPhone only versions of the applications and can show it in the native resolution (small iPhone size) or in a “doubler” mode where the pixels are doubled so that they almost are full iPad screen.  Many applications are now fully iPad enabled.
  3. I have a model that stores much more audio and video files.  I have all of my audio files with me on the go and I can bring more videos with me.
  4. A much improved battery life (10 whole hours after a full charge).
  5. The 3G version has a built-in GPS chip which my original version of the iPhone does not have.  It really makes a big difference having the GPS to help you out within the various applications…sure beats the WiFi positioning that is done on the WiFi only version of the iPad and my first generation iPhone.
  6. For some reason using the iPad to check something on the web (or via an application) is much more convenient than going to a desktop or laptop computer (PC or Mac) or whipping out the iPhone.  While the iPad is not as convenient to carry as a phone or PDA, it is not all that uncomfortable or inconvenient to carry with me.
  7. If I am traveling via plane, the iPad does not have to be removed from a briefcase and put in a separate bin to go through the airport x-ray machine.  The TSA has ruled that it can stay in a briefcase and go through without special handling.  That is a big plus at the airport.
  8. Just like the iPhone and iPod Touch devices, one can rent movies (HD or regular resolution) and load them for viewing on your iPad.  It is just a matter of synchronizing your device of choice.  This makes it easy to view movies on your device while you fly.
  9. E-books are great on the iPad.  With every e-reader out there … there are tradeoffs.  The iPad can be heavy, but the nice feature of being able to lock the screen in a vertical or horizontal mode makes it much easier to read books and other types of e-content (like newspapers).  The screen is very conducive to reading books.  I have read all the Twilight books on the iPad and had a grand experience doing it overall.  The iBook application (soon to be available on the 4th generation iPhone as well) is very easy to use.
  10. E-newspapers in their iPad application form (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today) and magazine/comic applications such as Time Magazine and  Popular Science allow interactive content to be accessed via the iPad.  This can be fun although subscriptions for the e-versions are much more expensive than the print copy.
  11. The iPad speaker is far superior than the speaker that I have heard on the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS.  I cannot comment on the built-in speaker for the 4th generation iPhone as I have not heard it.
  12. The versions of the individual iWork applications on the iPhone is a big draw.  Just as Microsoft has on-line website for document collaboration, Apple has iWork.com which lets the mobile versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote ($9.99 each) share and edit content via the website.
  13. The on-screen keyboard is much bigger than that of the various iPhone versions and that of the iPod Touch devices.  While one could write the great american novel, it would be possible but highly annoying on an iPad.  Still the fact that it is easier to type on the iPad counts as a big plus.
  14. I have one complaint about the iPad…which is really not the device’s fault.  This may be corrected over time, but the big problem is with the iTunes integration.  The iTunes side of the house does not quite seem to know how to handle the iPad.  I find the interface to iTunes on the iPad to be rather stilted and a very “forced” experience… not at all a complete or comfortable one.  Hopefully this improves with feedback from the users.
  15. People do complain that the device is not multi-user.  I don’t find that this is a problem.  By design, it is a one person device.  There are no user profiles… no multiple e-mail account, no multiple user access to different iTunes libraries.  If you are looking for this then I would say that the device is not for you.  Personally, I would not expect that multiple people would be using this device.  E-mail, iTunes, and other application synchronization kind of rules this out.  How many of us have laptops that we share with our family (either spouses, parents, or siblings).  Not because we are hiding access to do our data from each other, but because we want access to it when we want it…and don’t want to share and be inconvenienced when somebody else is using it.  Think about the pains involved in sharing a cell phone.
  16. One aspect that I don’t really appreciate is the 4 digit code that one can enable to lock out your iPad.  I think that 4 digits is not nearly enough.  I would rather that an 6 to 8 digit code be implemented.  Also, the iPad does not have the latest version of the Apple operating system yet, but it is slated to by the end of the summer.  This means that “folders” and “multitasking” will be enabled on the device which will make the experience much more robust.
  17. One last thing, Apple’s MobileMe e-mail service provides that ability to track and/or erase a lost/missing iPad like it does with an iPhone.  This is much easier for the 3G iPad… and a WiFi only version would have to be connected to a wireless network if the device was to be located or erased.

All in all, if you know how you are going to use an iPad… then I would say to buy one.  My device cost $828 without the Applecare (like any mobile device I highly recommend it) and to me… with the traveling that I do… I feel that the  iPad was worth every dime.  Some people will find that there money would be better spent in other ways… which is fine too.  I don’t spend their money and I don’t ask them to spend mine 😉

Many Thanks to my cousin Scott for getting me off my butt and urging me to put some of these thoughts down on “paper”.   I know he has been waiting for this for a long time and after several false starts, I have done it.  I just hope Scott, that you are not disappointed.

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~ by Rick Andrade on July 3, 2010.

4 Responses to “Rick’s (unorthodox) review of the Ipad”

  1. Nice review Rick. I am mostly looking to view and light edit some office documents on it. I want to keep dynamic documents fresh and updated on the move. I’m sure I will also use it for email and light internet browsing. Seems like a good device for my needs. I see you referenced the office apps, but how has this experience been for you? Thanks again for “getting off your butt” and writing it up!

  2. I enjoyed your review, but it was undeniably biased toward the positives. Are there any negative aspects to the iPad? For example, battery life, cost of accessories, stability, updates, intuitive or human factors attributes, size, weight, etc?

    Was it worth the price? While $800+ is probably nothing to you, it represents a significant investment for most of us out there who don’t belive in slapping, slipping or sliding plastic to make purchases. To expand on my question, is there really a benefit from owning the iPad versus getting your content (for content’s sake) on the iPhone or Netbook or (gasp!) laptop?

    • Basically if the review is biased…. it is biased because the REQUIREMENTS were basically MY REQUIREMENTS. Early adopters… pay the price. You can get an Avaya Flare, a Blackberry Playbook, or a Cisco Cius tablet with a boatload more features (and a higher price). These are all for the enterprise and are driven as such… but they have enterprise integration with front and back facing cameras. Something the iPad won’t have in its first incarnation. Also, how long have the iPads been out? We are still waiting for the IOS 4.x to come to the device. It is scheduled for November.

      The 11/12 hour battery life is awesome for a device such as this… and the cost issue can be somewhat mitigated by looking at the bracketed price points. The device has been pretty stable… my first generation iPhone bombs out more than the tablet does. Accessories are not much of a problem as I have an iPhone already and have the video cable and extra chargers.

      I like the form factor, the weight, etc. But to be honest… I like the built-in 3G networking with the combined no-committment, low priced plan. I can use it Wifi or 3G wherever I can get signal.

      My cousin Scott posted a comment about the Flare on Facebook… he said that it looked sharp, but the apps are enterprise apps and not consumer apps. Hardware and extra software is required. He also said that the $1,500 price tag was too steep, although it looked nice.

      As more consumer based (i.e. Android) tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab) come out, you will see much more demand for this type of platform. I got some very sizeable usage out of the iPad while traveling and am excited that I did not have to bring the more cumbersome and heavier Mac Notebook.

      Well, I guess I did say the review was UNORTHODOX… LOL. Maybe I should do something more pro’s / con’s…?

  3. Thank for nice article. 🙂

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