I’ve been lucky enough to have an iPad for about three weeks (a rarity in the UK), and if you’re thinking about getting one, here are my thoughts so far.
- It’s a great sofa computer. It looks fabulous of course, and it storms for browsing, looking stuff up and casual email.
- It’s also a great work netbook. It’s small and light enough to have in every meeting, and fits in smaller rucksacks. No more ugly corporate laptop bags. It’s excellent for presentations (and not just as a novelty)
- It’s a terrific media player. Both for wandering around the house playing WiFi radio (5 Live Sports Extra and Indie 103.1), and also as a temporary kitchen TV (for iTunes purchases)
- Apps are the key. The early ones aren’t perfect – developers are feeling around for what works – but it’s surely where this machine will fly. And not just games – I can’t wait for Remember the Milk HD.
- Great for reading. MyTimes is an elegant feed reader and InstapaperPro looks fantastic.I’ve used the iPad to read some lengthy PDFs (thanks to Goodreader) and it’s preferable to having 50 sheets of A4 to carry around
- It’s not so much a mobile device as a portable device. it is the wrong shape to use whilst actually moving. To type on it, you need to get yourself comfortable. The biggest accessory sale is going to be something that lets you prop it up at a nice angle to type on. Meanwhile, I hear rubber doorstops work well(!)
- Correcting typos feels more awkward than on an iPhone and often knocks me off my train of thought. It is possible to type up notes and actions during a meeting, but it’s certainly slower than a keyboard. In fact, I think I can type faster on an iPhone as its narrower screen allows double thumbs action!
- It’s not a primary workhorse. Numbers has poor Excel compatibility, Google Docs editing seems limited and of course Photoshop and the like aren’t (yet) available.
I love it, but it’s not essential in the way my iPhone is. And I can’t see it replacing my laptop anytime soon (indeed, it’s telling that it didn’t even occur to me to type this post on it).
But if you like shiny new mac stuff, and you can afford it, you know you’ll get one anyway.
And btw – it’s not going to save the newspaper/magazine industry. But that’s for another post…