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Ten Things to Know About the iPad

by Travis Harvey | April 5, 2010April 5, 2010 12:13 pm PDT

If you’re still on the fence about springing a minimum of $500 for even the entry level model, you might have a few questions still lingering that we can hopefully clear up.  Here’s a list of some of the most notable things you know before taking the plunge.

Speed & Responsiveness

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the device is how fast and responsive everything – and i mean everything – is.  Every application loads up instantly and no virtually no touch goes undetected. Scrolling and pinching are incredibly speedy, one of the many things about the iPad that put the iPhone to shame.  This is one aspect of the iPad you have to touch to really appreciate.

The Battery

Whenever a manufacturer quotes battery estimates, it’s been a pretty standard practice to cut the stated time by at least 25% for a level you’d realistically get with your device.  Fortunately, the quoted 10 hours of battery life is completely accurate and possibly a bit on the conservative side.  Nonstop gaming (one of the most battery-draining things the iPad can do) for a bit over 5 hours left the battery at 48%.  The iPhone could learn a few things here.

ipadsafariDrool Over the HD Screen

Everything on the iPad looks crisp and completely readable thanks to it’s 1024×768 display.  The viewing angle is crazy wide to make content sharing easy, which can sometimes be annoying when you’re trying to enter account passwords in secrecy.  Despite the aspect ratio, videos still look plenty watchable.  CBS, ABC, YouTube, and Netflix will certainly usher in a solid video experience that’ll only improve over time.

The Bezel Isn’t Ugly

When Steve held up the iPad during it’s announcement in January, excess bezel was one of many complaints that never really died down. Once you hold the device in your hand, you’ll understand why Apple didn’t skimp on black border.  When you grab it by the side with one hand, the meat of your thumb will overflow just enough so it doesn’t obstruct the screen.  In the flesh, there’s nothing ugly about the iPad’s bezel.  Pictures don’t do it justice.

iPad Apps Need Work

Most app developers with apps designed for the iPad in the App Store haven’t had iPads to test their applications in a real world scenario. This means app menus and navigation elements are often inconveniently hidden or completely out of place. Surely as developers start testing their apps on actual iPads, these sort of problems with become less of an issue.

iPad Apps Are Expensive (Compared to iPhone)

If you’re planning on using the ipad for more than its stock capabilities, chances are you’re going to find yourself handing over a lot more benjamins for apps than you’re used to on your iPhone or Android device.  Apps, even those just blown up to fit the 9.7″ screen, can run a few more dollars than the iPhone counterparts.  Unless you promise yourself to stick strictly to free apps, prepare to drain your wallet that much faster as you fly through the commonly priced $5 app library.

formula1The Keyboard Doesn’t Suck

Your first touchscreen phone was certainly no dream to type on but you’ve most likely become accustomed to its virtual keyboard.  The iPad sits in a similar situation.  The keyboard is perfect for those that hunt and peck but those who rest on home row, it’ll take more than a few mistakes until things get comfortable.  The most difficult part of the typing process is finding a position to rest the iPad in your lap.

Multitasking, Please?

A device this size is much more of a laptop than it is a smartphone. As such, the absence of multitasking becomes much more substantial.  You’ll have to jump in and out of apps more often than you want but until Apple gets around to adding multitasking, you’re limited to the native apps that come standard on the device.  iPhone OS 4.0 can’t come soon enough.

No WiFi Will Make You Sad

Those who sided with the WiFi only iPad will find themselves losing out on plenty of functionality once you take the device outside of internet connectivity.  The browser becomes obsolete, which is unfortunate as I’d consider it one of the iPad’s killer apps.  No internet connectivity means you’re limited to what’s on the device and in cases where an app requires a connection, it becomes useless.  If you’re used to always-connected smartphones, this becomes a bigger deal than you’d expect.  Tethering is the iPad’s best friend.

iPhone Apps Are a Joke (Except Games)

Apple touted the iPad’s ability to run the full 150,000 app catalog thats been created around the iPhone and iPod touch’s 3.5″ screen.  On the iPad, the only category of these apps I find to not be a complete joke is the games. There are some games like first-person shooters which are unplayable due to their control requirements.  Twitter clients, news aggregators, and anything centered around text is laughable at best.  You’ll find the web browser replacing many of the apps you use on your smaller device.

While there’s plenty more to know about the iPad, these 10 items are at least a start.  If you’ve got a question you’re looking to have answered leave it in the comments.  If you already picked one up, share something you think people should know below.


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