The novelty of my iPad is starting to wear off. There, I said it, thanks in part to my girlfriend raising an interesting question about the iPad. It was this: “Why would anyone need an iPad if they have a laptop?” Now, a week before the iPad’s arrival, I could easily answer this question with remarks like “It’s going to change the way we interact with our content!” or “It will save print publishing!” or “It will provide the best internet experience of any device!” And while I still maintain some of these to be true, after having used the device for over a week, these advantages aren’t as compelling as I thought them to be.
For example, I much rather check my email in the morning on my desktop (in Day 1 and Day 2, I mentioned that I was checking my morning email on the couch with the iPad), because it is on my desktop that I am the most productive. Sure, the iPad makes a killer email reader, but it’s not a killer email writer. Add a keyboard, and maybe it becomes a killer writer, but why not just use a laptop? Even if you add a wireless or wired (docked) keyboard to the iPad, you still have to constantly reach up to touch the screen. That’s not the best experience.
Also, while the iPad may change print publishing, it won’t do it anytime soon. The formatting of magazines and newspapers on the iPad are not standardized, which makes it a bit frustrating going from one paper to the next. No one really knows how the ideal way to format a digital magazine or newspaper yet. The attempts thus far (New York Times, WSJ, etc) are just guesses. Also, I’ve found the iPad to cause me a lot of eye strain, to the point where I now limit my usage of the device to about three sessions per day. You’d think that I’d be used to staring at a backlit screen all day since my day job is to do just that, but there’s something weird about the iPad screen that hurts my eyes.
To the final remark made above that the iPad has the best internet experience of any device, I must say that this is true, as long as you are reading one page at a time. On my desktop or laptop, you can find me with at least five open tabs at any given time. While the iPad can indeed open multiple tabs (and you can even tap and hold a link to open it in a new tab), the interface for switching between them just isn’t natural.
I really need a case so that I can see the screen at a proper angle while sitting at a table. Lately I’ve been propping my iPad up on a hand towel in an attempt to angle the screen properly. Also, I’m afraid of dropping the iPad…it seems very fragile. I’m not a big fan of the official Apple iPad case because it’s rubbery and not elegant, plus, it adds a lot of weight to the device. Instead, I have preordered the BookStand from Macally. It’s only $10 more than the Apple iPad case and for that you get a suede-like material, plus a more minimal design.
And I’m still having trouble with the iPad keeping a WiFi connection. At least once per day, but usually more, it’ll disconnect from my router. I can fix it by turning on and off the WiFi through the settings on the iPad. Apple released a bulletin explaining that the problem may be caused by certain dual-band routers. Hmm…how come all of my other WiFi devices work 100% of the time with my router? Clearly, there’s a software or hardware issue causing this. Hopefully it’s the former so that we may get a software update to fix the problem.
Ok, I’m being a bit negative. Let’s talk about some cool things I’ve been doing with my iPad. The other day I downloaded the Yahoo! Entertainment application, which is a fantastic way to navigate the endless sea of TV programming that is out there. The interface is ultra slick and makes it very easy to find something to watch on the TV.
Also super cool is Scrabble. While it’s $10, it’s a fantastic value. I say this because the game is not only implimented very well, but it gives you many options to play. You can play solo, or with a group. Playing with a group means that you can link up multiple iPads, or you can link iPhones to the iPad through Bluetooth or WiFi so that each person can see their letter tiles privately. Awesome!
So overall, I like the iPad, but I’m beginning to conclude that this is the kind of device that you should buy only if you want a new toy. It’s like buying a netbook even though you already have a laptop. Is it necessary? No. Does it add a little fun to your life? Maybe. Perhaps I need to experience some more apps before having my sentiment about the iPad swayed closer to the positive direction. For now, I’ll keep reading my newspapers, viewing email, and playing Scrabble.