This is a bit of a break from the norm. Just a little something to break the monotony of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be a little bit out of control.
First things first. I am not an Apple fan. At all. Yes, their products are good, but they’re not special. Other devices have been around for many a year before Apple see a way to make the design, usability and functionality seemingly better. I’ll give them full credit where it’s due, they have changed the world of technology and even behaviour with technology, but it doesn’t mean I like them.
My wife, graciously, bought me an iPad for Diwali last year. It was a pleasant surprise. She actually gave it to me a few weeks early. This is because she was far too excited she got it for me. But I digress. Since then, I have been trying, in earnest to enjoy the device and make full use of it. So after 7 months, here’s my thoughts on it.
I have the 32GB, WiFi only version.
I like the iTunes movies store. There’s a good selection of movies available, and I like that you can either rent or buy the film. Buying the film has obvious benefits, it’s yours, and it’s on your iTunes account for whenever you want to view it. Renting is a bit of a flawed approach. You have 30 days in which to view it. Once you start watching it you have 2 days in which to view it. Both of these restrictions make no sense. I’m already tied into an iTunes account, and I’m already committing myself to paying the money, there’s no need for this. That said, the quality of the movies, both sound and visual is compelling.
The iPod function is pretty standard. Nothing to report here.
The Mail function is pretty standard. Nothing to report here.
The browsing is pretty standard. Nothing to report here.
A friend has just pointed out Apple’s probably biggest win and biggest fail all at the same time. It’s all about the apps.
This is where I struggle with the device. I can do everything I do on my iPad on my HTC Desire HD smartphone. And I’m happier doing it on my phone because of the size of the phone and the power of the phone. And I don’t have to have different technical capabilities depending on my usage needs. If I use it a lot I buy a bigger SD card. On the iPad, if I use it a lot, I’m screwed as I’m limited to 32GB. In fairness I don’t and that is ample storage, but the principle stands.
Anyway, yes, it is all about the apps. They, and they alone, are what make the iPad a brilliant device. Here’s my selection of apps I’ve got.
Flipboard is bloody brilliant. It takes your social networking streams and presents them as a newspaper. This really is cool and makes interacting with your social networks fun and different.
Kindle have done an amazing job. That they’ve developed an app across multiple devices is impressive for a start. Their Whispersync technology is simply perfection. That I can stop reading on one device, pick up a different device and pick up where I left off is brilliant and I love it.
Various games have been really well developed. Particularly Scrabble and Monopoly. Scrabble on the iPad is a joy, more so because the kids can’t grab the tiles and mess up your board. They’ve also done a good job of being able to sync with other iPhone/iPod devices to enable multiple gaming. Sucks a bit though that you can only do this in the ‘i’ world.
The Twitter for iPad is a good app. It’s the main app I use, and I like it. Tweetdeck is ok, but quite slow in updating timelines.
Apps for children and toddlers are particularly impressive. The developers have really taken the time to understand what makes kids tick and how they learn. I have a mulititude of ABC, 123, Dr Seuss, Handy Manny, Winnie the Pooh, Itsy Bitsy Spider apps that the kids love and helps them to learn. When I’m not on, and they are, these are the apps they go to first.
So there you have it. Not anything profound or new in the world of arguments for and against the iPad, but that’s my review.