Last time I wrote a rather long blog regarding my impressions of my newly purchased iPad and promised a follow up. Well, here it is. Before you go any further I need to give attention to some details, I have not read the review since I posted it. There may be some overlap between the two reviews but I feel this is necessary to keep me from thinking too much.
Before purchasing, I knew I would like this device, I just never comprehended how much I would love and use it. The reason for buying the iPad was to get me out of the dungeon of my basement (where my normal computer resides) and bring me into the light of the upper world. To that extent the iPad is a complete success.
The purpose, as in the designer’s purpose, was to be almost strictly a media consumer device. In other words, a very simple computer for browsing the web, reading emails, looking at pictures, listening to music and watching movies. To this end, the device performs admirably. While you can do all the above with a laptop, the iPad’s weight, battery life, lack of heat generation and greater portability often makes it superior for these general functions than a laptop. One can hold the iPad easily in one’s hands thus reading ebooks, emails, browsing the web is like, well… reading a book. The controls and functionality make this a very enjoyable experience. While you can lay on the couch with a laptop, it is not nearly the same experience.
While the design and intent was NOT for content creation, a large body of users are making this a platform to that end. There are word processors, spreadsheets, presentation programs as well as a myriad of other productivity/business application out in the market. I am attempting to see how much of my work (as in work at Caterpillar) can be done solely with the iPad. I have a feeling once I get a few things ironed out the amount may be around 90%.
What do I Love?
The low cost of programs (called apps). Generally they are less than $5 and almost always under $10. AND, and…..many of them are FREE!
The vast number of apps. There is almost an app for everything. Given the low cost, it makes trying apps fairly risk free.
The battery life. The company states 10 hour life and I think they are right.
The interface with programs. Touching and physically interacting with the screen is a better experience with many programs. The interface is very intuitive and designed for easy of use.
What I don’t like.
No file folder system. Unlike most computers, files are not saved in some folder that can be accessed by any program on the iPad. Instead, you can create folders, but always within the confines of the individual program. For instance, with Filebrowser I can download a file from my network to my iPad, but it saves it to the folders I create in Filebrowser. To open in Goodreader I need to tell Filebrowser to open it up in Goodreader but then Goodreader creates its own copy in its own folder. Now when I edit that pdf in Goodreader it is NOT making changes to the file in Filebrowser. To make matters worse, some of the older applications force you to email yourself a copy in order to open the file in another application (ala Carbonite). I sure do hope the upgrade to iOS eliminates that..
Lack of Pivot Tables/Charts for spreadsheet programs. This is HUGE for me. This functionality is probably the greatest uses I have for spreadsheets. Without this functionality, there is no way I could ever replace my work laptop.
Multi-processing. I do a lot of shifting between programs to create content. For instance, going between the Notes, a bible app and a pdf reader means shutting down one before going to another. While this does happen rather quickly, this shifting back and forth is very clunky when done often. This should be fixed with the next iOS upgrade.
iTunes – It is perplexing how a company known for innovation and technology interfaces would put out such a MISERABLE PIECE OF SOFTWARE. Come on! This is more than a music management software, this is the method for syncing, backing up and managing files on the iPad/iPod devices. While I get around with it fairly well, it still is a cobbled up piece of software.
Writing on the screen with the finger. The device is very sensitive to touch, but that of a finger tip. I don’t know how the screen registers contact but it is not via pressure. A normal stylus will not work. There are a number of apps that allow writing on the screen with the finger, but this doesn’t work well for a number of reasons. I may purchase a special stylus to see if that helps.
Overall, I find this device indispensable for the reasons noted above. Even with all the apps released, I don’t think the power of this kind of device is even close to being fully utilized. With iPads being on the market for less than a year and with a whole slew of tablets from the “other guys” we are bound to see prices drop, features increase and innovation increase. While the iPad is not a total computer replacement for most people, it definitely will replace a good part of our home usage.