The new Apple iPad is all the buzz in so many Internet forums and social media platforms. It’s been that way ever since Steve Jobs announced it over a month ago. And despite all of the nay saying And flat out hate for Apple’s newest device, I decided to get the first edition on the day it came out.
Let the record show that I’m not an “Apple fanboy”. Not in the least. In fact, anyone that knows me will tell you that I resist most things Apple and use PCs both at home and at work. I have an iPhone 3GS which I did not buy when it first came out. In fact, I had to be persuaded by people I trust to make the switch from Verizon to AT&T (which I hate). However, since having the iPhone I’ve become increasingly more accepting of Apple products. The iPhone really has been a game changer and I saw the opportunity for the iPad to do the same for me, on a larger scale.
So why the iPad and why the first edition?
I was in the market for a small laptop for use when meeting with clients and for surfing and working from my couch or front porch (which is where I’m typing this on my iPad right now). I had been looking at netbooks and laptops when I heard the rumors about an iPad, so I decided to hold out. When Jobs announced I could get my hands on one for $499 I was shocked. So I did just that. I pre-ordered one of the $499 models and picked it up the day it came out.
I chose the smallest iPad because it made the most sense. It’s a brand new device, and as with most Apple products, there will be a bigger, badder, cheaper version within the year. It’s also in the same price range I was looking to spend on my small laptop, so it was affordable. The 3G model is coming out soon, and most people said, “why not wait for that?” Well, I don’t really want to give AT&T any more of my money (3G is an extra $20 per month) and I don’t really plan on using the device in areas without WiFi. If I had bought a laptop as I had originally, planned, the 3G wouldn’t have been an option anyway.
As with most Apple products, the packaging is great. Minimal, sleek, and basically begging to be opened. (For some reason I’ve hung on to the packaging from every Apple product I’ve purchased back to my first iPod).
It was fully charged and worked right out of the box, with no software to install–a blessing for PC users. I just turned it on and it worked. I was surprised at it’s weight (1.5 lbs). It was a little heavier than I expected but certainly not a negative nor has it been an issue at all in over a week of use. (For full specs click here)
I synced it to iTunes and threw some photo albums and music on just to see how Photos and iPod function on the iPad. The Photo functionality was pretty cool, with the “pinch and peak” preview and slideshow functions that you may have seen on the iPad commercial. The iPod didn’t really wow me, basically just a big iPod.
After syncing up I put my new iPad in the Apple case I also purchased (for $39.00). There was a non-Apple version but it was more expensive and bulkier.
The case is a tight fit but it allows me to stand the iPad up making it more functional. It also gives the iPad a layer of protection. The case can be a bit wobbly at times but in general works well. The only other downside to the case I’ve noticed so far is that it collects dirt around the edges of the screen and the iPad needs to be removed every now and then to be cleaned. My recommendation, spend the extra $39 if you get the iPad and get this case.
The touch sensitivity is amazing. It seems very accurate and almost intuitive to the touch and desired result. The only issue I’ve noticed is that it can be hard to hit the right button accurately if you are demoing the device to someone else and looking at the screen upside-down. Another problem is finger smudges on the screen. A sweet fix would be a case with a cleaning cloth compartment built in.
Here lies my biggest complaint with the iPad– WiFi connectivity is not always a guarantee. This is a frustrating bugaboo that has left me cussing the iPad on a couple of occasions. Just to test it out, I hooked up Jaclyn’s laptop (a PC), my iPhone and my iPad to our WiFi connection. Guess who had the worst connection? Yup, iPad. I’ve done some poking around on the web, and I found one interesting trick on YouTube. For some reason, the screen brightness sensitivity seems linked to the WiFi strength. Increase your brightness, and signal strength does seem to go up. This has helped curtail my cussing but isn’t a great fix, not to mention it is a bit strange.
Let’s just say there is a reason Apple sells a Bluetooth keyboard and keyboard dock for the iPad (Both about $70). The keyboard is great for little items. It is surprisingly accurate and easy to use, but it’s small and a bit awkward. I’m using it to write this and although it’s going fairly smoothly, it could be going faster. I’m going to be purchasing the Bluetooth keyboard very soon. I’d recommend anyone who plans on using the iPad for typing do the same. If you are just going to browsing the web, playing video games, and using apps, you probably won’t need it.
What makes the iPad tick? Apps baby. And while there are a ton of them available, here are some that I’d recommend:
Evernote– already a great iPhone and desktop app, the iPad version will make any Evernote user very happy. Cost: Free
NPR– interactive news makes news more fun. NPR did a solid job with layout and functionality in this app. You can listen to artists from around the world, read breaking news, listen to audio inside of some articles, and post interesting articles right to facebook. It’s easy to spend some time in this app. Cost: Free
Dragon Dictate– Transcription, instantly. This app is awesome. Record a voice memo with the click of a button and Dragon transcribes the whole thing. With another click you can send the message as a text or email, sweet! Only issue is inaccuracy, which can mean some brief editing. Great time saver. Cost: Free
Wikipanion– Wikipedia on the iPad, so what? Well, that’s what I thought too, until I tried it. The cool thing about this app is that it uses geolocation to pinpoint your current location and then drops pins around you that correspond with Wikipedia entries nearby. I love this app. Cost: Free
Pandora– streaming music that you like and control. It’s an extension of their web service and now it’s more portable on the iPad. iPad speakers are decent so it can work by itself. Cost: Free
TweetDeck– Twitterers out there know this app, and while it’s ok, it’s not great. It does provided you with a big clear picture of your tweets, mentions, DMs and other columns you set up. Cost: Free
To sum up my first seven days with the iPad, it was worth the investment for me. The bright, amazingly clear screen, the wonderful apps, the convenience, the wow factor and the usefulness outweigh my tenuous WiFi connection (hasn’t gone out on me once while typing this outside) and small keyboard (I’ll be rectifying this problem soon enough). I discover new apps every day that blow me away and somehow make me feel more connected. My clients and friends are all amazed (although skeptical at first) and it has become a great asset for my business.
I would recommend the iPad but would not recommend going overboard with a super high end model just yet.