Two weeks with an Ipad

I’ve had an ipad on loan for the last two weeks and it’s been different to what I expected. Of course I want one, but I’ve been through a range of feelings about it, from dismissing it as a toy, to seeing some potential for students esp in early years to seeing it a great tool to travel with, to wondering exactly where it fits.

So, after two weeks of waking up to read THE AGE on the ipad and using it to check the rainfall radar before a bike ride, here’s my impressions:

It’s entirely personal = it’s not that shareable
Borrowing someone else’s ipad is not entirely satisfactory. It hasn’t got my apps on it and it’s power and effectiveness are diminished by that. Sure, I can check the BOM site or the ‘Guardian’ online but my favourite apps (see future post coming soon) are much more personal than that. I’ve got an ipod touch with about fifty apps that I have carefully selected and chosen for my own taste. An ipad would be different if it had all my own stuff on it, but it hasn’t. And, it made me think what that means for students. Are we going to give them access to a shared ipad with the official school apps on it, or is it going to be their stuff. There’s a big difference.

It doesn’t replace anything
This is a new category. You need a computer as well. You also still need a smart-phone or a PDA.

It doesn’t replace a laptop
The ipad is light, cool, funky, but in the end it’s not all THAT different from having a notebook computer on your lap. In fact, a laptop sits nicely on your … lap. It sort of has its stand built in. If I could only have one of these items, there’d be no question that I’d take the computer any day. Did I mention a handly little input device called the keyboard?

It feels great
It does feel nice. It’s smooth, sculpted, gorgeously thin. I feel smart holding it, and I imagine I’m in some kind of sci-fi movie with such a beautiful, uncluttered object. My notebook computer feels like a big grey brick in comparison.

Battery life
9 or 10 hours they say. I don’t know. I haven’t used it that much so it’s got close to running out yet. I could read a book on it, check my mail, take it down the street for coffee and snuggle up in bed to watch the late news and still never think about plugging the thing in. In comparison, my notebook, even with a flash drive, maxes out at about three hours.

I’m not sure why, but for some reason the ipad screen is 1000 times more gorgeous than my computer screen. Why is it so? It’s clear and glossy and, maybe because I’m using a tablet pc, my screen looks dirty and muddy by comparison.

It’s strangely small
For some reason I thought this was going to be bigger than it is. It’s pretty small. Bigger than my ipod touch sure, but the ipod touch font size is not much different. I wonder if Apple will come up with different sizes eventually.

So, after two weeks, would I buy one? Maybe. But I’m probably going to wait for version 2 and I don’t think it will be a device that’s going to be critical. If I’m working, I’ll have a full powered notebook computer. If I’m in the car of down the street I’ll stick to an iphone, smartphone or ipod touch with wifi. So, ultimately the ipad is a device that’s best for between those two scenarios; best for reading in bed, or in front of the telly.

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