iPad first impressions

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 9:51 PM | comments: 2

Finally scored an iPad. When they announced the first version, I was totally going to buy one. Then I never did. As a lover of many things shiny and aluminum, with an Apple logo, I still couldn't really justify it. It didn't really fit any particular need that I had.

More than a year has passed, and they released the second version. The biggest difference between now and then is that I'm not sitting under five digits of debt. I also feel like, professionally, it just feels like I should have one. I build stuff for the Web, and at work I should probably be keyed in on novel uses for the form factor. I got a 32 gig model, Wi-Fi only. I've noticed even with my phone that it's rare that I'm away from Wi-Fi, and couldn't justify the cost of getting a 3G model.

The updated version is definitely nicer in terms of the feel of the device. I don't know if the thin matters, but the edges are more tapered. The smart cover is brilliant, not just in its design, but in its ability to generate a ton of cash with a ridiculously high margin. It's surprisingly heavy.

I was pleased to see that a number of the apps I already had for the iPhones required no special treatment to provide the tablet experience. My favorite apps might already be the Comcast Xfinity and AppleTV/iTunes Remote apps, to turn the thing into a glorified remote control. I dig that.

I don't know how much it will be used, but the photo browsing is really special. Once I got the last four years of photos sync'd to it, we spent quite a bit of time looking at the bazillion photos of Simon we've accumulated.

Overall, this is the first time I've spent a lot of time with iOS since switching to Windows Phone about six months ago, and truth be told, it feels dated. Where it has evolved, particularly for the purpose of the tablet size, it almost seems like a step backward. For example, the e-mail client has those floating lists of messages, and flipping to a different mailbox seems awkward. I also never thought I'd ever be wishing for a back button to traverse back through apps, but I miss that. The icon grid also seems like a relic compared to live tiles.

The Web browser has crashed a couple of times on me (on Google sites), and the text rendering isn't great on some sites. Not sure I understand that, because text on the Kindle app is beautiful.

Overall, it seems like a great consumption device, which was always my assumption. I'm not sure if it seems like a great form factor for "doing stuff" though. I definitely don't get the general hysteria over it. Just feels like a giant smart phone, which isn't a bad thing. We'll see how my opinion evolves over time.


tigellinus, May 18, 2011, 11:34 AM #

Hey Jeff, did you know Microsoft is now opening retail concept stores in malls, a la Apple!? (aka "church") Not sure if they'll catch on in the same way as Apple's did, but worth a shot I guess....

Jeff, May 18, 2011, 1:10 PM #

Well, yeah, I work for the company. :) We have one here on the east side of Seattle.

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