Paul McAleer

One Week with the iPad

Paul McAleer

I’ve now owned an iPad for a week and wanted to share my initial thoughts on it.

First, most of my predictions back in January about how I would use the iPad were correct. My overall usage of the MacBook has fallen off a cliff. Last Sunday I spent maybe 15 minutes with it, mostly getting the iPad synced. I used it about 5 hours during the week to do some work. And I’m using it now, mostly to update our budget (the program we use is Mac only.) In contrast I use the iPad on my commute (2 hours each day), up to 30 minutes over lunch, and pretty much for all of my casual computing at home - an embarrassing amount of time which I won’t share here. I’ll just say that my iPad usage is significant.

One thing I noticed is that the OS definitely forces me to consider my tasks differently. I noticed that I’m doing a lot less idle web surfing. While I still goof around on the web, killing time, it’s less. I imagine some of that time was taken up playing The Incident. But I’ve actually come to appreciate the single track mind of the iPad. Twitterrific helps make Twitter feel more focused and useful, and I’ve come to like it much more than Tweetie on the Mac.

The keyboard is surprisingly usable, although there are a few things I dislike. I hate not having a hyphen on the main keyboard, I hate having to hold down the comma key to get an apostrophe, and I all too often switch keyboards when attempting to press Shift.

Instapaper is my main application here and it doesn’t disappoint (except when multi-page articles aren’t captured properly.) It’s dead simple to save up stuff for later and then read it on the train. It is so, so nice.

The Notes application is sufficient but just barely. It feels bulky and awkward. It’s like using TextWrangler for quick notes on the Mac: it works, but it’s not really the best tool for the job.

I really need a case for it. While my fantastic Timbuk2 Blogger 2.0 bag (highly recommended) includes a padded compartment, there’s no comfortable way to carry it around. I’m saving my pennies for the DODOcase.

All told, I’m very happy with this device. It’s incredibly impressive: the build quality is just about perfect, the OS is rock solid, and it never gets in the way of getting to your app/website/content. It truly is the first big stab at changing the way we interact with computers and I think it’s terribly successful.