Paul McAleer

Snap Judgment: iPad

Paul McAleer

I was out running errands with Jackson yesterday morning and remembered, “Hey! Best Buy has iPads!” I stopped in to my local store mid-morning and found no giant crowds; a small number were huddled in the Apple section.

My overall impression is very, very positive. I had already wanted one and still do for sure; checking it out just solidified that. A few points in bullet form:

  • It is indeed heavier than it looks, but it doesn’t feel ridiculously heavy.
  • The back of the demo unit was ever so slightly warm. Not uncomfortable.
  • The on-screen keyboard was surprisingly usable with one hand. One big downside is that if you’re entering a mix of numbers and letters (say, in a password) then you need to switch between two keyboards… very slow. Similarly I let the iPad autocorrect “its” into “It’s” because the apostrophe was on another keyboard too.
  • The multitouch interactions in the Photos app were so clever they made me laugh out loud. The whole way the app works is smart.
  • That reminds me: I need to find a smooth way to get my Lightroom photos into iPhoto without duplication in order to use this thing.
  • iBooks was one of those apps that I couldn’t quite get my brain around, simply because of how staggering it is. “Here are 12 books ready to read. You can buy more.” The reading experience is highly customizable.
  • The Google Maps app was broken (server error.) Too bad.

I had a conversation with Jeani about it last night, mostly trying to contain my geekiness, and it is kind of difficult to explain why this device is so compelling. (I outlined my uses for it back in January.) It doesn’t sound like much when talking about it, honestly; Jeani kept coming back to, “It’s really just a big iPod touch.” And it kind of is, but as you may know, the apps are what make the difference here.

By far I’m most geeked out about Netflix (although we don’t currently have a sub), iBooks, and the 3G.

Incidentally Jeani mentioned that her mom was cross-shopping a Kindle and an iPad, and I’ll be chatting with her about it. Late last night though, I had a big realization: they have Netflix, so if she gets an iPad she can do the streaming thing. I think that would totally blow her mind as well as my father-in-law’s. The best part though is that the setup is dead simple, and there’s no tech support calls involved. Can you imagine? No downloading and installing Silverlight, ensuring the plugin works, restarting Safari, etc. - just get the app, and you’re on your way.

And that’s why the iPad will win.