Saturday, May 1, 2010

The age of the iPad

Ah, yes. I finally got my hands on an iPad. Yes, I know I'm a month late, coming to the party, but. I really wanted to wait for the 3G iPad. There's been a lot of chatter about which device users should choose. I suspect it depends on how you look at things. If the iPad is primarily a couch computer for media consumption, then WiFi is for you. If it's primarily a mobile device, then you'll want 3G. Personally, I prefer to work outside the house/office as much as possible. So, I'm mobile all the way.

I've only spent a few hours with the device so far, so it's too early to give anything but very superficial initial reactions.

In general, I love the richer UI. There are so many more possibilities than on the iPhone. But, of course, with great power comes great responsibility. Some iPad apps actually feel a lot less useful than their iPhone equivalents I'm looking at you, Mail. Admittedly, I'm trying to use Mail to manage four different email accounts. But, bopping between accounts never bothered me on the iPhone. On the iPad, however, it feels a lot clunkier.

Similarly, I love having official support for transferring documents to and from the iPad. I don't even mind having to physically plug the iPad into my computer (though Mobile Me based document syncing would totally rock...just sayin'). But, why oh why has apple forced us into a process that must be 100% manual! Ok, fine. Funnel everything through iTunes. I'm OK with that too. But please, let the app drop boxes appear as folders or drives in the finder. Or, at the very least, give us Automator or AppleScript support for slurping these files around.

Most surprisingly, I find the onscreen keyboard much more useful than I would had expected. With the help of the autocorrection, I can type at almost full speed. I mean, I've written this entire post on my iPad. I'd never have managed anything this length using the iPhone keyboard. And I'll probably get faster as I use it more. While a Bluetooth keyboard would br nice, I think I'll favor mobility over raw typing speed, and just go commando.

Well, that's it for now. I'm going to give myself a couple days to just explore the device as a user, before I really start looking at it as a developer.


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