A Few Early iPad Impressions

I’ve had the iPad for a tick more than 24hrs and its definitely something that fits into most of what I want for a computing appliance. It is too much though, and I can see getting rid of it at some point, but until then, there are aspects of using it that I can totally say that I’m enjoying.

First, my usage: I live on my N97 (typing this post on it right now). The iPad exists for me as a device to consume and share content. I’m not interested in apps (there might be 2 or 3 tops that I install for regular usage), and I don’t do iTunes. That being said, I’m growing to see the appeal of Mobile Safari on a screen of this size.

You see, I spend most of my time with anywhere from 4 to 9 browser windows open. Each of these open to sites where I’m sharing or consuming all types of information. And with the exception of a few javaScript-heavy sites, its been very much a flawless web experience.

Yes, it’s not able to do Flash video, and much of the YouTube videos that I’ve come across are fine. But there are those moments, such as when reviewing highlights of the NBA playoffs, where I’m miffed that things don’t show. It wouldn’t be a major issue, but my N97 can’t see those either because of how Flash is implemented on those sites and on the N97.

The iPad has some very nice battery life. It keeps me out of the house for the most part (which is good). I’ve gone for a few 4hr stints with about a 25-35% hit on the battery with it connected to Wi-Fi the entire time. Very impressive.

The onscreen keyboard is ok. In portrait mode, I’m learning still what works best. In landscape, I’m just rolling along. It’s pretty amazing how similar the landscape keyboard is to the Apple Wireless keyboard – the main difference being the feedback from the physical keyboard. The predicitve text and text correction have also done well, but some words needed a good bit of help before being accepted.

It is a conversation piece. People are a bit amazed to find that I’m not an Apple fan – at least not one who goes out and uses/buys everything that Apple makes. I appreciate the attention they put into hardware and software design. And can even, because of how well they have designed it, see the issues clearly. But, when I sit and just use it, the device fades away and I just enjoy the web. This is as it should be with any computing device – it should go away and the experience of whatever is happening is just enjoyed.

Things I don’t want on the iPad: a camera, more RAM (I’ve got the 16GB version), 3G (my N97 is fine there, thanks), a higher resolution screen.

Things I do want: better gestures within the web browser, a tap-and-hold-the-home-button to bring up recently accessed apps; and a customizable picture on the standby screen.

All in all, its been about a day and I’m impressed. Not overwhelmed by it, just impressed. The fact that I’m not running after apps or pushing it so far means that I’m enjoying it more. This is a lesson I learned with my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, and its serving me very well here. I also can see how it just fits into a certain kind of living – mine that has a lot of websites per day, this is perfect. It is also a social device, doing board games or reading with my little kid friends would be fun with this.

Don’t count me an Apple fan, but I know a good product when I see/play with it. And yes, I’m not convinced that its a revolution, but between what I use it for, and how my N97 is learning me with Nokia Bots, I think we are on teh verge of some neat stuff in terms of computing. The next evolutionary devices should be really cool (XBox Natal, I’m calling you out, hehehe).