The following is an account of one user’s trials and tribulations being among the first adopters of Apple’s latest and greatest technology, the iPad.
It’s been 30 days since the iPad has found its way into my hands. Has it lost its charm or is it still magical and revolutionary? Though far from perfection, I believe I’ve found the word (of course, after scanning pages from it on Webster’s) that sums up my iPad experience to date – Addictive.
The Release (Saturday, April 3rd 7:00am)
I was one of the first in line for Apple’s iPad release. Surprisingly, the other enthusiasts and I were greeted by Apple Store employees offering free coffee and donuts – a small consolation for the $500 we were about to drop on the iPad.
At 8:30am, a whole half hour before doors open, the front of the line began to cheer. One curious fellow jumped out of line to see what was going on. As he got back he informed us “They just put it on display. The screen looks great!” The excitement in the air reaffirmed this was history in the making; for the iPad had finally arrived.
30 Days Later (Saturday, May 2nd)
Typical day with the iPad
Alarm, shower, and get ready. I pick up my iPad and sit on the recliner. I visit my favorite site http://oursignal.com and find the data visualization feed functions nicely on the device. Minutes before I walk out the door for work I sift through my e-mails. Quickly I shove the iPad in my backpack and head out. While sitting in the bus I open up iBooks to finish reading Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. The cafe near Sitelab has free WiFi and you know what that means…lunch time is “iPad time”.
In the evenings, I like to sit close to my wife on our couch and surf the web while she watches her favorite cooking show. If I were to choose a second word to sum up my iPad experience it would be Freedom.
With the iPad, I browse the Internet, read books, and watch videos – nothing magical or revolutionary here. The only miraculous thing it’s managed to accomplish is to free me from the shackles of my man cave. No longer am I confined to an office, chair, table, lap, or even shoulder position. Should I decide to rest my back on the floor and read a blog about the Zombie Apocalypse, I can. Unlike my computer or television I don’t stare at it – the iPad stares at me.
As I mentioned, the iPad is not perfect. First, it’s a fingerprint magnet and wiping the screen with a cloth has become an annoying ritual. Compared to a laptop, the iPad is lightweight. However the iPad still not light enough to hold with one hand for long periods of time.
From the moment I turned it on, I noticed how quick and responsive it is to load. Technically, you have to first connect it to iTunes to activate it. Apple made it very clear that the iPad is not going to replace laptops any time soon.
My biggest issue with the device is the screen. It is so shiny it is nearly impossible to use it in direct sunlight. Forget the hopes of using it in my patio. Surprisingly, the iPhone is more readable than the iPad in the sun. And there is that other issue you may have heard about – no Adobe Flash.
To be honest, the lack of Flash is not as bad as I thought. YouTube, Netflix, and TED have plenty of videos to offer. And thanks to the rise in jQuery use, most sites function just fine without Flash. Last week I missed an episode of Lost and was able to catch up the next day using ABC’s free iPad App. As a Flash programmer I’m a little disappointed; as a user I hardly miss it.
iPad Pros: Lightweight, portable, decent size screen. Starts up very quickly (much faster than my G5 Macbook). Freedom to browse the web anywhere, comfortably. Ultimate PDF reader. 10 hour battery life is enough for a day’s use.
iPad Cons: Fingerprints (collect much more than the iPhone). Glossy screen doesn’t display well in sunlight. 3rd party apps are buggy. Issues streaming HD Videos. Touch event has a slight lag.
Again A-D-D-I-C-T-I-V-E. Despite its flaws, the iPad is an awesome device that’s hard to put down. Describing it as magical may be overkill, though I have experienced some special moments with it. The smile on my dad’s face while he played a game of pinball was a perfect Kodak moment. Sharing photos with my mom was a fun way to relive our last vacation. One Saturday morning my wife and I decided to eat a bowl of Lucky Charms in bed while watching the first episode of Voltron on NetFlix.
So now does my 13″ Macbook feel like a clunky piece of machinery? You bet it does. The iPad is my window to the world and it’s been worth every dollar.