Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

My iPad Review

Wi-Fi iPad One week before my home computer was stolen from my living room, the iPad was announced. After watching the initial video, I figured I might want to get one. Fast forward to iPad release day. I was skiing with a friend in Winter Park as I was scratching my head trying to come up with good Easter presents for my kids. Then it hit me: An iPad would be an excellent Easter gift for my kids.

I called the Cherry Creek Apple store and asked if they had any left. They said they did, but they'd likely be sold out before the end of the day. I arrived back in Denver around 3 and was 2nd in line at the Apple Store at 3:30. 5 minutes later, I walked out with an iPad. They were sold out of 32GB models, so I went with the 64GB.

CNET has a good about the 5 Reasons NOT to get an iPad. There #1 reason is great: because you don't need one. They're absolutely right, I didn't need an iPad. I wanted a new home computer so I don't have to pack my MacBook Pro back and forth to the office. However, I realized that most of the time I'm at home, I'm not doing much hard-core computing. Most of the time, I'm checking e-mail, reading Twitter or reading articles. So I bought it because it was cheaper than a new home computer, but I also realize it's not a computer replacement.

It's really just a big iPhone.

In every aspect, it's a larger iPhone. Abbie's first words when she opened it on Easter Sunday were "It's a big phone!" It is a big iPhone, but it's much more pleasant for reading articles and e-mail. Beyond that, it seems good for games, but it's certainly not super-duper fantastico. It's a bit heavy; too heavy to read as you would a book. After holding it for an hour or two last night, my left hand started to get sore. Also, its keyboard sucks. Maybe I'll get used to it in the long run, but without the tactile feedback of keys, it can be difficult to type without looking. The other things I don't like about it are:

  • There are very few good apps (iPhone apps work, but they're small).
  • The screen gets dirty quickly and it looks kinda gross when it's not lit up.
  • The Photos app doesn't work at all for me. It says "Updating Library" when I open it, then crashes several seconds later. Maybe I have too many pictures (12.5K items, 28.5 GB).
  • When it's synching with my laptop, it constantly connects and reconnects and makes a loud noise each time.

I took the iPad to work on Monday and received some interesting feedback from co-workers.

There are some good things about it. First of all, it's wicked fast. Apps *pop* and load their data very quickly. Way faster than my iPhone and faster than both my MacBook Pro and the powerhouse Mac Pro I use at work.

I really like the newspaper apps for reading the latest news articles. I'm not much of a news person, but there's a good chance I read more of it because the apps are so pleasing to the eye. Also, the Netflix app sucked me in as soon as I started reading about it. I've bought my kids several movies on iTunes, but there's still not a huge selection to choose from. With Netflix and its live streaming, we have seemingly thousands of movies to choose from and they're all a touch away. The Mail app is also pleasant to use, possibly moreso than Mail.app on OS X and Gmail in any ol' browser.

There's a good bit of me that's underwhelmed with the device, but I think it has a lot of potential when more apps start appearing. It also seems to need some accessories right away: namely a case to carry it in and a shield to keep clean. I could also see getting a stand for it to enhance its digital picture frame feature. If I could plug it into my HD TV, it might even eliminate my need for OnDemand Movies and DVDs.

I think the biggest potential for the iPad is kids, baby boomers and couples. There's a good chance all of these demographics have a real computer in their home, but the head of household doesn't want to spring for two. Take my mom for instance, she wants an iPad for e-mail because my dad always hogs their iMac. My kids aren't that enthralled with it, but it took them awhile to appreciate the Wii and iPhone. With the Wii, it was the Super Mario Bros. game that reeled them in. Same story with my iPhone; they love the games.

My guess is the real attraction of the iPad will be the apps that are built for it. I can't wait to see what developers come up with.

Posted in Mac OS X at Apr 06 2010, 10:51:22 PM MDT 9 Comments
Comments:

Raible,

I must say you make some valid points here. I recently purchased the new iPad and within 24 hours returned it to Apple. Please note I am an Apple shop across the board but the iPad just couldn't fit into the day to day technology that is needed. It's funny to find out your child out of the gate referred to this as an over sized iPHone (phone), its exactly what it is with less features.

Things that I wasn't a fan of:

  • no 3g connection, coming soon which means everyone has purchase a new device
  • keyboard, no functionality at all, welcome to typing 101
  • no docking station for multi-screen or HD Tv, Netflix is not a bad option but holding onto it the entire time, not so much
  • Apps- good point in your article, very few apps but this will develop
  • additional charge for keynote, pages, numbers? what the heck, I already purchased iWork, you can't make that work?

Things to think about:

  • kindle replacement? hell yeah, not just a kindle but now more features for a $200 more?
  • email support- good when you don't have your computer with you and to your point, good cheap computer
  • keyboard integration w/ Bluetooth keyboard (haven't tested but what I heard from the Apple Genius)
  • Larger Remote for TV/entertainment system with a mac mini

With all this hype on the new shiny Apple device it will be interesting to see how people react when they have to purchase new devices that are released (similar to the iPHone) and compared to the new Tablets coming out.....does the iPad really compete or is more of a COOL factor?

only time will tell..........my view of the iPad, it should be called iPass and wait for 2.0 or 3.0....

-telecombum

Posted by telecombum on April 06, 2010 at 11:10 PM MDT #

I'm waiting for Hasbro to release a Monopoly version for iPad. Preferably with no 3D and camera rotations please, just old good Monopoly.

Posted by Val on April 07, 2010 at 12:18 AM MDT #

This is a good unbiased hands on review. I would have considered buying the iPad too if I were in your situation, I believe it can actually be a perfect PC replacement for media consuption and light tasks like twittering, etc.

The problem, as you pointed out, it's in the ergonomics flaws of the iPad that make it impossible to hold for more than a couple of hours, even with two hands. Maybe it's just too big, and I guess that a smaller one wouldn't be as "magical".

Posted by BeAloud on April 07, 2010 at 02:55 AM MDT #

Hello Matt,

What about the fact that Flash is not supported? I think that's a huge miss for Apple. Steve Jobs stated that the iPad provides "the best web surfing experience you'll ever have". Considering the current Flash market penetration, specially on entertainment sites, I don't think it's going to be a pleasant experience with all the broken plugins. Do you think HTML5 will catch up soon as Jobs expects it?

Posted by baezman on April 07, 2010 at 04:37 PM MDT #

[Trackback] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mraible: My iPad Review: http://raibledesigns.com/rd/entry/my_ipad_review

Posted by uberVU - social comments on April 07, 2010 at 09:01 PM MDT #

@baezman - I think it's unfortunate that the iPhone/iPad don't support Flash. However, I also have a hunch it's because the Flash player is such a memory hog on OS X. They simply didn't want Flash crashing apps.

Personally, when using the iPad to browse the web, I haven't encountered a lot of sites using Flash. Some, like ESPN.com, quickly show an "install flash" icon and then you see a video that you can play. This video uses HTML5. I think a lot of video providers will use a similar technique. It's either that or swapping in a QuickTime version and letting the native player play it.

I'm not sure which technique is best, but I'll be creating an HTML5 player for a project I'm working on.

Posted by Matt Raible on April 08, 2010 at 12:03 AM MDT #

For the price you paid for the iPad you can surely buy a computer or even two cheap netbooks.

FTFY: Also, its keyboard sucks.

Posted by Ubersoldat on April 12, 2010 at 03:53 AM MDT #

@Ubersoldat - thanks, typo fixed.

Posted by Matt Raible on April 12, 2010 at 10:31 AM MDT #

"First of all, it's wicked fast. Apps *pop* and load their data very quickly. "

Awesome. So, compared to the Atari system I got in 1978, where the game started as soon as you turned the system on, would you say the apps load faster or slower?

Yeah, I know. We really never have done better than that Atari.

Great review.

Posted by Cameron McKenzie on April 14, 2010 at 12:18 PM MDT #

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