I’m writing this on my ipad, from the bus, really just to see if I can and how well it works (and how much the motion sickness will hit me by the time I’m done). Note: the preceding sentence was unfortunately all that i recovered after I accidentally quit without saving. But i can tell you i wrote a lot, and am mild to moderately queasy now, but am at a computer to finish it up. Not for any reasons other than there’s just nothing better than a 27″ screen!
Why am I so bullish on the iPad? In a nutshell, it does 80% (or more) of the things most people need to do with their computers in their home life. Here’s a quick rundown on the 5 major components of “common use computing” and the iPad’s “fit” to task…
Email is either top or the 2nd-most important personal computing task. Email on the iPad works great, especially for typical “staying in touch” emails, forwarding along urban myths, sharing funny videos, and all the things most people use email for on a day-to-day basis. As my last time stating it – this is not about office computing, nor those who are taking office computing tasks and doing them at home!
- Web surfing.
Again, either 2nd or top on personal activities is simple Web surfing. Facebook, YouTube, viewing photos, reading stuff, playing games, etc. While there is a major drawback in the lack of Flash, the reality is this will change one way or the other (in other words: either less Flash on the Web, or Flash comes to the iPad) sooner or later. In my weekend’s worth of use I encountered flash twice, though on the other end my cousin’s kids were rendered practically useless to visit the sites they frequent. Safari on the iPad is a very nice browsing experience, though I believe it could be improved a lot – tabs, for example, probably do make sense (where they didn’t on the iPhone). In the “80%” view, it’s definitely above satisfactory.
- Media consumption & playback.
“Stellar” is probably the right word I have to describe the iPad as a media device. Video looks amazing, music playback is the same as any iPod, it just works great. My wife’s already streamed a Netflix movie, and I’ve synced kid videos from our Flip (they actually look better than they do on the higher resolution screen of the MacBook). Moving to mixed media types, well there’s again, the lack of Flash, but the YouTube app works well enough, Marvel has a very interesting comic book reader, and I expect we’ll see other new forms of content coming soon. Again, there are quirks, but it’s overall one of the best media players I’ve seen.
- Simple productivity.
Most people don’t need PivotTables, Custom Animation, and WordArt. They need basic spreadsheets, simple presentations, and light document editing and creation. For a fee, those features are available for those who’d like them, and my hunch is you’ll see a lot more show up in the coming months. Those apps plus EverNote, WordPress, and others enable some very light touch (or is that multi-touch) ways to continue to manage non Web-content on the iPad.
Gaming on the iPad is great, though it does not replace PC gaming at all (hence the magic 80% number). Further, initial reviews of some “power games” for the iPad, such as Command and Conquer, imply it can do a lot more than just labyrinth. I do feel the power-gaming community will not ebb from their platforms, but I do think the iPad will represent a lot of new gaming potential for both casual and heavy gamers.
I will maintain my statement that the iPad is ushering in a new era of gadgetry, in fact it’s probably going to change the way we think about computers in the future. There are, and always will be, complaints and criticisms of new products. It doesn’t quite do everything as perfectly as possible. Yup, check, that is true to all things. But perfection is not, and never will be, delivered by any kind of gadget or technology. There’s always going to be something it misses out on. But then again, when was the last time you bought a $500 device to help you fold a t-shirt? So there!
And for those of you who still feel “it could be more” or complain about the lack of a camera, here’s a video reminder for you to enjoy…