Over the last few days I’ve been lucky enough to read about the hype of the UK iPad launch from my own iPad, which arrived about a month ago.
After seeing a friend’s iPad at a wedding a couple of weeks before that, and seeing him proudly draw a giant penis on it, I had my reservations – aside from having a beautiful screen there were no killer apps, no super connectivity and the keyboard was not up to serious typing.
Now I’ve had my own for a few weeks, here’s why I love it:
- It is the perfect browse the web / read feeds / reply to emails device from the sofa / bed. It is small enough to be ultra-portable but big enough to be a joy to use.
- It’s a brilliant recipe companion. There are a few recipe finder apps already (epicurious in particular is outstanding), and the relatively small footprint makes it more convenient to have an iPad in the kitchen than a laptop.
- Apps like Guardian Eyewitness are beautiful and there are doubtless many more to come.
- Generally – the screen is brilliant and the device is super responsive. The email client is light and sensible and great for catching up. When I go back to my iPhone after using the iPad it feels like someone dipped it in treacle
- Flight Control HD. I’ve written about Flight Control before, but my goodness. Playing it large is super smashing awesome good.
And the dislikes:
- Given that the screen is so good, why is there no camera?
- The array of applications out there right now isn’t too inspiring. There are a million and one piano applications for iPad. Unless you have tiny fingers or are happy with playing chopsticks in a 2-octave range don’t bother. They are universally rubbish (but I am a piano snob)
- Why are eBooks so expensive? For me reading on a screen will always be a downgrade from having a real book, so it makes no sense to me that eBooks are priced more highly than their superior print counterparts. Lots of analysis on this out there: “eBooks must not be devalued as this will depress the true value of the entire market in the future.” [Stephan Butscher, Simon-Kucher & Partners], but I wonder what will happen once Google Editions gets going.
So all in all I feel the iPad is absolutely not a necessity device – it takes tasks which are easily achieved on the iPhone and on your laptop and makes a few of them much, much easier. It is not a replacement for anything per se.
Cory Doctorow posted a few weeks ago on his frustrations with the iPad, Apple’s skewed monopoly on innovation, on what he calls the infantalisation of hardware, on closed vs open.
The points he makes are valid but I feel he quickly dismisses the vast market for whom a closed platform is perfectly fine. A large group of people out there (and I count myself as one of them, most of the time) don’t want to tinker or take their devices apart (perhaps burnt by previous failed attempts at fixing VHS machines or 90s PCs). They just want things to work really well, be beautiful and easy to use. Is that so bad?