Having ordered my iPad to be delivered sometime after April 12th and not at all thrilled to be standing in lines, I had settled into a the comfortable state of monitoring iPad news and seeing friends and others report on the device the first day of release. I was surprised to receive a call from my friend Chris Nordyke, who was standing in our local town’s Mac Store looking at a stack of stocked iPads. There were no lines and no hassles. With a quick cancel of my apple.com order, I was on my way to the store. My Saturday turned into a fun and interactive day, talking and sharing details with other friends who had purchased the device.
Like many, I have been researching the iPad on it’s rumor filled journey to debut. As a web technology and community professional, I have been looking forward to the iPad to supplement my other productivity tools. I was not prepared for what the iPad would offer. To break it down, I use a home and office desktop pc for heavy computing. I have a 6 year old laptop that is reliable, but seriously hobbled due to a short battery life. It will soon be obsolete as Microsoft slowly pushes xp out of commission. My mobile devices are an HTC Eris and an Apple iTouch. Out of all the devices I probably use the iTouch the most to monitor and engage with the non-profit and business communities I am involved with. The apps I use handle everything I need to stay productive and connected. What it lacked was a good word processor and a media reader/viewer of decent size. Basically I was pleased with the iTouch. While traveling or away from my desk it was my device of choice. So I knew that the iPad would supply the same excellent experience as my iTouch, but I was not prepared to be as impressed as I am.
Having the same capabilities on a larger scale would have been enough for me. But it goes way beyond that. The inclusion of a built in microphone allows voice recognition software use (see my list of apps mentioned below) and phone services like Skype. On the iTouch you need the proprietary headphone and mic combo from Apple. Some have complained that it is difficult to type on the device, but I am finding it easy. In fact I am writing this blog on it. The Twitter app that I have come to love on the iTouch is even better in the iPad version. Beyond that, all the the other apps that I use are all slowly releasing iPad version that integrate it’s great functions.
Last, the iPad is just a pleasure to use. It’s rich video and built in stereo speaker make it a great mobile media device. And while games were fun on the itouch, they are mind blowing on the the iPad. It is going to take a while for many apps to catch up to releasing HD versions (there are currently 1,000), but I believe the experience will only get better. (most iPhone/iTouch apps play in a small screen version of their native resolution and can be expanded to the full screen with degraded resolution with a 2x button)
Some have said it is foolish to buy a first generation Apple device, citing the far from great first version of the first iPhone. But really this device feels like it has had a thorough testing and quality evaluation. Like I said before, Apple scored by just building off of it’s senior sibling the iTouch. Yes improvements will come with 2nd and 3rd generations, but it has taken me 6 years for my current mobile computer’s use to run it’s course.
Here is a list of a few of the outstanding apps I have found. What has been your first impressions? I’d love to hear them as well as any great apps discovered.
And yes there are a few things that are a bit annoying, but the fact that it took 3 days to bump into them I don’t think they will be deal breakers for most (no flash support, copy and past between a few apps does not seem to work, and no video camera built in).
Pages– (incredible word processor)
Twittelator Pad (power user Twitter app)
Dropbox (Syncs files with your pc and laptop)
Dragon Dictation (a surprisingly accurate dictation app)
Marvel (Visually stunning comic app)