Saturday morning my neighbour Oliver and I drove down the hill in search of iPads. After finding 30 people ahead of us at Magnum Mac I held a place in the queue while Oliver scouted out Harvey Norman.
A few moments later he called to say he was the only one there, and there were plenty of iPads in stock. With a friendly wave to the queue buddy I’d been talking to I went to join Oliver.
Within a few minutes, after considering (and in my case rejecting) various accessories, we were on our way home with our new goodies. The line at Magnum Mac was still to the door and didn’t seem to be moving.
My prize was the 32Gb 3G/WiFi iPad with a free Vodafone MicroSIM. Now I’m waiting for the Nutshell iPad case to be available — I have one of their cases for my iPhone and love it.
The biggest problem with the iPad: it’s addictive
I plugged the new device in to my Mac, did updates and synchronised it. That all went fairly smoothly. Then I spent a day and a half playing with it. It’s addictive. The battery lasts for a very long time — after around 9 hours use the charge was down to 25% or so and I plugged it in. There’s no reason to put the darned thing down.
My first, and so far enduring impression: I love it!
Other problems with the iPad
Some small annoyances did emerge as I used the iPad.
The keyboard layout is a little different from the iPhone. My usual hunt and peck is a little slower. Also, because the virtual keyboard is larger than on the iPhone I have to move my hand around a whole lot more. Sometimes my hand brushes a key as I move over it and I type unwanted letters.
Usernames and passwords
I synchronised the device; I didn’t restore my iPhone or iPod touch to it. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but I have to enter usernames and passwords into all the apps that require such things. I already did that on 2 other devices, can’t iTunes pass that information across too? I seem to need a lot of usernames and passwords, and these days they’re often reasonable secure. Talk about annoying!
Some of the apps I use have separate versions for iPad. I’ve had to buy a couple of updates. That’s OK, I don’t mind that. What I wish the iPad would do is scan the apps and tell me which ones have an iPad version / update. Instead I’m going to the App Store and searching manually. Tedious.
Oh, and most iPhone versions of apps look terrible when scaled up to iPad size, and don’t seem to rotate.
I prefer to use the web interface for GMail. That actually works surprisingly well on the iPhone. On the iPad it does a gorgeous 2-paned layout, with the list of messages on the left and the full individual selected message on the right. It’s very nice. But I wish it wouldn’t:
- automatically select and display the next message after I delete the one I’m reading. I don’t always want to read the next message in sequence, and I save some as unread for later attention.
- revert to the Inbox all the time. I actually really only want to see a list of All Mail.
Switching from the Mobile GMail version to the Desktop version was a total disaster. It was impossible to properly select things or scroll.
Buzz Aldrin Portal To Science and Space Exploration
I bought the iPad version of this app as it looked interesting and I saw a few positive reviews. Obviously it works for others, but not for me. I’ve contacted the Helpdesk for support. For me it opens, displays no info and then quits if I try to select things from the toolbar at the bottom of the window.
An Aperture glitch
One other small problem appeared while writing this: I can’t seem to import screenshots straight into Aperture, as the iPad just doesn’t show up. I used Image Capture to import these screenshots, and then imported them into Aperture from my hard drive.
The fabulous iPad
I really only listed those annoyances above so I could get them out of the way. I love this iPad. It’s gorgeous. It rotates any which way. It’s fast. It has sound (my much-used 1st generation iPod touch didn’t have speakers).
Videos are fabulous. I can easily rest the iPad on my lap while I eat breakfast and watch a video. I plugged the iPad into small external speakers for extra volume while I listened to a podcast and washed dishes. That went well.
Osfoora for Twitter
The Twitter application Osfoora is excellent on an iPhone. On the iPad it’s magnificent. I prefer the light theme, rather than the dark one you see on their web page. Hold the iPad in portrait orientation and you see the timeline. Rotate it and it displays a 2-paned view. Photos pop up in a separate window.
I’m discovering all kinds of wonderful apps in the App Store. All the extra screen real estate makes a huge difference to how software can and does work.
If you don’t have an iPad yourself visit your local supplier of Apple products and try one out.