Three weeks have passed, and the Apple iPad news coverage hasn’t stopped. My last blog post was prior to the April 3 iPad product launch, and I was pretty excited.
I had no idea what to expect on the morning of April 3. I half expected to see nearly noone at the store, and I half expected to see a long line of people who had spent the night trying to be first in line. I was wrong on both counts. I arrived in Pasadena just a couple of minutes before the 9:00 am opening of the Apple Store. There were two lines: one line for people with pre-orders, one line for general public. The line was less than half the block, running from the Apple Store entrance to the corner of the block. Since I had a pre-order, I got in the pre-order line. By 9:32 am, I was leaving the store, new iPad in hand, purchase completed.
I picked up the low-end 16 gig iPad and the $40 Apple iPad cover. The salesman tried to up-sell me on MobileMe, and tried to get me to purchase a larger capacity iPad. I resisted all the techno-temptations, swiped my credit card, and got back to my apartment ASAP.
One thing my salesman did right was ask if I had an iTunes account, telling me that the iPad wouldn’t work until it had been synced with a computer. He offered to walk through the initial setup process in the store right then. So I didn’t understand a lot of the complaints I’d heard online about iPad requiring a computer to set up. My salesman had notified me of the requirement and had offered to do the deed right there before I left the store. Maybe all Apple Stores aren’t so thorough with training the sales staff?
Since I’d owned an iPhone, I knew what to expect. I launched iTunes and plugged in the iPad. The system synced with my old iPhone backup, restoring all my old apps and data. Pretty slick.
Once I got to actually using the iPad, I realized the iPhone apps were really unattractive in both the 1x and 2x scaling. Thankfully, most of the apps I liked and used have been updated in the last three weeks. (Canabalt and Mazefinger are two exceptions — they look and work just fine at 2x mode.)
The on-screen keyboard isn’t something I’d want to have to do a lot of writing on. I HATE the iPhone keyboard, and the only thing that makes the iPad keyboard more tolerable is the larger size, especially in the horizontal position.
I love the orientation locking switch, and keep it horizontal nearly all the time.
The only real negative experiences I have had with the iPad have to do with the application switching mechanic. The iPhone OS upgrade coming will make multitasking easier.
As I’ve discussed frequently in my Twitter and FaceBook feeds, I support Apple’s refusal to allow Flash on the iPhone OS. If they did, then developers would produce ugly apps for the lowest common denominator, and that would serve the interests of lazy developers only. More bad apps, anyone? I didn’t think so. So far, I’ve only visited one website that required Flash to do what I wanted to do, and it was Acrobat.com. There are other document sharing systems out there, so competition serves the consumer yet again.
I was happy to see Amazon had released a Kindle app for iPad. Unfortunately, the Kindle app is terrible. The best thing I can say about the Kindle app is that it exists. If you have a Kindle and/or an iPhone, you can now read your books everywhere — desktop, iPhone, iPad, Kindle — and that portability is fantastic. (Is there a Kindle app for Android? If not, there needs to be.) I really hope that Amazon doesn’t scrimp on supporting and enhancing the Kindle iPad app — I want it to be good, for competition spurs innovation and is good for customers.
The Apple iBooks app is a nice experience for a 1.0 version, but they need to offer better fonts in the settings options. I absolutely agree with some criticisms I’ve read about typography on the iPad.
In some cases, third party, single-book apps are better than ebooks from either Amazon or Apple. One notable example is the free ESV Bible HD — it is beautiful and a better reading experience.
I haven’t purchased any of the iWork apps: Numbers, Keynote, Pages. I’m a heavy Google user, and my expectation is/was to use Google Docs, since that is where my important documents already live. The experience of using Google Docs on the iPad’s browser isn’t the same as on the desktop, and it has been disappointing. After reading some of the problems with managing iWork documents on the iPad, I’m torn between just tolerating the Google Docs until they can iron out the glitches vs. using the Office2 HD app ($7.99) as an interface to the Google apps.
I’m still looking for a decent project management and /or task and todo list method. I’ve tried several of the free task and to do apps, and they have ugly interfaces. I may end up buying Toodledo ($2.99) which syncs with the toodledo.com website.
Quite a number of other apps I’ve been used to on the iPhone are no longer needed on the iPad. Facebook on the iPhone was great, but there just isn’t the need for a Facebook app on iPad. And there are just as many iPhone apps that I wish would get the HD treatment for the iPad screen. But we’re still in early days, and developers are working hard, not just in converting existing apps but also innovating new uses for the platform.
I occasionally wish I could run iPhone or iPad apps on my MacBook Pro.
Some of my favorite iPad apps not mentioned above:
I’ve been watching the remake of “V” on the iPad. “V” is much, much better than I had ever expected it to be. This app is slick.
The Early Edition
A newspaper-like method for reading your RSS feeds.
USA Today for iPad
Similar to the USA Today app for Android, this is a nice interface for news. Who knew that USA Today could be so cool?
TweetDeck for iPad
My favorite desktop Twitter client, YAY!
Streaming video on demand. Very nice! I am very aware that this app exists for the only reason that Apple has refused to allow Flash on the iPhone OS. And I don’t mind that Netflix was required to either convert their web based service to HTML5 video or create a custom app for the iPad. They had the choice, and the results are good. If and when Netflix converts to HTML5, then iPad users will have a choice of web interface or iPad app, and that’s fine, too.
One method for taking notes, syncs with evernote.com for viewing on the Web or smartphone.
NPR for iPad
Interesting interface, a must have for NPR addicts.
If you blog on wordpress.com or your self-hosted WordPress blog, then this app is a nice interface when you’re using your iPad.
This is one app that will benefit from the upcoming OS upgrade.
What apps are you living with and loving? Let me know!