iPad day one

Like a huge number of other folks, i wrangled an iPad for today. I pre-ordered it and waited for UPS to deliver it this morning. It made it into my hands just after noon, and I’ve been poking at it and trying out applications since about 1pm.

Here’s some thoughts and notes in no particular order about my first day with it:

This ain’t no kindle killer… the iBook functionality is nice, but the device is not a one-hander. You’ll prop or couch the device to be comfortable, and you’ll spend a lot of time with it horizontal, just because you get better functionality from a lot of apps that way. IBook is good, but I’m subtly disappointed with it’s interface (it felt kinda slow and “pause”-y) and there wasn’t much of a selection of science fiction… My technical books from PragProg loaded up great though.

Just because it’s not a one-hand-kindle reading killer, this thing is absolutely going to transform media. As a browser, it’s amazedly fast. The media applications, from the WSJ to NPR to ABC and USA Today have all embraced something that’s almost wholly new in this format – a touch beyond what you can do in a browser, and the overall experience with this super-focused interface makes it something different. Just from the day one launch apps, i can see more possibilities coming on the horizon for this kind of content.

iPhone and iPod apps work – but really, really feel like second class citizens next to the apps that have designed for the larger interface. Facebook, for example, is almost more usable directly in safari than through the Facebook application.

The larger screen real estate is wonderful, especially when viewing pictures or video. Some of apple’s own apps aren’t obeying the “turn anytime” rules of the iPad HiG, and you’ll find yourself in landscape rotation just because you get more immediate functionality in most apps from it.

The drawing apps are really nice, as is Pages and Keynote. They are not, however, always super intuitive. They do a good job introducing the interface, but it’s going to be one you learn. Especially Brushes and SketchBook Pro.

Typing in landscape isn’t too bad, but just typing on your leg is a pain because the device is light enough to flop around a bit, making the typing difficult. In portrait mode, you’ll be doing the two finger hunt and peck routine. Hitting the space bar to speed typing is proving difficult for me.

Spelling checking is nice, but ironically the replace mechanism doesn’t always seem to function properly. Dunno what that’s about.

All in all, I love it. It’s the device that I’ll have near the couch all the time, or sitting on the bed stand. I might drag it around a bit just too see how much of a pain that will be, but it really feels more like a hardback book that you’ll keep handy for reading rather than something you might haul where ever like a battered paperback.

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at https://rhonabwy.com/.

2 thoughts on “iPad day one

  1. Joe, would love to know what apps you tried; you mention “drawing apps”, would love to know specifically which ones! Did you try any web apps? I’ve heard the new Google mail is a good example of that.


    1. The drawing apps were:
      SketchBook Pro ($7.99)
      Brushes ($9.99)
      Dudel (free)

      Brushes and SketchBook Pro are the more intensive, detailed applications (as you might imagine) – and learning either of them is on a curve. My initial take away from them is that SketchBook Pro is actually a bit easier to use as an artists sketchpad – only because switching between different kinds of “brushes” seemed much easier with it. I really prefer Brushes organization and interface though.

      Interestingly, SketchBook Pro also shows up with Documents under the “Apps” tab in iTunes when you’re syncing, so you can pull documents directly from the iPad. The whole “document workflow” thing with iPad is obviously super immature at this stage – iWork isn’t anything like I expected (sharing results instead of collaboration), and the means of moving documents in and out of the productivity applications just feels damned quirky right now.

      For web apps, I tried ColorSchemeDesigner.com which worked beautifully on the device, even though it wasn’t made for the iPad specifically. Gmail’s new interface was also very nice, and using it in “portrait mode” I felt like the gmail web interface was superior to Apple’s Mail.app portrait interface (I have several gripes about the usability of that app while in portrait mode). Facebook was another where I thought the web interface was better than the iPad app – but in that case only because there isn’t an “iPad” specific application – just the original iPhone/iPod edition, which feels pretty darn second class on the iPad.


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