iPad: An Experts First Impressions
Feb 2010 06

Well there it is, just look at it! Every pore on the considerable forehead of technology is oozing with the sweat of iPad-mania. Long rumoured, long anticipated and now the day has come I find myself asking: “Is this the revolution I expected?”

To give you some background on where I’m coming from: I’m a graphic and web designer, video editor and an Apple Certified technician. I have had a couple of iMacs, a few G5s I’ve an iPod Touch (Blackberry Bold for my phone -shock horror!). I tell you this because you may well assume that I’d be first in the que for this device.

So with that, lets get the obvious out of the way.  NO! It’s a big iPod Touch with some added functionality in the user interface.  That’s the basic (somewhat ham-fisted) description.

It make sense for Apple to base this new product on such a successful platform as the iPhone OS – theres a built-in compatibility with the App Store so that saves us buying them all over.  Same goes for the other iTunes store offerings.

I find myself asking though – what would I want to use something like this for?

Some say it needs a back camera for taking pictures – I don’t think many would want to whip something that large out to take casual snaps.

Some say it should have a front camera for video conferencing with iChat – it makes logical sense but this capability is around and has been for years in laptops and some smartphones and its under-used.  So I’m not too bothered about that either.

Some even say the keyboard wont be comfortable to type on – they come at it from the angle that you’re typing on glass. My main issue would be “How the hell can I NOT get neckache hunched over my iPad like a vagabond over a bottle of JD?”  It’s a question I ask every day of my life, but now the the iPad is out noone thinks I’m crazy.  Thanks for that Apple.

Apple wants to push the device primarily as an ebook reader or more specifically reading in general (yes I know that’s an oxymoron).  That’s great, I’ve wanted to get me a Kindle or something similar – but this one does video, web and all the rest.  Great.  So erm, wheres all the content?  Just books?  Wheres the magazines?  Yes yes yes I know eventually companies will make it so, but I didn’t see enough of it in the keynote.

On the reading subject does anyone not think that it would make perfect sense (given the iPad has an led display rather than e-paper) that you could invert the colours on screen.  In other words have white text on a black background?  It would save battery power, save your eyes from strain and all that good stuff.

Call me a weakling but do I really want to have to hold this thing up while I get on with my business on it?  For years we’ve been told to make sure our computer screens are the right height to avoid damaging our bodies at work – now we have to hoist it up with one hand and hope the lactic acid doesn’t eat my arm muscles before I’ve finished watching “Techno Viking Don’t Smoke” on Youtube.

That leads me to my next point – why the hell can’t we have flash on the iPad?  Big screen, advanced processor, it seems like a good idea – but no!  Apple and adobe haven’t done it and it sucks.  Why?   Can you imagine a nicely designed Flash-based website on the iPad screen?  Vector sharp graphics and some crazy interaction with your finger and it could take Flash into a whole new area.  Sort it out for the revise iPad Apple!

Wireless sync.  Apple, why don’t you implement this I hear you cry?  Okay, lets see – the 30-pin connector charges, supports accessories and transfers data uninterrupted.  Wireless sync speed is dependent on your network traffic and network speed.  I’d hate for my iPlayer re-run of Eastenders to lag because my iPad is syncing some useless data.  That said I’d be niece to have the option and would be truly futuristic and “magical” (barf)

That said, its an excellent technical exercise which makes a mockery of any prior tablet device (and most netbooks lets face it).  I can really see folks whipping their iPad out on the train, 3G-enabled and getting on with things.  With iPhone apps like Log Me In this device will make a huge difference to remote admin.

All in all, great effort Apple, even with the caveats its one hell of a piece of technology and a very nice and familiar interface to get started on.  Theres plenty of upgrade scope in a device like this so I imagine it’ll be around for a long time.

I have to say a word about the particularly cheesy introduction video on Apples iPad page.  I’ll leave you to decide the relative strength of this cheese but I guess I should be used to it by now!

So so so….. do I like it or not?  Yes, I like it.  No new product is ever going to satisfy everyone, but thats not the point – as long as it satisfy most people most of the time and I think it will.  Is this the revolution I’ve been waiting for? Well I do know this – no other company could do the concept better and that alone makes it worth a chance.

Ofcourse, these are all impressions – I’ve never even seen one in the flesh nor used one, but I can tell you in my experience of Apple products, I know that this one will go on to do well where all others have failed.

I just can’t wait til someone jailbreaks this thing so we can see what it can really do!

Wow! 3 Comments!!! What are your thoughts?

  1. neilzii says:

    This is a good one! Thanks SG!

    I know that as the knowledge spreads about HTML5 it will eventually render Flash as “just an add-on” but I think that is at least a couple of years away at least. The iPad (like the iPhone/iPod Touch) is a dangerously seductive device. I see it as just an ‘access device’ more than a truly escalating one, meaning that it provides what already IS, rather than evolving the landscape for the better and frankly surprises me given that this is a machine made by the great Apple.

    I hope this device opens up a bit because in principle its can be an amazing machine and once they drop their restrictions on Adobe products (like Flash), allow users to work on 2 or more applications at one time and open up many more ways for the user to interact with the device physically this will otherwise be just a big iPod Touch.

    Sony tried this level of restriction and developed mp3 too slow for the MiniDisc and look what happened to that great product – now Sony (who invented portable entertainment) are STILL playing catch up.

    All I can say is watch out for an official Google ChromeOS tablet – thats gonna be the true revolution.

  2. The Jed says:

    That is a nice looking electronic clipboard, it’s a good job that it can do so much:

    Imagine having one of these babies on the go, taking pictures and recording short movies on your phone. When you want to edit and send a nice collection of the media you have gathered. All you need to do is take out your sd card and push it into the sd card slot or plug your phone into the usb port, put the data in a folder and do a quick bit of editing in photoshop cs4 or premiere while listening to your favourite music (while downloading the latest movies from your favourite bittorrent site). Once you are done you save the file to hard disk and then upload it via ftp to your website, doing a quick edit of your site in dreamweaver and then email the rest. Who needs damn netbook with this around?

    Oh wait! what an iDouche! this is a tamPod my bad :P

    Lets hope it comes with coverflow at least so that nothing drips.

  3. SG NTP says:

    An interesting development – JQTouch and HTML5 could be used to make compelling website for the iPad (and other smart devices).

    The Jed, the Billy Goats Gruff called, they need you back in the story pronto! You have a contract, honour it!

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