My first few days with the iPad

by Jeff Hilimire on April 13, 2010

I was so sure I’d hold out and not be one of the first to grab an iPad. And technically I did hold out…for a week. But I think those that know me would agree that was an impressive hold out :)

Here’s what happened. One of my best friends, @dennisdube, called me on the Thursday after the iPad went on sale. He got his that first Saturday and had been rubbing it in my face everyday since then. The conversation went like this:

DD: I’m standing in a Best Buy in San Fran looking at a ton of iPads. Should I get you one and ship it to you 2-day mail?

Me: Dude, that’s crazy…. overnight it!

And thus I’m writing this post on the WordPress iPad app, 4 days into having it. So I thought like every other person with a blog I’d write about my first experiences with this new iDevice.

It’s fast. Although there aren’t a lot of apps yet, they run extremely fast and the wifi is blazing (802.11n).

It’s slick. The interface is stunning.  And while it does gets smudges easily and you definitely get a reflection at times, the display is beautiful.

It lasts. The battery life is I think my favorite aspect so far.  It really does last 10 hours.  My laptop gets 2.5 hours at best, my iPhone if being used heavily dies out within 3-4 hours.  So this device allows me to crank away at it for an entire day without having to charge.  That’s pretty huge.

It’s great for kids. My kids can whip through the iPad like it was made for them.  And the few kid apps that I have are really cool.  The Toy Story app for instance has a book component that is interactive (inter-splices video and moving pictures) and it allows you to read the book to your kid, have the audio read by the iPad or even allows you to record your voice to the track (if you never want to have to read to your kids again — I’m holding off on that one :)

Typing is adequate. Hunt-and-peck’ing folks rejoice, you’re finally being rewarded for never learning to type.  That’s really the only way to type on the iPad; don’t even try to type properly.  That said, I can type a great deal faster on this than the iPhone, but you’re not going to see the next great novel being written on an iPad.

No multi-tasking does suck. But Apple is fixing that soon.

You have to use a case. Basically if you want to sit at a desk or table and use the iPad, you have to get a case so that you can prop it up.  I don’t have a case yet and the device drops a level in usefulness if you’re using it anywhere other than your lap.  I’ll be getting a case soon – most likely from my friends at Case-Mate ;)

Reading works well. I’ve actually enjoyed reading a book on the iPad.  Fortunately I can use my Kindle App to pull in the books I’ve already purchased, which is a big benefit.  I’m starting to love this whole digital books thing.  Reading websites and articles is brilliant, however, and I can see this being the way I consume “magazine” and “newspaper” content.  I put quotes around those because I don’t really understand why they are “different” than other “web content” at “this” point.  Ok I’m overdoing the quotes thing.  Doesn’t matter, no one is actually getting this far in the post anyway ;)

Favorite app so far: Evernote.

So how will I be using the iPad? It already has become the way I prefer to consume digital content.  Watching a youtube video, reading an article, going through my Google Reader feeds, reading a book, etc, are all wonderful experiences on this device and they allow me to sit on the couch and relax.  Plus, I can flip between email and Twitter, which satisfies my A.D.D. nature, whereas when I’m on the Kindle I pretty much just have to sit and read a book (I know, disgusting right?).

Next week I go on a traveling spree, from Atlanta to Chicago, from Chicago to San Fran, from San Fran to Charlotte, then back to Atlanta.  I’m going to only bring my iPad with me in order to fully test it as a traveling device.  After that trip I think I’ll have a good understanding of where this device will end up fitting in my life.

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