The Third Device

A blog about the iPad.

First impressions

“It’s basically a big iPod Touch.”

Yes, that’s true. It runs the same OS, and it’s compatible with the same apps, and just like an iPod Touch, you can’t make calls on it. Though that doesn’t seem to stop anyone from holding my iPad up to their ear and going “Hello?” with a clever look on their face. I try to be polite and laugh like I haven’t seen it done before.

I run into quite a few people predisposed to hating the iPad – and yet after ten minutes of playing with it, they either want one for themselves or are at least convinced that it’s not what they expected. Generally, people who compare the iPad to their iPhones are floored by the processor speed and the sheer size of the display. Spend any decent length of time with an iPad and moving back down to an iPhone is like going from an IMAX screen to a ViewMaster.

When people ask to see a demo, I mostly start by firing up iBooks. Demoing the iBooks application always seems to get oohs and ahhs, particularly the stunning page turn animation. You can almost feel the weight! You can see the print bleed through to the back of the page!

I’ve flipped through the first few pages of “Winnie the Pooh” so many times in the course of demoing the app that I might even get around to reading the rest of the book one of these days. Heh.

Other people are enthusiastic about the iPad as a photo viewer. They want to see the device run in slideshow mode and then they coo in appreciation – not at my photos, unfortunately, but more at Apple’s clever origami folding transitions. And to any of you who intend to buy a six hundred dollar tablet to use exclusively as a digital photo frame – I hate you.

Safari is also a pleasant surprise. It’s extremely usable. In fact I was looking around the App Store for a Facebook app when I realized you don’t need one – the full site is available to you in all its glory. Well, except for videos. And Farmville. And any other Flash applications. I know some folks for whom a Facebook without videos and Farmville / Mafia Wars / Restaurant City / whatever-game-of-the-month is a Facebook not worth living. You’re reading this. You know who you are.

The built in apps are solid and generally useful, with some odd omissions – no calculator? no voice recorder? no weather or stock app?

I feel the iPad really is more of a blank slate (pardon the pun), a tabula rasa on which the user projects his or her personality. Ultimately, the third party apps you install are what make the iPad truly yours. I like to read, and I’m a news junkie, and I like motorsports and play golf, and I work in the music business, and that’s why I love apps like the awesome Instapaper, and GolfPlan with Paul Azinger and RealRacing HD and AC7-Pro.

My iPad may not be as interesting to you as it is to me – but that’s why it’s mine! You need your own. Trust me. You do.

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April 30, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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