Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My take on the iPad

I bought an iPad just a few days ago and I had the chance to play with it for more than a few hours. To be honest it wasn't easy to get an opinion at first.
It is obvious that the machine is well designed, looks great and is easy to use. There are 2 things that jump out as soon as you turn the iPad on:

  • Opening and closing applications is very fast.
  • The battery lasts more than 10 hours of intense use.
Some of the applications that come with the iPad are really great. The improved Calendar and Contacts are worth of envy. I hope the same Mac OSX will include them in the near future. Of course others as YouTube, video and Maps use very well the bigger screen, but there is nothing in that space that would make a huge difference.

In contrast with many others I see that iBooks is not necessarily a Kindle killer. Of course looks great and the colors are important for some kind of publications. But the great amount of good books in "black and white" makes my Kindle a very light and effective reader. I would rename it and change a bit the business model: iMagazine, for digital versions of the most important magazine subscriptions.

But something that is truly amazing to me is the way some newspapers are using the new iPad. Some good samples: The New York Times Editor's Choice, The Wall Street Journal and specially The Financial Times mobile edition. 

Even most of the iPhone apps can work with the iPad, I wouldn't advise to download them. Why? because you see low resolution images. yes you can zoom in but that is not the real iPad thing. Better to wait for the new apps to be available. At this point I miss: Skype, FaceBook, The Scoop, Monopoly.

Is the iPad a PC or maybe a huge iPod touch?
No. It is for sure other kind of device. I see it as a powerful PC or notebook companion; For example now I'm typing in front of my iMac typing this post, and my iPad is beside showing the Tweetdeck iPad app. That means that my iMac doesn't have to load that app.
That is very cool, because if I move from my desk I can take the iPad with me.

Is the iPad a replacement for a Netbook?
The short experience I have with Netbooks is that they are cool small machines that runs Windows or some kind of Linux OS. Very similar than the normal PCs but probably optimized for Internet usage.
The iPad is not the same paradigm than a traditional PC OS. It is much simpler, asks less from the user and works perfect on the Web.
I would never buy a Netbook instead of an iPad. In that case I would buy a Notebook.

Where is the revolution?
Well I thing that the revolution lies in the following:
  1. The OS is a complete new paradigm where there is no file manager, complex settings and technical knowledge required.
  2. The integration of the OS and the online stores is just a great thing: Apple managed to get millions of users, developers and content providers. Now everybody tries to have the same but the results are not as successful.
  3. The Apps. This is something that we know developers like to do. Even in the times of the Palm we were able to get inexpensive applications that more than complex where useful. The same thing happens here. The mix of a powerful machine as the iPad and the value offered by the previous too points is the key: the potential to have easy to use, useful and great looking applications for almost everything.
I do think it is a revolution, all the industry will have to adapt as they did with the iPhone. I don't think huge changes will happen fast.

One of the first things I got in mind: Use iPads on airplanes instead of the terrible screens onboard. Looks like the idea is not new and somewhere in AUstralia they are thinking to implement it.

Is the iPad a Nintendo killer?
I don't think so, they are just different and for different use. But I would love to have The Legend of Zelda for iPad :)

The bad:
  • Looks like not all USB ports are capable of charging the iPad battery.
  • The screen tends to be dirty
  • The Wifi version does not include full GPS capabilities.


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