There was a lot of brouhaha about the ipad everywhere – with people completely divided on whether the iPad is the next ‘happening’ gadget or not – and so, thanks to a very close friend of mine, i got my hands on an ipad for a few days to check out what the fuss was all about. And this post, is about that.
Let me first give everyone a bit of a background about me. I am a self-proclaimed computer geek, with my roots nestled in MS-DOS 2 and 10MB hard drives. However, i am typing this on a 3 year old Macbook – and also possess a self-built desktop running Windows (which one you ask? – it doesnt matter). I am a mac fanboy. But a very unbiased one (or so i presume). My macbook is the only Apple product i possess. Bought a blackberry when i couldve bought an iphone – and never even thought of getting an ipad.
So – this is my completely unbiased opinion about the ipad – having used it for almost 40 hours.
First – lets clarify what the ipad is. And i want to make one thing very clear – it is not a replacement for your laptop or desktop. Nor is it supposed to perform the duties of a phone. It fills in a very small (and trust me – as of now, it is extremely small) gap of a device that someone would want for things that are not convenient on a phone, but at the same time too trivial to switch on your laptop.
The ipad flavor i used was a 32GB version, with only wi-fi – as at that time, only the ones with wi-fi were shipping, however, as i type this, 3G versions are also available.
Now for the pros –
- It is fast. And by fast, i mean lightning crashing freakin meteorite fast. Wanna browse the net? From a blank screen to safari takes you approx 5 seconds. (This does depend on how fast you can manage to move your fingers on the screen). It just takes a few swipes to get where you want to be. And apple is anyways knows for its intuitive interface – and that leads to super convenience – for getting what you want, quickly.
- The browsing experience is the best i have ever had. Yes. It beats my 21″ desktop screen any day. The way you can manipulate what you see, and how you see it, is just amazing. The two days that i had it, if i had to browse, even if my computer/laptop were on – i involuntarily preferred the ipad – it is just fantastic. And its hard to put how good it is onto words over here. You have to experience it.
- The form factor is light, and extremely slick. This is something that distinguishes all apple products from the rest. They are not just gorgeous to look at, but also very user friendly, in the physical way. The ipad is something you could throw on the backseat of your car, or just slide it into a bag, without any fuss.
- The display is gorgeous. Auto-brightness controlled, the images are crisp, sharp and amazingly well saturated.
- The battery life is looooong. I watched 2 movies back to back. Still had 40% left.
The cons –
- No multitasking! – This is a little irritating. I do want to listen to music when i browse. Or go thru my photos. Or read a book. And the ipad does not allow me that. Anyways – this is a issue that has been taken care of with the OS upgrade available for all ipads.
- Flash support – yup. This irritates as well. I know the world is moving towards HTML5 – but there are millions of websites out there that are built on flash – and i couldnt access them. But the interesting thing over here is – that most sites have started moving out of flash ever since the ipad was introduced.
So – what is the ipad for?
Well, first – i do not think it is a device for everybody. As of now, i think the only people who could benefit from this, are people who travel often – and are habitual browsers and emailers – and think that their laptops are too cumbersome to carry – or for photographers / creative people, who want to carry their portfolios around.
Personally, i found it an amazing device to just carry with me to coffee shops or work etc, places where i would generally carry my laptop too, for browsing etc. Also, i found it very convenient to carry around my data – to show presentations and photographs. Also, because the unit that i had, was only wi-fi – i was restricted to using it only in places with wi-fi access.
A look into the future – where the ipad will certainly start to rock, is in the realms of cloud computing. Slowly, the world is moving towards this (gmail and google apps is an example) – wherein, all your data is stored on the internet – and this allows you to access it anywhere, anytime, and using any device. Apple has the MobileMe funda – which combined with the ipad is a sureshot winner. Imagine having all your data on the web (of course, on secure servers) – and not having to bother carrying it in USB drives, or hard drives or CD’s or your laptop. Just take your ipad and access it and use it wherever.
The ipad then, i think is a device 2 years to early. At least for me. Primarily, because i do not have the money right now to buy one. But would i buy one right now if i had the money? Yes. I would. Because its cool. And because i can watch movies on it rather than my laptop while i lie down in bed. And because i just like it. But then again. I do not have the money. And even if i did, i would think twice.
This is thus something iWant. Not something iNeed. Not as of now, anyways.