Yesterday, I picked up a shiney new 32GB wifi iPad. And as predicted by a few, including myself, it is truely an XXL version of the iPod touch. In fact I am typing this post from it as a test of the keyboard (which Steve Jobs claims is pleasure to type on).
I have never owned a iPod touch or an iPhone… So someof my impressions are influenced by several technologies which other people are already familiar with.
In brief, the application of a cell phone (based) operating system into this form factor is the true revolution here. Having the power of small laptop, with better than basic features, in this package is a leap in the right direction. This delivers a computing experience closer to what a netbook should deliver without the bulk or the lure of trying to do too much with so little (speaking about people who try to use a netbook as a laptop replacement).
The iPad is clearly not a replacement computer. For starters, you cannot use it without first plugging it into a computer. Secondly, it’s size and shape doesn’t confuse users about the intent of the device – to supplement your most common everyday computing needs.
This device isn’t for everyone. If you already have an iPod touch or iPhone, I can’t see spending the extra money to simply have a larger screen unless you absolutely have to have it.
My hope is that the iPad encourages other companies to produce similar devices… Ones that are lighter and faster or more customizable for business use. If a competing Android (Google) and/or Microsoft Windows Series 7 (mobile OS) device isn’t released in the next year, it would be a real shame for those companies (having not yet seen Windows S7, I am hoping for a solid google offering)
This is so promising, that I think slate computers will become must have devices for knowledge workers in the next 7 years. But this generation iPad is not mature enough to last.
Ok – I haven’t yet mastered the keyboard to make edits to already typed text, so I am finishing this post on my PC. Steve Jobs was right – the keyboard is a pleasure to type on – even at fast speeds (I can type about 90wpm on a keyboard, I’d guess about 50wpm on the iPad).
What would I change about the iPad? For starters – go on a diet. The device feels heavy (perhaps because I used a Kindle for several months). Second, provide some kind of multi-way switch for finer cursor navigation (a common gripe I have about touch-only interfaces). Finally, make it faster – my Android phone switched windows and accepted input much much faster than this. I’m not sure if that is a hardware or software issue.