Sunday, April 4, 2010

iPad Review

I was able to get all the pictured books off iBooks for free (thanks Gutenberg Press) except for Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness" which set me back seven bucks.

The iPad:

This device isn't for everyone. Make sure you lay hands on one of these and actually use it before you get one. I'm writing this not to convince anyone because I think if you gathered 100 random people in a room, 50% will hate the iPad on principle alone. It is a very controversial device. There are people who are buying it or not buying it for philosophical reasons. For some it is like buying one of Howard Roark's buildings, and for others it is like funding the death of a whole generation of hackers and programmers.

Mike Masnick wrote one of the better anti-iPad articles I've read:

"A few months back, I tried to ask a simple question that we still haven't received a good answer to: all of these media companies, thinking that iPad apps are somehow revolutionary, don't explain why they never put that same functionality online. They could. But didn't. There's nothing special about the iPad that enables functionality you couldn't do elsewhere."

What most of the detractors don't understand, Mike Masnick among them, is that the iPad has a touch screen, while most of what the world uses for a computer does not. The interface is what changes the game especially for the purpose of consuming media. The psychology behind being able to touch and hold something in your hand as opposed to being detached is powerful. Working with a normal computer is like fishing with all the best gear, a pole a net, your trusty hat, and a six pack. Working with an iPad is like being a bear and fishing with your claws, getting in the water, feeling the excitement of the hunt, while getting immersed in the endeavor. Would you rather watch your child being born from a distance on close circuit TV or be there to hold that child in your hands?

The good:

If you've done any research into the device, it is all you're expecting and more. I could go for pages about how great it is, but words cannot describe how it is to work with until you've tried it yourself. You will need a freezer bag so you can take into the bath with you, which is by far my favorite place to use it so far.

There are already a number of great apps out there, a list in a bit.

The bad:

Apps written specifically for the iPhone or iPod Touch will, approximately half the time look awful and crash going from landscape to portrait mode. The other half are find and work like a charm. Some of the current iPad specific apps that came from third party merchants are buggy and prone to crash as well. No one, save a lucky few, actually had an iPad to work with when they developed these apps and most of my complaints in this regard will probably vanish in the first round of updates.

My Must Have Apps List:

Voice Memos
Weatherbug (Gorgeous! Makes the old Weather App look like a toy)
Sketchbook Pro, Brushes and Photogene (forget PS Mobile for the iPad)
iMockups (Awesome for App/Web Developers)
Netflix (Works great!)
Bloomberg (if you miss the Stocks App)
NPR for iPad
BBC News
Wall Street Journal
NBA Game Time
RealRacing HD (Awesome Game)

1 comment:

  1. I think it's fabulous. The Shakespeare app you got for me is wonderful. I was skeptical concerning how well it would read (i.e., if my eyes would cross five minuted after reading on it) and I don't have to worry. This would have come in handy for the semester I had both Shakespeare classes, one scheduled after the other, and having to act scenes in class. Page turning is better than the Nook. It could be very beneficial for students.

    I think it's a fun little thing. You may have to hide it from me...