iPad Review

Anyone that follows me on the Internet knows that I didn’t think too highly of the iPad as of exactly a week ago. The problem with the iPad is that it is a giant iPod Touch. Essentially, what I mean by that is that the iPhone OS is the problem. It’s a single-window, single-threaded device. This, however, begs the question: how important is that when most of what we do these days (that’s meant to be done on a small, portable device like the iPad) lives in the cloud?

It turns out, the iPad being a giant iPod Touch is actually the best thing about it. Using it feels very natural, and even though the iPhone/iPod Touch came first, the more obvious device is the iPad. The iPhone/iPod Touch now seem like shrunken down versions of the iPad rather than the other way around.

The first thing that attracted me to the iPad was the screen. I picked it up and held it, and the screen drew me in. The display on this thing is gorgeous. The colors are bright and beautiful; it completely outdoes the iPod Touch.

So if you’ve read this far, you may have a question on your mind: what use is there for an iPad if you’ve got a MacBook Pro and an iPhone? This brings me to what the iPad does best – web browsing. This thing is meant to browse the web. Content isn’t the only fun part about the web on this device; it’s actually fun surfing and clicking on things and zooming and moving around. The actual process of navigating through a web page is somehow made fun by the iPad’s touch interface. It’s simply incredible. Even though it’s just a big iPod Touch, the experience is completely different. The same goes for browsing your pictures; the touch interface makes it so much more fun to interact with your content.

Typing on the iPad has a learning curve just like with the iPhone. On a normal computer keyboard, I can type ~100 words per minute. On the iPhone in landscape mode, I can type ~60 words per minute, but I had to relearn how to type on a handheld device. The crazy thing is, I love the iPhone keyboard and I could never go back to a phone with physical keys. So how does the iPad fare? Just like with the iPhone, I find that I prefer typing in landscape mode. You can type in portrait mode with your thumbs, but only if you have really long fingers, and it’s still a stretch. I tend to hold the iPad with my left hand and walk the fingers on my right hand across the keyboard, and that works pretty well.

What’s funny about the iPad being a big iPod Touch is that the iPad’s iPod application is actually better than the iPod Touch’s. Essentially, the iPad is a better iPod, except you can’t put it in your pocket, which really defeats the purpose of an iPod unless you’re just using it at your desk or something.

Other things:
-The battery life is incredible. The claims of ~10 hours are pretty much true, and that’s at full brightness browsing the web and whatnot.
-It is very fast. Insanely fast, really.
-The screen isn’t oleophobic like the iPhone 3GS (as far as I can tell). More fingerprints, but not a big deal.
-Despite it saying “Not charging” when you plug it into a computer with a USB 2.0 port…it’s actually charging, just really, really slowly.
-Even with the WiFi fix, I find WiFi connectivity to be very buggy. It’s not a big deal, just a minor annoyance that I’m sure will be fixed in a forthcoming software update.
-iPhone apps look like crap on the iPad. Apps are pretty much iPad versions or I delete them, unless they’re really, really useful.

All of that said, the device is not innovative at all, but I mean that in a more positive way than it sounds. It is tech we know and love, and it is implemented in an amazing way. Sometimes a revolutionary device doesn’t venture into the unknown, but rather, it takes what we know, changes it a little bit, and makes it better.

-Philip