3 days with an Ipad.

The Apple Ipad. Breakthrough in handheld technology or a sollution looking for a problem ?

Okay, the IPad arrived a couple of weeks ago.

New releases from Apple, are normally delivered like some kind of technological Nuremberg Rally.

As much as I am no fan of some of Apples “lock in” business practices, or the nauseating attitude of some of their fans (who treat Apple, and Steve Jobs, like some kind of religion) their record speaks for itself.

For 20 years, personal stereo’s in whatever form, were dominated by Sony. In just a few short years, Apple got involved, and now have 75% of the worldwide market.

Similar can be said of the IPhone. Extremely late to the smart-phone market, and with no “local” experience to draw on, they have effectively created the “app” market and by the end of summer, will have sold 100,000,000 Iphone/Ipod touches, from a virtual standing start over 3 years.

What’s the secret. Well, a couple of years ago, I had a HTC, At the time, it was the most advanced smart-phone in the world. Why then, did I always find myself using my IPhone in preference. The truth, I believe, is that Apple products, were designed for PEOPLE to use.

That might seem nieve and simplified, but the best features in the world are useless, unless they are easy to access, and make simple sense, to ordinary people (that goes for every kind of technology, from toasters that can defrost, to 11th generation Dell Poweredge servers).

I wanted to try one out, so asked that Richard Branson of Gadgets, Glenn,  if I could borrow one (and since he had 2, he agreed ).

Using the Ipad on the train to work.

The first things that struck me, was its size. I had expected it to be the size of an A4 clipboard (which for me, would have been too big). I was delighted to find it was just the right compromise, between ease of handling, and screen real-estate.

The most important thing for me, is how long it takes to start up. If it takes about 30 – 40 seconds like a laptop, than its not much use at all. The reality, is it boots almost instantaneously, and once working, the apps run at startling speeds (well they do compared to the IPhone).

After using it at home for a day or 2, I decided that proper “Sea trials” were needed. I took it with me to work, and got started on the train.

I get the early train, so it was pretty quiet. It occurred to me, that if the train had been busy, and you were standing up, you could still have used the IPad. Its just about the only technology apart from IPods and Phones, that can do this.

I tried out the word-processor – pages. Apart from the silly name, it was pretty good. Locking the IPad into landscape, I typed a couple of pages, with minimal mistakes. I was impressed.

The only problem I found, was 95% of the time being used, I was browsing the internet. Since this wasn’t available, I was quite at a loss (I kept referring back to my IPhone, to check the news, emails etc).

I had a go of a few features like the Todo list, and Calendar, and couldn’t see much advantage over their smaller brothers and sisters on the IPhone.

A sort of blog magazine called Frypaper and a virtual version of the Marvel Comic Iron Man, finished off the journey. When used as interactive media, the IPad is at least as good as FHM or the Telegraph (or some other more appropriate magazine/paper).

Ideal for "Sofa Surfing" the Ipad, was well recieved by everyone at work.

I arrived at work. We have a secure wireless network, and the IPad really came into its own.

The reality, is that its a computer, that can be handled like a magazine this allows it to be interacted with like no other computer.

Lee from work certainly enjoyed using it, its the ultimate “Sofa Surfer”.

It was so solidly built, that I took it around the office with me while working. It went down a treat, and everyone  loved it (but I couldn’t help thinking, did they love it enough to part with £500).

And thats the thing…

In the end, the IPad is basically a tablet browser. Something similar running Google Android and selling for £200, wouldn’t be the coolest thing around, but would probably be just as useful, if your goal was research/information gathering.

The other irony, was that while using it to find information, I always had a pen and paper to hand, to write things down.

If you just couldn’t decide where to go on holiday, and you were travelling on a 2 hour train journey with internet, I can’t think of anything presently on the market that would allow you to do that better than an IPad.

This review has been entirely typed and published to the web, using the IPad. Its the  first time the website has been updated without using a pc,  since the websites inception. Thanks to Glenn for lending me the IPad.

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