Twenty eight days with an iPad
On the eve of its Australian release, it’d be remiss of me if I didn’t take the opportunity to gloat a little and write a few words about how I feel about the iPad after close to a month of use. So here goes.
Firstly, I want to answer the question that everybody who doesn’t have one seems to ask. What’s it for? Of course, everyone will have a different experience, but there’s two things that I do regularly that together have made my iPad my most used device.
The first thing I do is go to a lot of meetings. Three or four a day, most of which have agendas and minutes that are sent around electronically. And for those meetings, the ipad is perfect. Almost – and I’ll get to that shortly. I use iAnnotate and sync the required papers, allowing me to quickly tab between minutes, agendas and working papers and making notes if I have to. Intriguingly, more than a few colleagues have commented positively about my iPad – with the key comment being that they appreciated the lack of a vertical screen between us (I used to lug around a Macbook to meetings). Who knew that laptop screens were considered so intrusive? Apologies for years of intrusion I guess. The only thing that prevents the iPad From being the perfect meeting machine is the fact that I can’t hide behind the screen and surreptitiously check my emails. Which probably explains the positive reactions!
The other thing I do is wind down of an evening over a beer and some trashy video entertainment. I’m a sucker for food shows but need to multitask whilst watching. I used to use my iphone for browsing the web etc, but the iPad really is the perfect couch computer. I’m reading – websites, tweets, magazines (zinio – and can’t wait to download the new Wired app in the morning when my broadband plan goes off-peak again!). And there’s even the odd work article – journal drafts, green papers etc. And books. but I’ll get to that.
In short, the ipad has replaced paper for me. At least as much as any device currently can. Its where I do almost all of my reading. Apart from its general ‘readyness’ (you hardly wait for things to start, or load, or happen) the iPad’s killer app is battery life, which, amazingly, is as good as advertised. I can easily get through a day without even thinking about conserving power. Of course it does a whole bunch of other stuff (just ask the kids about games, video, music, drawing etc) but instead of printing, I sync to iPad.
So to books, which is probably what readers of this blog are interested in. And a confession. I haven’t yet read an entire book on my iPad. I’ve got a few, mostly epubs I hadn’t yet read and I’m well into a couple of titles. But not yet all the way through. Which might be of some concern given my public stance on matters ebook.
There is nothing wrong with reading books on the iPad, and I will finish a book soon. Promise. but a part of me wonders if the distractions of a convergent device are stopping me from focussing. Maybe and if so, as the novelty wears off, then I may get more book reading done. But the iPad is not yet (for me) the perfect ebook reader. IBooks is pretty good (yes the bookstore needs more titles, but that’ll come) I love the side by side layout when you turn the iPad to landscape but its typography is not totally convincing. And when the text is sized up, you do notice the jaggies which you don’t on an iPhone because the screen is so much smaller. And it could do with some tweaking of bookmarks and annotation. But all that’s just software and will come. And given that there’s Kindle and (soon) Borders for the ipad, the ebook scene is looking pretty promising.
The bigger issue I have with the iPad as an ebook reader is its size. Whilst it’s perfect for magazines, newspapers and websites, it’s just a bit too big for books. A little too bulky and heavy to get really comfortable for a long period of time, to become totally immersed. I suspect a case might help (it’s a slippery bugger naked) and I’ll probably get used to it. And there’s even the chance that I just need a more compelling book to read!! But for the moment, I’m keen on an in between device. Bigger than an iPhone and smaller than an iPad. Sort of kindle sized in screen and overall mass.
I think the ipad is way better than the kindle in every way but that one. The kindle seems to be a more natural size for reading books. Having said that I haven’t read an entire book on the family kindle yet either 🙂
So that’s my first four weeks. My iPad hasn’t totally replaced my Macbook, nor has it totally replaced my iphone. But it does a little of both better than either of them. If you’re lining up on Friday morning and you’re anything at all like me, you won’t regret it.