A week with an iPad

So I recently got an iPad temporarily for 1 week. I installed all the apps I can’t live without on my iPod Touch, with their respective iPad friendly version. My initial feelings about the iPad were quite positive, and the experience was a lot of fun. But as the week went on, I felt like the iPad was a little more than a toy or luxury item than a tool and necessity.

My 1st annoyance was the keyboard. Its a great keyboard but I found that if you didn’t have the Apple case/kick-stand, it was really hard to type on it. When  holding it in portrait mode, it was awkward to type long messages with both my thumbs as I held it in my hands, and landscape mode just was a pain as it challenged my thumbs reach.

It was very pleasant to sit on the balcony in the mornings and go through all my news in Google Reader. The touch navigation was a dream and it really made reading the news an immersive experience. Viewing and sharing pictures was also very immersive. Navigating photos and showing them to friends was definitely a more enjoyable experience than showcasing them on a laptop, as I could pass it around and they can interact with it, as if a real set of photos.

Prolonged use of the iPad, though, was a bit of a mixed bag. Trying to hold it for long periods of time, while watching a movie or tv show put a lot of strain on the hands and arms. Laying in bed and kicking back to watch a 1hour TV show proved a lil frustrating as leaning it on my thighs left it at an awkward viewing angle, and holding it was just not fun. Again, this out have been a different experience if I had the $40 Apple iPad case. I think that the case should have come standard with the iPad as it would have solved a lot of physical usability issues, but I guess Apple knew this and decided to sell it separately because of its necessity.

I was quite disappointed that a lot of the apps I used on a regular basis from large companies was not updated for the iPad (Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, MobileMe Gallery, Skype) and a few required me to buy a whole new version of the app at full price (Things). I understand that if they did develop an iPad app, it would have an updated UI and a very different experience, but a lot of apps have been ported over very easily and quickly by other developers and they’ve done a great job at iPad specific versions (Evernote, Dropbox,WordPress). I guess the wait is for the iPad version of iOS4.

I had the wifi only version, and only being able to use it at home or the office, I thought that its usefulness is tied to a data connection. Most apps are tied to the net and if you dont have connectivity, the iPad really isn’t much use.

All in all, the iPad is a great device. Its performance was impressive, the UI was solid and the feel and sturdiness of the device was great. At the moment though, until a few of my favourite apps are ported over, and iOS4 comes out giving it multi-tasking and a few other features, it feels more like a fun toy and not something I will use on a regular basis. I found my self reverting to my Macbook Pro to do a lot of tasks, as I am a heaving multi-tasker. iOS4’s new features are going to be a welcome upgrade and I will look in to it as soon as it comes out, probably a 3G version.

Do you have an iPad, and how long did it take you to get used to it? Do you have the Apple Case? How does the keyboard feel for you?

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