I have now lived with my iPad for a little over two months. Soon after I got it, I blogged about my initial impressions. Looking back at those comments, my feelings have not changed much. I now have access to the App Store [as my credit card bill will testify] and I am continuing to learn about what the thing can do. I use it every day; many times every day.
When I first bought my iPad, I did not know what use it would be – what place would it have in my life? I still do not have the definitive answer – that will take many more months – but I do have enough experience to report about my progress …
A very large amount of my iPad usage is accessing the Internet – mostly, of course, when I am not in front of my computer. The instant availability is great. What I do find interesting is that my Internet usage is not necessarily using a Web browser. I am finding an increasing number of specialized apps which present and manage online information for me more effectively. For example, looking at the weather forecast or perusing a selection of RSS feeds instead of browsing news sites and blogs.
For me, email is a very important communications medium in both business and personal life. The built-in email program does a great job. I can, at a stroke, access my personal [gmail and Yahoo] and business [Exchange] email all in one place, which is very efficient. I was surprised that no third party email apps seem to be available. Someone told me that Apple just do not allow access to the right system resources. I wonder why?
The calendar app is very attractive and straightforward to use. It wirelessly synchronizes perfectly with my Google calendar, which I use for my personal life, and with my business Outlook calendar. I keep all my contacts in my Google account. This also synchronizes with the built-in app, but annoyingly requires a wired connection to iTunes. I cannot find a way around this, but would welcome advice.
The built-in speaker is amazingly good, considering how small it is. As a result, I have been using the iPod app, which I like very much. This has highlighted my error. I bought a “compromise” 32Gb iPad. My music collection runs to something like 35Gb. I wish that I had bought a 64Gb device now, as I could then download my entire library and not need to be selective.
Some software I really miss is a good mind mapping app. There are some available, but I am not sure any address my needs. I want something like the functionality of MindManager and compatibility with that program, along with wireless synchronization to my desktop.
I confess one area of disappointment. One application of iPad that I was looking forward to was photography. It is certainly a great way to share pictures. Initially I could synch sets of images using iTunes, then I got the [not inexpensive] camera adapter, which enables me to collect images from my camera directly. This seemed very nice, as I can easily take iPad with me when I am out shooting and quickly get to peruse the images on a nice screen. So far, so good. The problem comes with the “Apple knows best” effect.
What I wanted to be able to do is take some pictures, download them to iPad, sort them [deleting rejects etc.] and later upload them to my PC for longer term storage and maybe further work. This looked like it should be OK. The upload from the camera works fine and, when complete, offers to delete the images from the camera, which, on the surface, seems OK. What it does not tell you [and I can find no documentation that warns about this] is that the transfer includes a downsizing of the images to around 3mpx! So, if you agree to the deletion, you have cheerfully thrown away your “originals”!!! Although I would have no problem with this being available as an option, I am very frustrated that there is no way to upload full resolution [JPEG] images directly from a camera to an iPad.
Apple: please fix this. I know that it is not a bug, but it is a very bad design decision.
On a positive note, I do think iPad is here to stay. At least I think this kind of device has enough to offer to enough people to survive. Whether Apple will own the market, like they do with iPod, remains to be seen. Incidentally, these devices need a generic name, instead of “tablet computer”. I think just “pad” would fit the bill, but maybe “PADD” would be better.