Review - Apple iPad
Well now I know. I have finally spent some quality time with an iPad and here is what I think.
It looks lovely. It is very slim and it has a gorgeous screen. You could really imagine Captain Picard using one on the Enterprise, it is that futuristic looking. The big screen really brings your apps to life and using something like Maps is a real pleasure. It just looks so....BIG!
Configuring the iPad is pretty much the same as configuring an iPhone but with a slightly different interface to allow for the much larger screen real-estate. Very easy. I had mail set up in minutes with no problems. I did find the positioning of some of the buttons in the mail app a little strange though but that is probably because I am overly familiar with the same application on my iPhone.
Web browsing is also very nice due to the big screen and everything looks very crisp and clear and scales very nicely when you zoom in and out. I did notice that the screen blurred quite considerably though when scrolling up and down but this is not really an issue.
So, it looks great and is easy to use. Will I be rushing to the shops to buy one? No.
After using the iPad in my kitchen for 10 minutes, stood up with the device in question resting on my right palm while I used the touchscreen with my left hand I began to get an ache in my right shoulder. The iPad you see is not a lightweight. It actually weighs 1.5lbs and after a while using it stood up it you feel all that weight. I sat down at our dining table but could not find a comfortable way to sit that would allow me to use the iPad. Either it was resting flat on the table which was just wrong or I was propping it up at 45 degrees on the edge of the table which while better would not allow me to use the device very easily.
I tried sitting down on my sofa and resting the iPad on my lap. Nope. Wrong angle again. The only way of using the iPad comfortably seems to be laying on the sofa with feet up so that it can rest on your knees. Great for sitting in front of the TV but not for a lot else.
I tried composing an email to try out the keyboard but I hit the same problem as above. There was no comfortable way to hold the iPad to allow two handed typing, something I assume the keyboard was designed for as when viewing the screen horizontally the keyboard is massive. You can't touch type comfortably standing up, with the iPad on a table or on your knees.
I suppose these are not complaints about the iPad directly but of the whole tablet form factor.
So, applications. What can the iPad do that my iPhone can't? Well from what I have seen, nothing. I suppose that the apps are easier to use due to the bigger screen and piano apps could cover more than one octave but apart from that it does nothing that I can't do on my iPhone.
There are office apps available but unless you dock the iPad with a proper keyboard I can't see you producing much on it.
Web browsing is very nice but as the iPad is trying to deliver a 'proper' browsing experience instead of a mobile one the lack of flash really stands out which ruins the experience. No Flash on a mobile is OK but not on a computer.
But this isn't a computer is it? A computer is configurable and customisable and an iPad isn't. You are forced into doing things Apples way and installing the apps Apple allow you to install. It is locked down just like the iPhone. Device control is OK on a phone but not on a computer.
I really want an iPad. I really want to see a reason for buying one but all I can see it as is a less portable iPhone that does not make phone calls. In my household all it would be used for is surfing the net while watching TV, which is what we use our iPhones for. I can actually see this being the overwhelming use of the iPad in most households. I suppose you could watch films on trains but without a dock or cradle of some sort you have the issues of how to hold it again.
The iPad is a beautiful device. It looks stunning even if it is a little heavy. I love gadgets and I really wanted Apple to come up with something special that would even bypass my increasing dislike for the company and it's zombie look-a-like leader. Unfortunately they have failed. The iPad is just a big iPod/iPhone.
Please feel free to prove me wrong with a long list of things the iPad can do that other Apple products can't. I bet you struggle to find one.
Looks : 9/10 (Would be 10 but it is a bit too heavy)
Easy of use : 9/10
Cost : 5/10 (£429 for the basic version with 16GB? er, FAIL!)
Usefulness if you don't own an iPhone/iPod Touch : 7/10
Usefulness if you do own an iPhone/iPod Touch : 2/10