Thoughts on the iPad

I have been using my iPad since I bought it in Sydney mid-July and on the whole I love it. The next version of it may have new, great features and competitors will be bringing other touch pad devices, but I don’t regret getting an iPad now.

Getting 3G edition was definitely worth it, even with the extra £10 a month. I’m rarely cut off when I travel now, and I used the 3G feature a lot when I was in Australia (cheaper getting a local pay-as-you-go sim than paying for hotel wireless). I’m using it now while I’m away in Glasgow – it’s much lighter than having to carry a MacBook pro around! Its also great that the iPad switches on instantly.

I mainly use my iPad for work, as well as surfing and email, and it’s a good device for reading. I use the Kindle app for reading since it syncs with other devices well and it has most of the features that I need. Amazon’s store is better than Apple’s at the moment. iBooks is also very good and is better for books with colour, it’s perhaps a little bit slicker too. Stanza is a decent app and deals with pdfs pretty well.

I’ve been trying to setup up my iPad to help me get organized at work and to take notes at meetings. A combination of the calendar, Nozbe (project based task manager), and Evernote (note based organizer) is proving to work pretty well for me. I am using Nozbe because it has Evernote integration, it’s easy to use, and its project based approach works for me. I’m planning to use the iPad to present my lectures this year and I’ve bought the VGA adaptor – on the whole this seems to work well with several apps, however there can be some problems with some PowerPoint slides.

One of the key issues for iPad is a lack of file system – so apps can’t share files very easily. In Pages for example you have to sync with your computer or email your documents in order to enable another app to open these files. I like the approach of Goodreader which which allows you to manage files locally after downloading from cloud storage such as Dropbox – though you can’t edit in Goodreader. I’ve tried all the main office apps and they all have at least one serious limitation for me. Docs To Go has quite a lot of features but I had problems with Dropbox integration. The iPad is excellent for social networking and has some great games – if I ever had time to play them properly. Angry Birds, Osmos, and Monkey Island are 3 of the best.

Things that I don’t like about the iPad? I really hate going to websites that have Flash and I can’t see the content – HTML 5 may eventually dominate but not for a while! Apple and Adobe need to come to some arrangement! The screen can reflect a bit much at times and isn’t so good in bright light. You really need a cover for it and these usually have to be taken off to use with the keyboard dock. The lack of a shared local or remote file system makes it hard work to use several apps (or devices) with the same document. I also don’t think it’s particularly fair having to have a separate data contract for an iPhone and an iPad when you have both devices – being able to share data allocation would be great. It would be great if more apps were allowed to use the VGA adaptor, especially for streaming video and showing browser pages.

On the whole I’ve been using the iPad so much that my MacBook is rarely on these days – though this will change once I get back into my programming and paper writing.