Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apple’s iPAD: A review of what I like and don’t like

I bought an iPAD about five weeks ago because I was impressed with the little iPOD’s usability and I wanted to type and draw on a bigger screen.

There are a lot of things I really like about the iPAD:  
  1. I love the Sketchpad application that I purchased from the iTunes store.  It has opened up a whole new way for me to do electronic art.
  2. I like Apple’s email interface (as I did on the iPOD) because  it is really easy for me to quickly read multiple email accounts.  I can pick it up throughout the day and read all my email without having to wait for a long PC boot up. 
  3. The iPADs keypad ( a separate piece of hardware that the iPAD plugs into) is the best keypad I have ever used. It has a great feel and the right amount of springiness in the keys.
  4. Apple’s Notes application is a good way to create and share documents and it has the best spelling checker I have ever used with a larger vocabulary and a great touch interface.
  5. The applications on iTunes are easy to download, low cost or free, and I find them useful. Why does a PC application costs 10 to 100 times more than an iPAD application?  As more applications become available, I  believe they will continue to increase the value of my iPAD.
  6. The iPAD’s battery life is long, and at 10 hours it seems to last forever.
  7. The iPAD’s screen light adaptation is wonderful.  It gets brighter in high light and dimmer in low light so it is always very readable without being overly bright.
  8. The touch screen on the iPAD (as well as the iPOD) allows me to make the text instantly large or small, which makes reading books and web pages much easier on my eyes.   I like the Kindle application and have been using the iPAD to read books.
  9. The quality of the iPAD’s screen graphics seems clearer and brighter to me and since I can hold it close to my face I can really see the details in photographs and charts.

There are some things that really bother me about the iPAD and they keep me from being able to replace my laptop with it. My issues are primarily with Apple’s Safari internet surfing application.
  1. For some reason Apple chooses not to support Flash (due to some spat between Apple and Adobe). So when I am surfing the internet with Safari, I am unable to see a large portion of the internet sites that I frequent.  It may not seem like a big deal but I estimate 90% of the sites I regularly visit are flash based and therefore not viewable with the iPAD which forces me to use my laptop to surf the internet.   Safari also limits my viewing of other things on web sites, such as Facebook videos, and in some cases blocks me entirely from some websites.
  2. If I select a link in my email, Safari intercedes to display the website. To get back to the original email, I have to click out of the Safari application and reopen my email. This process takes longer than it should and it seems like a strange interface to me.
  3. When surfing the web, sometimes selecting a link opens a new page in Safari and sometimes it replaces the existing page.  If it replaces the existing page, I can  return to the previous page with a single click. But, if it opens a new page, in order to return to the previous page, I have to find the page among the other pages that are currently open in Safari which is tedious and weird.
  4. The iPAD is difficult to hold. Though it doesn’t weigh much, it gets heavy when I am using it to read a book and eventually puts my hand to sleep. Hopefully, someone will invent an iPAD holder to solve this problem.

The price of the iPAD was $600.00 and so far its usefulness has been worth the money to me.  I hope in the future that Apple chooses to work with the other vendors providing web content, like Adobe, Google, and Facebook, and supports full access to the internet so I can replace my laptop with my iPAD.


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