I’ve been pretty vocal about not-seeing-the-point of an iPad and so Alex Day at Endava lent me his iPad for a few weeks to see if I’d change my mind.
I’m now ten days into iPad ownership (more like borrowingship) and here are my thoughts.
It doesn’t replace any previous gadget. The thought of taking an iPad into work, or not taking my laptop home to do some late night work is frankly ridiculous. To open a Word document or PowerPoint requires buying some apps and I doubt they support some of the features we use at work (track changes, comments and Sharepoint integration). So it doesn’t replace my laptop for a moment.
I’m checking email much more often. One of the first things I did was to wipe the data (sorry Alex) and synchronise my personal email and work email. Which means the iPad alerts me when new calendar requests come in, etc. Now I realise why Alex lent it to me…
I’ve totally stopped having spare moments since the iPad came home. My wife and I charge our iPhones in the kitchen near the kettle, and every time I make a cup of tea, I’ll play on the iPad for a minute or so, rather than wait around doing whatever I did before the iPad.
The one app that excels above others on the iPad is FlipBoard. Flipboard takes your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other accounts including favourite RSS feeds, and converts them into a beautiful magazine style format (see the screenshot above). It takes images from links inside Tweets from people you are following and shows them as part of the article. It is the neatest form of personalised content I have seen anywhere. Content publishers should take note of this app as a glimpse into the future of content publishing. When you look at the Flickr feed on FlipBoard you need to remind yourself that this is user generated content – the quality of the photos and the screen are excellent.
And while we’re on the positive points, the battery is excellent. Alex’s iPad doesn’t have mobile coverage, just WiFi, which is fine considering it never goes outside of the house and office. I’ve only charged it twice in ten days. I guess that’s why the device weighs the same as a hardback book.
Everyone in the family is playing much, much more games. Despite owning a Wii and Xbox (with kinect) and 2 Nintendo DSs (DSes?) the iPad is the preferred device, especially for Mrs H. The graphics and general playability are superb, and that’s just on the free games we’ve downloaded.
And that’s why in think that I don’t get the iPad. I want it to replace my laptop and paper notepad, but it’s not that type of device at all. It’s not about productivity, it’s about entertainment. It’s a media device. It is a large iPod not a replacement laptop.
Yes you can convert it into a productivity tool, by buying £50 worth of apps and using the rubbish on-screen keyboard, which will probably give you RSI within five years, you can suffer whilst telling everyone you abandoned your laptop years ago. Ten years ago you were probably saying the same thing with a Palm V.