Last year, when the first iPad was announced, I declared it an iFlop:
With over 15 million iPad 1 units sold, I was clearly wrong. The iPad is no iFlop. But the sales and the hype alone weren’t enough to make me order a piece of Apple slate. So what else has changed that has made me take the leap?
- I wanted an eReader and it’s the best eReader available, in many respects. With a range of quality apps for different reading purposes, nothing else I have seen in the past year has come close.
- The hardware improvements, including slimmer design, faster processor, cameras and a gyroscope.
- The evolution of iOS with multitasking, folders and many other improvements.
- The addition of personal hotspot mode on the iPhone 4, allowing for seamless sharing of the iPhone internet connect when using an iPad. Put simply, I didn’t need a 3G iPad and separate data plan.
- Though I am a fan of Apple products, I’m not really a sucker for hype. But I needed to see for myself why the iPad is considered magical!
After a month of using and owning the iPad 2, I consider it to be a great choice for:
- Reading eBooks, PDFs and web content.
- Accessing social media.
- Entertainment, such as watching TV shows and movies, and playing music and games.
The simplicity and portability of the iPad makes it ideal for consuming content and in many instances, it’s better than a computer for these activities. And if you are thinking you don’t need an iPad cos you already have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, any of the above-mentioned activities is a different experience on the larger iPad screen. It is both easier and so much more enjoyable than on the smaller screen iOS devices. But when attempting anything beyond these basic tasks, the shortcomings of the iPad become apparent. The main areas where this could be improved include:
- Productivity – apart from email, web and taking some notes, the iPad is no workhorse. Even with apps like Keynote, Pages and WordPress to get you started, you’ll inevitably find the need to move to a Mac/PC to finish the task. And being productive usual requires working with files …
- File management – while this has improved over the past year with apps like Dropbox, the iPad needs a proper file manager app, a USB port (for connecting flash drives) and the ability to natively mount it as a drive when connected to a Mac or PC. Moving and using files on the iPad isn’t easily accomplished like it is on a computer.
- Form factor – Apple claims the iPad 2 to be 33% thinner than the iPad 1. For that shaving in size, I would have expected the iPad 2 to shed more than 80 grams of weight. At 600 grams, it is heavy for a handheld device. Add a protective case and it becomes even heavier. While it is fine to use on your lap or on a tabletop, it can be awkward to hold when you’re lying down or holding it in your hands for long periods. An 8″ iPad with a lighter body would be more ideal, but if Steve Jobs is to be believed, it won’t ever happen.
Blending a powerful hardware package with the slick iOS interface, some of the iPad apps do deliver a magical experience. Where it’s at now, the iPad is far from being the perfect tablet device due to its limitations for getting ‘real’ work done (unless of course you are part of the Gorillaz).
I see people in their suits, walking around town with their iPads and can’t help but feel the trendiness of the device dictates over its true usefulness as a work tool. For me, the iPad is a nice to have, fun to use, novelty device which is great for content consumption. Maybe when it gets some productivity enhancements, I’ll be able to take it more seriously.