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iPad impressions


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SunLizard

SunLizard

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Here's my Cliff-notes version:

Neat:
- Nicely composed. Feel and intuition of the Device and OS 'just works'.
- Niiiicce e-reader. Much better, I imagine, that 99 percent of the other readers out there.
- Nice Mail App. Big screen much more conducive to reading through mail. Orientation feature works well.
- Another solid product. Like AppleTV. or Newton.

Disappointing:
- ACK! Finger Prints!!! Very noticeable when in the 'wrong light'. Ick.
- No home sharing?!! WTF? with a 16/32/64 Gb device, you have got to get wireless right. That means wireless functionality.
- Where's my camera?
- Entire gateway for all media is iTunes? (or Youtube) really? once again WTF?
- No SD card slot? This is redonkulous. Really.

Overall: Wait till the next rev come out. Seriously.

-----------------------------------
And the Long-Winded Version:

Background. I'm an Apple Fan. Some might even say Fanboy. I had very high hopes that the iPad would be my TriCorder. The last device I would ever need. Even after the Jan 22nd reveal I figured I would probably just be impressed anyway. I mean I loved the AppleTV. Really love(d) it!

Anyway, despite my reservations about the SOC (system-on-a-chip) A4 Design (please Apple, lets not do PowerPC all over again!) and the apparent lack of cameralike device (so your iPod Nano gets a move cam but you can't make it work in the iPad?) I pre-ordered one anyway.

The ordering and pick up process went extremely smoothly. Thanks Apple Certified Specialists!

I got it home. First power up. I had heard Johny Ive and Schiller talk about the first power up magic. Evidently the magic takes place after you get past the 'must sync with iTunes' wards displayed after the first time you push the button....

15 minutes to update iTunes on Windows 7 (granted oooolllld computer) -- there was a good reason I am syncing it with my old windows laptop, but I won't go into that here..

Then, look, lo and behold itunes 9.01 wants to utilize my last iPhone back up to transfer information! Wow, now that's bloody efficeint, I thought. Although 2 minutes turned into 6 then into 12 minutes.. after about 25 minutes I was ready to power up my iPad for the first time. ** I blamed the delay on the fact I was using iTunes on a windows box.... to give apple the Benefit of the Doubt. So I powered it up thinking that all my old mail, email accounts, purchases, settings, etc would have transferred over in the 25 minute wait...

Nope.

Not a freaking thing (except some free-apps.) Hmm. Very un-Apple like. So another 6 minutes of re-creating 3 email accounts and syncing and I was ready to surf with the guys in the commercials.

I was sitting in a well sun lit room. I noticed that my initial 5 minutes of poking this device with clean hands (who wouldn't wash their hands before playing....) had left this thing covered in finger prints. Ick. I retired to a less well lit room. That was when the aura of perfections started to fracture just a little.

So I was sitting in the bedroom now, not noticing finger-prints but looking for the new cool iBook Store. hmm. Not there. Weird. I poke around for another 2-3 minutes re-sizing apps, updating older iPhone only apps and notice that the iBook is in the AppStore. Weird, why didn't they pre-install their killer app? Very Un-Apple like.

I'll fast forward another 4 minutes and now I'm looking at the iBook store. it Automatically downloaded Winnie the Pooh for me. I must say the e-reading experience was quite magical. Page animations are exquisite. Now this is Apple. Books look great. Shifting Fonts/Sizes/Magnification was a snap. This is what you want from an e-reader. Screw 256 Levels of Grey. This app is quality. I would hope they release something like this for the desktops as well. ( ** A recently noticed deficiency is the lack of an ability to open up a PDF in this format, but I haven't fully explored this yet.... perhaps I missed something...)

Before I go on: The iPad packaging is standard apple and therefore top notch. Only accompanying hardware is sync cable (ipod cables don't work (prior to 5G) I found out from empirical testing) and 10W charger. I did notice that my iPad would not charge from the computer USB... not sure if its because of a smart charging device (at 97 percent) or the laptop's USB didn't have the joules.... Anyway. Only 3 other things are included in package. 2 apple stickers for you SUVs.... 1 FCC requirements manual pamphlet, and 1 3x5 size instruction page telling you to download iTunes. That it. Save the trees.

I poked around for the next 20-30 minutes with some of the iApps optimized for iPad and others iPhone hold overs. for those with a substantial library of iPhone Apps: I had about 85% rate success with functionality. Some, like Spore Origins just wouldn't launch for me. I will say this though. 150,000 apps may be functional but you wont want to run them on your iPad. iPhone emulation (I know its actually native, but you get my point) is crappy. you have this great big beautiful screen screaming for HD. You don't want to play Atari 2600 games on it. Thats what the old apps felt like while they were running. Like watching ColecoVision on a Bravia.

Okay, but I'm still on my Apple Store endorphin high.... on to the movies. I had pre-loaded the Star Trek HD release when I synced. Awesome. Everything from the commercial... Speaker levels are much better than my 2006 MacBook, more robust and louder.... Playback is uber-smooth. Silky even. Device fairly hums with it. Resolution changes were no problem. Stop, change apps, resume all work in very Apple fashion. Overall very happy. I've been apple nut for a while so I know I'm going to have to use .mp4 format and I'm okay with that.

My main media library sits on a Time Machine disk. Since traditionally all apple products get better with each other I'm assuming that I just have to find the right setting to access the new Home Sharing tab and have my entire MP4 library available to me... lets just say 10 minutes of poking and some forums checks affirm my fears. No media sharing for the wireless screen I hold in my sweaty little paws. You have got to be kidding?

This, beyond most things is un Apple.

<rant> (Apple) Guys come on.... we bend to your format rules (mp4 only) we shell out coin for a device with 10-20 percent of the permanent storage comparable to your competitors because you do things like implement bonjour sharing easily. We even accept you had your reasons for not putting an SD slot on the damn machine.... but not implementing something it would have been a few lines of code to accomplish? I'll hold off on official scorn until I see OS 4.0 for iPad, but please don't let me down!</rant>

So I'm a bit upset. My parade has started to see the first signs of a heavy cloud.

Although I had been mildy miffed about the absence of an SD (MicroSD/MiniSD/whatever) initially, this gave me a bigger burr in my saddle.

I wanted to email someone. So I played with the mail client. I must say I got so tickled I forgot to email Steve. For those of us who have witnessed generation after generation of windows blatantly mimicking aspects of MacOS, it was nice for a little payback. Someone at Apple evidently likes Outlook(nee Entourage) and done some work to improve its utility. Ergo the new mail app. It will seem intuitive because almost everyone who's touched a PC to check email will recognize its interface. Discuss amongst yourselves... but you cant get over the outlook-ish-ness of it.

So wiping down my fingerprint covered device, I figured I check one more thing. Photos. They seemed all the pooh in the commercials. So I open the Photos App. Nada. No photos. They must not have synced.... Funnny that my iPhone seems to have the entire library of 7000+. But that was before iTunes 9.01 upgrade..... After working through some directory permissions issues with My Photos and waiting about 4.5 hours for all 7294 photos to be optimized and transferred.... (Again, I blame windows.....and not necessarily iTunes.) I must say the Photo App was pretty dandy. However, since my iPad came with this really neat case (that Apple store gave me for a donation of only 39 bucks) I did notice that they were missing a FotoFrame app. But perhaps I didn't look in the right place.

I got up from my session wondering how much better it would have been to talk with my brother in North Carolina on iChat. Barring running to get my MacBook, we'll never find out. Not with this iPad anyway. And its a shame cause at 1.5 lbs, I wouldn't have gotten tired of running around with it. Ain't that no-camera a {censored}.

And finally iTunes. Man, I really though we'd get a major rev. we all know iTunes is a bit dated. The back-up and sync features for iPhone and iPad are slooow if you have any amount of data on your devices. I do honestly believe that the iPad took significantly longer to back up (subsequent to my initial load) and there were several setting that would not take once I hit apply (therefore forcing me to re-sync a number of times--- even more wasted time) It then dawned on me that, okay one application is nice, but I'd be willing to pay to make this more efficient. Where's my .99 cent Efficient Backup App? How about .99cent OnlyMyData App? I don't think I'm alone in this.

Anyway.

My parting shot is this. I am not disappointed with the product. Its a very good 1.0 release. The problem is I've been expecting 2.0 releases from apple as this is where they've been setting their standards. The magic in Apple comes from their business model, marry software and control the hardware and you've got something that is guaranteed to be magic. My iPad feels like a v1.5 hardware device and v1.0 software - a notch shorter than their v2.0 bar.

Had this been a magical experience, my order would have been submitted this evening for 3 more. As it stands the rest of the family will have to wait for the next rev when we'll hope the arrow hits a little closer to the mark.

I'm not a hater. I do like my iPad. I just don't love it. Any that's a first for an apple Product for me.





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