After a great deal of unseemly begging, I managed to acquire an iPad. My intentions were to make it into a internet browser, email reader, blogging, and light writing machine. Additionally, I knew there’d be some time suck from games and I could set it up as a book reader, music player, movie viewer. I had hopes of possibly doing something resembling work with it.
Illusions are easily shattered.
Let’s start with internet browsing. It’s great. Really. As long as I stay away from Flash, which, for the most part, so far, I’ve been able to. +1 for the iPad. Email reading, it was easy to set up an email account, and there’s a Google app, so getting to my Gmail is easy. The email client with the iPad is very pretty (let’s face it, Apple does pretty). I like how it stores conversations too. +1 for a score of 2 out of 2. Blogging is where things started to break down for me. I have yet to find the equivalent of LiveWriter for the iPad, but there is a WordPress app available. It crashed three times while I was setting it up. Then it crashed once in the middle of writing a post. Then it crashed when I decided to save my work by sending the draft to the web site, thereby losing all my work, again. At this point time, I’m not using it. -1 for a score of 2 out of 3. On to light writing. Some article work, maybe some editing of existing stuff, taking notes, functioning as a highly portable laptop. Yes, the keyboard in landscape is big enough for you to touch type. But there’s that word, touch. As soon as you touch any part of the keyboard, you’ve just pressed a letter. I suppose, over time, you could get used to not touching the keyboard, but currently, it’s killing me. I type reasonably well. In my youth I was up to 85 WPM. I probably type more like 45 now, but on the iPad it’s more like 4. -1 to change the score to 2 out of 4. Those were the main work purposes and I only got a score of 50%.
I haven’t started buying much software yet, because I’m still not convinced there’s a win here. I have set up free Dropbox. I’ve got the free version of Documents for word processing. I’m using the Analytics app to look at Google Analytics. Springpad has an iPad app, so all my notes & stuff from the Droid X are available to me, and that’s a win. The Tweetdeck app for the iPad is really good. But… those are really pretty slim pickings for functionality. Oh, and I hope this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone, iTunes is a horror show.
The one place that does stand out is the ability to browse the web on a device that’s big enough to really read. So, if you have a monitoring tool that exposes itself over a web page, such as Red Gate’s SQL Monitor (and have you entered the contest to win your own iPad) or Confio Ignite, you have a method to take advantage of those utilities in a much better way than you can on your smart phone.
As far as the time-suck goes, it’s great! I watched a movie streamed from Netflix (have I mentioned that I love my Verizon FiOS internet connection). I’ve got Angry Birds loaded up. I put the Kindle app on and have some of my books on there as well some in ePub in the built in book reader. I can hit my favorite web sites for news & information. In fact, I’ve only hit one web site so far that had any noticible FLASH installed. So, on that level, the iPad has been fantastic.
I’d like to find more ways to make this into a useful tool. If anyone has suggestions, I’m open. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the toy aspects a lot.