Monday, April 12, 2010

iPad – hands off review

Image by Frank Kendralla
Wedding and Portrait Photographer

iPad – hands off review

The intent of this post and future post concerning the iPad – does it meet our need and is it more than a glorified iPod touch?
  1. Is it practical?
  2. Does it replace a basic netbook?
  3. Is it a good e-reader?
  4. Does it do an amazing job displaying my photography portfolio?
  5. Is it fun?

Why is this called a hands off review?  No, it doesn’t mean not to buy the iPad since only you can make this decision.  It is because I am mainly using feedback and information from my wife.  First, keep in mind through this review that my wife is not a ‘techie’ person.  Technology is something she uses since it is part of today’s society. We are polar opposites when it comes to technology.  She believes sometime when I was a kid; a chip was placed in my head.  Maybe, and it could explain my fascination with technology and using it to enhance my business and personal life.  :-D

A friend of ours bought one early in the day of its release and he gave us a brief demo that immediately sold my wife on the new toy, iPad.  We headed to Best Buy and minutes before they closed we purchased the iPad.  Within minutes of opening the box and viewing a few online videos, my wife was using the new toy. iPad

Again, keep in mind that technology and anything technical isn’t my wife’s passion.  Give her a learning tool for kids and she is all over it like a bear and honey.  She loves the old standard way of learning and doing.  With a book, paper, and pencil in hand.  Remind me one day to tell you the story when we bought her an iPod touch for Christmas.  It is a classic.  Therefore, this review is based little on my impression as a techno geek but from the perspective of a person who figures something should work as it states it should.  Forget all the hype and flashy (no pun intended) apps and gadgets.

The first plus is that she was able to get the iPad working (with very little assistance from me) immediately upon unpacking it from its box.  Although we did wonder why Apple used wallpaper that made it look like the screen has scratches on it but that is a discussion for a different day. I set up the WiFi for our home router and she watched the videos on using the iPad and logged into her email.  I showed her how to download a few apps and she was ready to go.

She browed the web and started to read her email.  We downloaded the Netflix app and briefly watched a movie to ‘experience’ watching a movie on the iPad.  It streamed seamlessly and the sound was good.  She started to play and was immediately impressed with its ease of use and feel.

I had to leave for a business trip a few days later and she was still playing with it.  (Which is a good sign.)  Each day I would ask if she liked it.  She stated yes but it wasn’t the most important thing on her list.  “I have to educate the kids.”  This is where we are different.  I would have played and played with the toy each day until I learned it inside and out. :-D 

Later in the week, she began to ask more and more about why two things kept occurring.
  1. She couldn’t watch videos on her favorite site. or on homeschooling sites that had information she needed.
  2. Each time she wanted to do something different the app closed and she had to open a new one. 

Point one:  I explained that the iPad didn’t support Flash.  No, she didn’t care about what it is or anything technical about it.  I gave her a brief response why it didn’t work and she stated.  “That’s stupid, didn’t they know that the internet has videos on it?.”  Referring to why Apple would release a product that didn’t play videos from the internet.  Each time she wanted to play a video online she encountered this problem.  Her response was the same each time.  “That’s stupid.”  Is this a big issue?  Yes, regardless of the reasons why flash support isn’t on the iPad, it is an integral part of our internet experience.  It is almost like saying; your new car is an amazing technical device.  It is powered by the most advanced engine and transmission ever released to the public.  However, since we don’t want to support the oil industry we are powering it with rocks from the moon.  Yes, we know that you will not be able to use your new device but it is an amazing car.  Trust us, one day all the fueling stations will change and use our new fuel.  Until then, you will have limited but a fun experience. 

Maybe in a few months the lack of flash support will be a non-issue.  However, to us it is an issue.  I was sitting with the iPad browsing the net doing some research for a different project and nearly every site I visited needed flash support.  After 15-20 minutes, I decided the only way I was going to get the information I needed was to use my desktop computer.

Point two: Multi-tasking.  My wife does not know the technical term for multi-tasking but does know that she would like to use two programs at the same time. She kept asking why do I need to go back to the main page (desktop) when I want to do something else. It would be nice to be surf the web, find the information needed, then copy and paste into the publishing app. My Droid can do multitasking.  I can be in the browser and send the link via twitter if needed.  To quote my wife concerning the lack of multi-tasking, “that’s stupid; didn’t anyone think we do two things at once?”

Are these two issues a deal breaker?  Maybe long-term it will be. Story has it that there is a work around coming from Adobe.  Stop back for a review for the keyboard-docking station.  Apple sent me an email stating it should arrive late in the week.  

I plan to discuss ways I plan to use the iPad for displaying my photography portfolio and other possible productive solutions.

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