12
   

WHAT ALL CAN AN I-PAD DO?

 
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2010 01:39 pm
@DrewDad,
With the laptop video the problem of heat buildup came to mind as laptops had enough problems with cooling without the kind of casing that the video showed being used.

Great you can drop if from 9 feet but it will cook the electronic in ten minutes or so.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2010 02:57 pm
The main attraction of the iPad is the form factor. You'll find many other devices that will do more (though you can do a lot with the iPhone OS) but you'll be hard pressed to find one that does more with the same form factor.

And something geeks don't tend to get, is that when it comes to mobile devices form factor is itself a very important feature.

I recommend iPads for people who read a lot of digital text and would prefer a more comfortable device for doing so. I don't like reading on a desktop PC or a laptop (I don't really use my laptops anymore) and this device has a form factor and battery life to put a laptop to shame for things like reading.

I'll eventually get one mainly for that, I don't read in bed right now but I would if I had a more comfortable digital reader than a laptop. I could get a dedicated reader like the Kindle but that does so much less than the iPad (there are a lot of great games for the iPad that I like) that for me it is a no-brainer. Right now this is the best device for me in that form factor.

There is a lot of hype around this (as usual for an Apple product) but ultimately it is just a very good tablet. I know folks who will replace their phone with it (you can run skype etc on it, but you can only receive calls when such programs are open) but I certainly don't recommend it as a phone. It is not a smartphone. It isn't great for content generation (word processing). It is great for content consumption.

So I'll mainly use it to surf the web, read books, play games, etc. I won't use it to write much, I can't really use it to program or get work done. It is not a swiss army knife, a netbook can do more. But that is the point that people who don't understand design and usability don't get.

Apple's lead industrial designer, Jonathan Ive said: "In many ways, it's the things that are not there that we are most proud of. For us, it is all about refining and refining until it seems like there's nothing between the user and the content they are interacting with." And this is a concept that the average layman almost never gets but that is a fundamental part of design. As Antoine de St-Expurey put it, "A designer knows that he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

But it is human nature to just want more features (this is especially the case with gadget reviewers who tend to review based on total feature set) and left to our own devices much of our designs would be like the Homer car. Homer Simpson was asked to design a car and this is what he came up with:

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/3648/thehomercar.jpg

And to a great extent, computing is like this. There is a reason your TV or your toaster are easier to operate than a computer. It is because they set out to do less than your computer does. There is a reason that people watch TV on a TV even though you could watch it on your computers if you have a TV tuner card.

This is the kind of device that aims to improve on some experiences (e.g. reading) over other computing devices through improvements in form factor and usability. The main problem it aims to solve is in the realm of ergonomics. Get one if that form factor appeals to you, because any of its features can be found on other devices. The appeal here is the form factor and usability.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2010 04:18 pm
@patiodog,
I have a Dell laptop and, outside of using it ion the RV amd around the house, it isnt as portable as you think. I want something I can use as a field notebook, write up data and **** and then , when I find a spot (either a wifi or :bars:) send the stuff home so its always safe in a deck.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2010 04:23 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Ultimately, though, I think the closed nature of the platform will be its downfall.

From Closed To Open: iPhone App Developer Skepticism Highlights Platform Trajectory

Quote:
I've been getting into some interesting discussions with people lately concerning open vs. closed platforms -- especially in light of the supposed "success" of Apple's iPhone app store, which is a very closed platform. And the point that I've tried to make is that you have to understand the trajectories of these things over time. At any given time, it's never difficult to find a closed platform that is successful. In fact, I'd argue that if you are reshaping a market, often it helps to have a closed platform initially to drive that market in a useful direction -- though, this can really only be accomplished by someone visionary (Steve Jobs certainly counts). The question is how does this play out long term. And the answer is that you can't stay closed too long, or open solutions will catch up and surpass you. We've seen this pattern multiples times (closed AOL --> open internet?).

Where this gets trickier is that the open solutions are almost always substandard to the closed solutions initially. In some ways, this is by design. The closed solution is often much cleaner and slicker, and so it gets a lot of the initial use. But, overtime, the limitations of the closed solutions become increasingly clear, and as people bump up against those limits, frustrations increase, and more and more effort is put towards making the open solutions better -- even to the point that eventually they exceed the closed solution. It's a messy process, but the point where momentum shifts is often a subtle one, and the proprietors of the closed solution usually don't recognize it's a problem until way too late.

I believe that's the case with the App Store. The iPhone itself did an amazing job pushing the state of the mobile phone/portable computer market forward. There are some people who like to mock it as nothing special, but that's unfair. The device itself was a huge leap forward in demonstrating what a phone could be, and many others are just starting to grasp what this means more than two years after the original was introduced. That said, we're seeing more and more evidence concerning frustrations on the limits imposed by Apple's closed system, such as the arbitrary rejections of apps.

James points us to a worthwhile post from an iPhone developer, noting how the process is getting to the point where it's less and less worth it to develop for that platform. You have to put in a ton of work, and then you have to wait for quite a while just to get the app approved (or rejected), and the whole process is quite arbitrary. With that in mind, developers have a lot less certainty, and it shows a growing interest in other platforms.

To date, admittedly, such alternatives really haven't been very good. There are other app stores (some more open than others), but none has really been able to build up much traction yet on other devices. But there's a huge opportunity here if someone else can make this happen (or, if there were a way to standardize across some of the competitors) and start doing a better job serving both developers and consumers. The closed solution helps define the initial market -- but the open solution almost always wins in the long run.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Apr, 2010 06:33 pm
@farmerman,
Hi FM, maybe you can find a store near you that has an iPad on display and go over and play with it. Getting your hands on it (and having the sales guy show you what it can do) is probably the best way to decide if it's what you are looking for.

When the iPod Touch first came out I read a bunch about them, but it wasn't until I went to the store and got my fingers on one that I knew it was what I wanted.

Do you have one of the Apple Stores near you?

http://www.wired.com/video/latest-videos/latest/1815816633/handson-with-apples-ipad/75854562001?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 09:27 am
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:
Ultimately, though, I think the closed nature of the platform will be its downfall.


Maybe in a few years, but right now it's not like there is a viable alternative in that form factor. And by the time there is maybe they just open up a bit more. They can get away with this because there's no viable competition.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 11:15 am
Words fail.....

DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 11:20 am
@Irishk,
Best quote: "What was the point of that, again?"
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 11:39 am
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Best quote: "What was the point of that, again?"


"To be seen by millions on youtube".
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 11:42 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
So I'll mainly use it to surf the web, read books, play games, etc. I won't use it to write much, I can't really use it to program or get work done. It is not a swiss army knife, a netbook can do more. But that is the point that people who don't understand design and usability don't get.


It's an overblown point. You'd be able to read off of my netbook just as easily, the screen is basically exactly the same. I don't understand how this would 'put my laptop to shame' - the battery life of my netbook is equivalent and the form factor of the thing isn't that much better then it either. You can't read a book on either of them if you go to the park and it's sunny.

I played with one last week - got a friend who writes reviews for CNET who got one - and was thoroughly unimpressed. But I'm sure the fanboys will love it.

Quote:

I recommend iPads for people who read a lot of digital text and would prefer a more comfortable device for doing so.


No way. A Kindle is a million times better for this, infinitely better. If you held the two up side-by-side and tried to read, you'd agree.

Cycloptichorn
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:07 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Hmm, if I just use a netbook as a reader and a small word processor, and a netsurfer, I can do it all and its economically more attractive?

We have a Mac place all the way down in Wilmington Del, and thats almost 70 miles.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:29 pm
@Irishk,
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 12:48 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
It's an overblown point. You'd be able to read off of my netbook just as easily, the screen is basically exactly the same.


I don't like holding laptops to read, if you do bully to you.

Quote:
I don't understand how this would 'put my laptop to shame' - the battery life of my netbook is equivalent and the form factor of the thing isn't that much better then it either.


To you, not to me. I would prefer to read on this form factor.

Quote:
You can't read a book on either of them if you go to the park and it's sunny.


Duly noted.

Quote:
But I'm sure the fanboys will love it.


I'm sure they will. I'm sure the idiots won't (now that we are playing this game).

Fortunately I am neither.

Quote:
Quote:
I recommend iPads for people who read a lot of digital text and would prefer a more comfortable device for doing so.


No way. A Kindle is a million times better for this, infinitely better. If you held the two up side-by-side and tried to read, you'd agree.


No, I would not. I understand the e-ink advantage, but I want to read more than what is available on a kindle. It's another walled garden as you know (and inconsistently apply arguments about) and the iPad is more open in this regard (I can read kindle books if I want, but I'll stick with open epub books that I can read on stanza or even Apple's own reader).

And why does the iPad burn your ass so much? Don't like it? Don't get it. But what is with trying to convince me that I don't like it? I like this form factor, and want to see more of it. If you don't that's fine with me. We don't have to like the same things. I get that it doesn't do what you want, and I even agree that it's walled garden is evil. But what's with trying to convince me that I would like reading on a laptop and that this isn't a form factor I would prefer?

BTW, it moved more units than the iPhone did on day 1, and other manufactures are getting ready to launch products with this form factor so you'll be seeing a lot of this. You should probably get ready to accept that. I can't wait till other more open systems use this form factor. Hell, I'd have loved for this to been the CrunchPad but yet again Apple is going to have to push the bar in this space.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 01:03 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm not trying to convince you of anything - you've already made your feelings on the device perfectly clear. I was just responding to your post and adding in my thoughts for others (like FM) to read.

Quote:

I don't like holding laptops to read, if you do bully to you.


Well neither do I, but that's hardly the point here. If you're sitting down or lying in bed, the form-factor advantage of the Ipad is minimal. In fact, for lying down and reading, I don't know if it's preferable to have the Ipad; you have to hold it up. With a netbook it holds itself up.

Nevertheless, I doubt I would read much on either of these devices; a Kindle is far superior to both. I read a lot on my Ipod, but only because it fits in my pocket.

Quote:

Quote:

You can't read a book on either of them if you go to the park and it's sunny.

Duly noted.


This is a huge deal though. It's a portable device, but it doesn't work well in a lot of places you'd want to take it to. This indicates a lack of forethought on the part of the designers.

Quote:

No, I would not. I understand the e-ink advantage, but I want to read more than what is available on a kindle.


Have you held the two up next to each other? No? I have. So I don't know how you can say this. The Kindle is far easier to read, far easier on the eyes, lighter, longer battery life, and works in bright daylight.

What are you trying to read, that isn't available on the kindle, but IS on the Ipad? I find that part to be confusing.

Quote:

BTW, it moved more units than the iPhone did on day 1, and other manufactures are getting ready to launch products with this form factor so you'll be seeing a lot of this. You should probably get ready to accept that.


Well, there's no accounting for taste, so. I can't stop people from buying inferior, expensive toys, and wouldn't dream of trying to if I could.

And it's not like marketing doesn't push inferior products in our system constantly. A great example are Bose speakers; the sound quality on them is nothing to write home about, yet they are a 'recognized name' and sell a lot of units, despite many reviews panning them.

I think it's really funny that those who want one of these things get so upset when others point out the shortcomings, personally. It's just a consumer product, and a 1.0 version of one as well. Nothing to get your knickers in a twist over. If you have several hundred dollars that are sitting around and you're looking for a fun toy, hey - go for it! I'm quite sure it will be fun to play with. But it's not a replacement for anything that currently exists, and it doesn't really do anything at all better then devices which already exist. Just an expensive toy.

Here's another review, from Slashdot -

Quote:
Apple: iPad Review on Monday April 05, @12:42PM
Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday April 05, @12:42PM
from the can-i-expense-this-thing dept.
apple
This weekend saw the delivery of iPads into hundreds of thousands of filthy hands. I managed to get my hands on a 32GB unit and put it through its paces for a battery charge and a half, and wanted to take a few minutes to share some notes with you. But if you don't care to read the whole review, let me give you a hint: I am typing this review on my laptop.

The packaging is minimal and sleek. Almost nothing comes inside the box: just a cable, power cube and some minuscule documentation that nobody will read. The iPad itself arrived fully charged. It is usable out of the box without any syncing, but I chose almost immediately to pair it with my laptop just to get all my apps and data on it. This syncing process took forever. It's kind of amazing how long it takes to sync 20 or so gigs of movies and mp3s. This isn't unique to the iPad of course, but I never really noticed it on the phone since I don't sync video there.

The UI and functionality is pretty much as expected: It's a big iPhone. There are some minor differences (like being able to drag different numbers of items to the sticky footer menu). The new calendar application is nice. But the star is the mail client. Reading mail on my iPhone has been the "Last Resort," but the speed and clean layout and usability of the iPad mail app makes me prefer it to my desktop. I need a faster way to mark spam, but that's not necessarily the end of the world. Writing mail on the iPad is a different story. More on that below.

The new photo app is decent, but if you have a large number of albums and events it gets tough to find specific stuff quickly. I can't figure out why the iPhone and now the iPad don't make use of folders. Their mac equivalents both let you create nicely nested hierarchies of albums or playlists, but those both get lost on their little cousins where screen real estate is even MORE important. The video app seems to do strange things with thumbnails: it seemed to want to give videos the same thumbnail icon if they share an "Album." This means navigating my home movies category is lame because all 15 or so videos have the same thumbnail. It shouldn't be that way.

My iPad has no 3G, therefore it has no GPS. But applications were constantly asking me for permission to use my location. This seems like an oversight: if you don't have a location sensor, don't ask! Even the built-in Map app asked me for information that it could not possibly have.

Finally, time to test Safari: I tested out Slashdot first, and it renders pretty well. There are a couple of minor layout glitches and a few trickier functionality problems. The problems are mostly the same as the iPhone, but having the larger screen makes it a lot more obvious. I'll probably get some tickets into the system this week to clean up these bugs.

When I started browsing the net at large I noticed a few interesting problems: The first is that a lot of websites are serving iPhone pages to the iPad. So you get a number of ridiculously minimalistic pages on the big bright screen. It's laughably annoying to see these teeny tiny menus. Most sites seem fine, but I was surprised at the number of mainstream sites that thought I needed this. The lack of Flash is MUCH more noticeable than I thought it would be. The good news is that YouTube seems to embed cleanly and in-place, so a lot of video oriented websites still work fine. But the lack of Flash hurts. Apple has made their position known on the subject, so I'm not expecting anything to change. The lack of a real scroll bar make sites that make use of frames for navigation not really work properly. At the end of the day, I was surprised at the number of sites that actually had SOME problem with them. Most worked fine, but when something fails, I noticed more than I do on the iPhone. I think this is simply a user expectation thing: on my phone I expect things NOT to work and am happy when they do. On the iPad I expect things to work as well as they do in Safari in my desktop, and am irritated when they don't.

I tried out a good number of apps. The NetFlix app is really nice, but it doesn't let me rate selections using their little star system. Since I'm OCD about that, this bugs me. Epicurious is a fantastically elegant little recipe system that really shines on the system. ABCs app works but meh. The Weather Channel has a nice little app, and several of my old favorites have ports that make at least some use of the big screen. I suspect it'll be a few months before we really see what the unit has to offer since many of the most popular apps haven't been ported yet. I'm thinking Facebook and even the Apple Remote are very overdue. But hey, the old versions work, they just look like crap.

Let me talk about User Accounts. An iPhone doesn't have them, which is fine because one phone sits in one person's pocket. But your laptop is passed around, and the user account system on a Mac is necessary in any place where you want multiple people sharing a computer with any regularity. The iPad needs it: since this machine wants to see it a public place and be handed around, my wife shouldn't have to keep logging out of Gmail and Facebook. And I shouldn't have to leave my iPad on the coffee table signed into my mail. And I shouldn't have to sign out every time I put it down, leaving a brick on the table unusable by guests.

Finally let me talk about the device itself. It's heavy. I mean, surprisingly heavy. The specs say that it is 1.5lbs, which sounded very light on paper. For the first few minutes, I liked the heft; I felt that I was holding a solid, well-crafted item in my hands. But then I started trying to figuring out ways to type. I wrote a number of emails of moderate length and slowly realized that I just don't like typing on this thing. It's fine for URLs and names and passwords and a sentence here and there. But to actually sit down and write a thousand-word review well, there's just no way. I tried many different angles, but in order to hold it in your lap and type, you sorta need to prop it against your belly. Holding it up one handed made my arm kinda tired fairly quickly: unless I'm willing to squish my thumb against the center of the screen. When I do this, the center of gravity shifts and it's much more comfortable to hold, but there's a giant thumb blocking my screen, making it impossible to type. You can cradle it in your arm and type one-handed. That seems like the only way to use it while standing. But I just don't see myself writing anything lengthy. After a day of heavy usage, I felt a little sore. The size and shape is nearly perfect. But all that screen and battery sure feels heavy when it's spread out like this.

But I'll tell you what I like: Having a casual PC at arm's length for a quick lookup of something. Working within the screen size of the iPhone often makes simple internet tasks unwieldy, but provided whatever you need doesn't use Flash, this is a great little web browser. Fast and pretty.

Since the announcement of the iPad, I've wondered what its role could be. My first big question was whether it be a complete replacement PC for "Grandma." Like many of you, I'm occasionally called upon to do little tech support tasks on PCs that do very little, and I was hoping that this might be the solution. After just one day I know this is not going to work for them. The difficulty using the keyboard. The missing Flash. And the lack of video camera for chatting with the grand kids make this device simply not ready for them.

My other big question is how much of a replacement PC it could be for a power user. Now I can work around Flash and rarely need a camera, but what is clear to me is that a huge percentage of my screen time is spent staring at iChat. While I don't usually need a camera or microphone, my iChat is connected to 4 different networks, and I simply can't do my job without the steady stream of co-worker notes and bot notifications that I rely on. I've yet to find an app that lives in the background and is capable of connecting to the 4 distinct networks that I use. (AIM, SSL'd Jabber and Non-SSL'd Jabber)

I'm not expecting a WoW client or anything, but Chat? Seriously, Apple: You're on iPhone 3.something-or-other and you can't give us a chat client? I can only hope that the end of the exclusive AT&T era means that Apple will no longer be tied to some secret back room deal that forced iPhones to try to shove users to the crap SMS network to pad a telco profit margin despite the fact that our devices are living on a Wi-FI.

So, what does Apple need to fix?

* Lose several ounces. PLEASE.
* Video Camera
* iChat
* User switching (or at least an Anonymous mode)

I used it for a day and a half and think that it will be an excellent couch companion PC. I'm also certain that on planes, long car rides, and vacations it will be a great little machine. The battery life is pretty dang amazing. But this is a 1.0 piece of hardware running 3.0 software. The size/shape is great. The speed is wonderful. And 2 years of Moore's law might make this a device to be reckoned with if Apple sells enough of them to continue heavy development on the software and hardware. This version isn't a replacement PC for anyone yet, but future versions might be. You probably want to save your cash until then.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 01:11 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAl28d6tbko[/youtube]


That was painful to watch LOL. I'd probably buy the blender before the iPad, but I wish they'd have used nails or something to prove their point.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 02:34 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
A couple of points, here:

1. Kindle might win if you only consider readability, but how does it do with movies? Music? Web-browsing? The iPad is a generic media accessibility device.
2. The reviewer is looking at the device too much from a productivity standpoint. It isn't meant to be a productivity device.

The fact is, it's going to be a successful device, despite the shortcomings that many see in it.

Most folks don't eat Vegan. It has lots of health drawbacks, too. But they still manage to sell Vegan cookbooks.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 02:37 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
Maybe in a few years, but right now it's not like there is a viable alternative in that form factor. And by the time there is maybe they just open up a bit more. They can get away with this because there's no viable competition.

No, I agree on those points. The closed platform also makes it so that when you turn it on it just works. No messing with Windows Updates, antivirus, malware, ad nauseum.

0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 02:50 pm
@DrewDad,
I'm quite sure it will be financially successful. None of that changes what I wrote at all.

Quote:
Most folks don't eat Vegan. It has lots of health drawbacks, too. But they still manage to sell Vegan cookbooks.


Now THERE'S a good analogy for the situation!

Cycloptichorn
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 03:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
From fakesteve....LOL
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 04:31 pm
Did anyone mention it doesn't multitask? I'm listening to the PC Mag podcast and the person speaking did a review of the iPad. PC Magazine was one of 6 media institutions who got the iPad months ago so they had time to play with it.

They're giving it a good review but they keep saying it's not a laptop replacement but an electronic supplement to one's treasury of electronic goodies.
 

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