Thursday, 15 July 2010

iPad - My Verdict

Several people have asked me my opinion of the iPad. Maybe it's because they know I'm not in the least techy-minded - html still baffles and scares me - that they think if I can use it anyone can.

As with all Apple products a great deal of effort has gone into the design. The weight and size of it is perfect. Any bigger and it wouldn't fit in a decent sized handbag. Any smaller and it would just be a larger version of the iPhone - without the phone or camera.

The first thing that struck me is it feels delicate, frighteningly so. The casing is very smooth and I can understand why some people have accidently dropped it or it has slipped off a lap. Prior to purchase I investigated iPad cases and quite fancied a 'leather' one, only to be talked out of the idea by another iPad owner; so upon recommendation I ordered the Apple case and I've no regrets. It's made of a microfibre material which, rather like a silicon cover for a touch phone, has good grip and is reasonably sturdy. I'd say the Apple case is an essential even though, as with all Apple products, it is an extra at £30. Mine was free and that's why it didn't arrive along with the iPad. When I ordered the tablet by telephone I mentioned the length of time I'd had to wait to speak to a salesperson and I was immediately offered a free cover. Now, I'm not suggesting that happens to everyone who orders by telephone but ...

There are no instructions in the box, just a USB cable, a fancy 3 pin plug, the tablet and a note saying connect to your computer. When I did automatically iTunes opened and I followed the instructions from there but the setting up wasn't complex at all. I opted to play with it first rather than spend time watching instruction videos on Youtube. Don't ask me why! It was a time-consuming mistake. One drawback is I'm not an iPhone user, although my computer is a Mac, and since receiving the tablet last Thursday I've spent too much time working out the basics.

One of my reasons for buying an iPad was to use it for reading books. The iBooks feature is good but I was disappointed that the books are the same price as a bookshop and Apple's only free book is Winnie the Pooh. With iBooks you can download the first chapter of any book for free prior to purchase. Having done some research I downloaded the Amazon Kindle app for the iPad and although the interface is much more basic than iBooks, there are plenty free books available. It's not the same as physically holding a book but it is the next best thing and the fact that I can read anytime, anywhere and even in total darkness, is a joy.

The graphics are exceptionally clear - Mac users expect that from Apple - and the keyboard is nearly netbook size if used in landscape mode. It can be linked to any wireless keyboard for those who prefer this option. A friend said it should have a camera as he finds one essential for when he's using Skype. Fair comment, but I don't think the lack of a camera is too serious.

I know I'll have good use from this latest piece of technology and the basic tablet will be fine for my needs. One thing is certain, the iPad heralds the end of notebooks and balancing a hot laptop on your knees could well become a thing of the past. Now all I have to do is visit a good friend and give him a demonstration. For those of you interested he's the lovely person who did the banner for this blog (that isn't me in it) and is a most patient adviser on IT.

Oh, that's something else I should mention. For some weeks I've been trying to 'modernise' my blog, not radically, but with one of Blogger's new wider templates. The thought that I could lose everything has prevented me from making the final change, even though I've had advice on how to save the blog content. On the iPad my present 'old-fashioned' blog design allows me to enlarge the text without losing any of the page. So there will be no changes in the near future!


Conan the Librarian™ said...

Can I crash at your iPad man?

subrosa said...

Anytime Conan, anytime. :)

Joe Public said...

"...and Apple's only free book is Winnie the Poo."

Spot the typo!

subrosa said...

Ah you're clever finding the deliberate mistake Joe. First prize! I thought I'd stick that in after my earlier post. :)

Now I'll go and change it to what it ought to be.

john.boettcher said...

Hello, not sure if you have checked the built in manual - it's hidden in the Safari app. Go to Bookmarks and you'll find an excellent in depth manual. Much better than the .PDF guide one can download from Apple's website!

Glad you're enjoying you iPad but beware the temptations of the App Store!


Dramfineday said...

See you techno pensioners - I hate you. All that world at your finger tip stuff..........just you wait until the battery extension pack comes along, that's your five kilos of hand luggage quota gone in a flash(drive).... LOL you technomage(but you'd have to be a Bablyon 5 fan to understand that comment)

kind regards Londo Mollari

RMcGeddon said...

Heck Rosie our libraries will close down if you insist on buying this rubbish !

subrosa said...

John, how kind of you to tell me about this. No I haven't discovered it but I will tomorrow - I'll make time!

Auch John, I don't want lots of Apps. Shortcuts to my favourite sites is enough to make my front pages look pretty. :)

subrosa said...

Techno pensioner? I wish, oh how I wish. Mind you, I'll be so much more efficient on it once I've taken John's advice and done a little study.

You can't scare me with the thought of a 5kg battery pack. I've the very answer to that Dram. It's a USB cable with a plug fitted on the end. By the time power runs out in the world I'll be long gone. :)

subrosa said...

Naw RMcGeddon, I'll still use the local library. It's been under threat for years but the selection of books has gradually declined and space given over to computers for public use.

It's not rubbish, just an extension of this muckle desktop which I'd find impossible to cart around.

Dramfineday said...

Ah see, I knew you were a technomage.....enough, am off to my traditionaly sprung bed. Ok you've got memory foam??

subrosa said...

You're 50% right Dram. My traditionally sprung bed is ageing like me and in order to buy such toys as an iPad, a 2 inch piece of memory foam adorns the top of the mattress.

In all seriousness, that bit of foam is perhaps one of my best buys in the past few years.

JuliaM said...

"There are no instructions in the box..."

Which is either the hallmark of really great design. Or really bad design... :)

scribblercraig said...

I've found the Kindle store to have a far better variety of books than the Apple one - and quite often the books are coming in a lot cheaper at US prices.

subrosa said...

Thanks craig. Yes I'd agree. Also the Kindle App has quite a few free books which will be handy for holiday reading etc. Doubt if I'll be using iBooks too much even though it is prettier than Kindle.

Don't know about you but I didn't expect iBooks to cost the same as a shop - and you can't lend it to anyone unless they have an iPad. Bit of a rip off that.

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