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ipad review

03 May 2010

I wanted to share my thoughts on the ipad. I bought the 16gb wifi model the day it came out. There are many reviews of the iPad that discuss pros and cons, I will only be discussing technical cons.

iBooks – I’ve read a few books on the ipad. Overall it is a good experience, but there are also a few issues. The device does get a little heavy after holding it for a few hours to read. About half the time when I turn the page, it doesn’t register. This is extremely annoying and the only way for me to deal with it is to make large exaggerated page swiping motions to turn the page. It gets tiring on my hands to have to make so many movements to turn the page. I hope that apple tunes this a bit more. I’ve also had some issues with the free books. I know this is not apple’s issue, but the formatting of many of the books from the Gutenburg project are messed up, missing table of contents, no pictures, and other various problems. One way this could be fixed if is there was a website that allowed anyone to submit changes and fixes to the books and then push the changes back upstream. Anyone using the Gutenburg books will have this problem, not just apple. Another annoying issue with iBooks is that every book I have wanted to but is not available on the iBooks bookstore. This makes it hard for me to read on the device. Books I’ve tried to by so far are: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Getting to Plan B, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I hope that apple selection grows over time, but currently it’s not feasible for me to use.

Safari – I do enjoy browsing in safari, but there are quite a few annoying issues. I often have multiple tabs open and when I switch between tabs, it reloads the page so I have to wait several more seconds to view the page I want to see. The issue seems to be that the iPad has very limited memory and so has to reload the pages. I also can’t use safari as a “real” browser. When I surf on my computer, I usually have at least 20 tabs open that I use as list of things I want to read later. For example, as I am reading an article online,I will see other articles I want to read and open them in new tabs. The iPad currently only supports 9 pages so after you have more then 9 pages, it will start overwriting other pages you had open. This forces me to constantly check to see if there are tabs I don’t want to read anymore and then delete them. The process of opening new tabs is also very annoying. When I open a new tab I usually switch back to the page I was previously reading. This means for every page I open, the browser switches to the new page, I then click on the “all tabs” view and then jump back to my previous page. What would be great is if safari had the ability to add new tabs in the background like you can do on OS X. Alternatively, you could try iCab, an alternative browser, it has a lot of functionality for power users(including opening pages in a background tab and not having to reload the page from the website every time), but it was fairly buggy. The latest update seems to have fixed a lot of these bugs though. Apple likes to tout safari as the best experience for browsing the Internet, but there are many functions that the browser cannot do. Safari should allow plugins so that people can augment their browsing experience. For example, I will never use the built in bookmarks manager because I store all my bookmarks in delicious. I want safari to be integrated with delicious. Another service I use is instapaper where I can save articles for later viewing. These are simple plugins that make browsing so much easier for me. If apple does not do this, then they should allow another browser onto the appstore that allows plugins.

Charging – Most people will need to plug in their iPad into a computer and a wall socket. This is because most computers don’t support the current (9w) that the iPad needs to charge. This is extremely annoying because it means you need to plug in your device to your computer to sync your device and then you need to go plug it into a socket to actually charge it. I wish I was able to charge and sync from the same computer. If my iPad was like the iphone, I would need to plug it in several times a day to get power and that would be extremely annoying, but fortunately I only need to charge the iPad once every few days or even once a week depending on the usage.
Random bugs – For some reason the AppStore and iBook store seems to forget my password and I need to input it several times a day. I read online that some people fixed it by reinstalling the operating system.

Mail client – Mail is a great client, I use it all the time for composing emails, the only issue I see is that there is no unified mail box to see mail from all your different accounts, but that will be fixed in the next operating system update.

Multitasking – Not being able to multitasking on the iPad severely limits the device, for example I use Skype a lot and not being able to view other documents while on a Skype meeting prevents me from getting work done. It’s painful knowing that the iPhone will have multitasking in June, but that the iPad will not get multitasking until the fall.

Guest accounts – The main issue I see also effects the iPhone, but its more dramatic with the iPad. When I bring my iPad outside to where a lot of friends will be, many people end of playing with it. I have a lot of private data on my iPad and people playing around with it will have access to all my data. There should be some way to restrict access to my data, ideally by some kind of guest account where they can still access all the applications on the iPad, but separate from my data.

Fortunately most of the problems I have seen without the iPad can be fixed via a software update and in fact most issues are already being worked on. I do see the iPad as a wonderful device and as a game changer, I look forward to the day where I could potentially replace my laptop with an iPad.

Sent from my Ipad