iPad: First Impressions

ipad

It just so happens that next to one of the favorite lunch spots – there’s a Mac store.  So – last week after lunch – Henry and I made a point to go over and see if they had any iPads.

Sure enough – they had 3 of them powered up and ready to explore.

Now – one of my co-workers stood in line on that first Saturday morning – and had already brought it in for our greasy fingerprints to slide all over – but I was hoping to get a few questions answered – and I was hoping to try a little web surfing on it.

Success on both accounts.

Bottom line: the iPad delivers a compelling experience.  I’m not an Apple dude – nor do I even own an iPod (just a run-of-the-mill MP3 player for the office and workouts) – but I was quickly at home with the iPad.  It was mostly intuitive and comfortable. And though I think my netbook is pretty cool – tablets are pretty cool, too.  I’m persuaded that I’d like to eventually replace my netbook with a tablet-like device.  And maybe it will be an iPad – but I’m OK waiting to see some of the other options that come down the road.

Now – for some specifics.

Pros:

  • Is the iPad’s monitor calibrated at the factory?  The screen didn’t appear to be the typical “cool” that most LCD’s offer straight out of the box.  When I surfed to my sites – the photos looked accurate – and seldom does that happen on non-calibrated monitors.
  • Blog looked good – as did the Facebook FanPage.  Images looked bright and sharp.
  • “Keyboard” was responsive – not too small for my fingers.  Gesturing was intuitive (e.g. pinch-to-zoom).
  • This could be a great portfolio tool.  The accelerometer was responsive when changing between portrait and landscape mode.
  • This platform will be just sort of brilliant for reading photography ebooks – such as those from Craft & Vision.  Bi-stable displays (such as those used on earlier ebook devices), in my opinion, did quite well with text – but just weren’t built to handle images.
  • There’s a bit of heft to this machine.  It did feel solid.
  • And, generally, the device was responsive as I moved from app to app.

Cons:

  • Images loaded a bit slow.  Not sure where there was a bottleneck.
  • Flash.  Yeah – you knew I would mention this.  My gallery has a Flash front page – and the “mobile” version just didn’t float my boat (now this is not a knock on SmugMug.  On the contrary – SmugMug rocks!  They’ve done some great work to offer a “mobile” interface so as to insure that our portfolios are rendered on most devices out there.  That’s clearly great customer service.).  But until one of two things happens:  (1) Apple steps up and takes one for the team or (2) everyone else dumps Adobe’s Flash – there will be gaps in the web experience.
  • I would really like to be able to interact with ebooks more – things like highlighting text, writing in the margins, and whatever the digital version of dog-earing pages turns out to be.  Maybe there’s an app for that?

Middle of the Road:

  • Lack of camera.  Frankly – this is no real concern of mine.  Pulling one of these out to snap a picture – I think – would be about as convenient as using a large format camera for that “fun” moment.  That said – a video camera for Skype or something similar could be useful.
  • Of course, there is a small learning curve (all new hardware / software has some) – but any fumbling along the way was simply due to my complete lack of knowledge about anything Apple / Mac.  Overall – it was pretty easy to use.
  • A USB and/or card slot would likely be useful – but there’s always trade-offs in a device like this.
  • Some folks I’ve talked with think that 3G will be the icing on the cake.  And I don’t have a reason to disagree with them.  But – I can typically wait for wi-fi spots – and keep 3G to smart phones.  Then again – when it’s time to plunk down some cash on something like this – my tune might change.
  • The metal back looks cool – and I think I could get used to it – but it didn’t always feel “sure” in my hands.

And like I said – I don’t see me buying one straight away – but – hey – anything could happen.  I’m intrigued by this Linux / Android talk – as my current netbook runs Linux – and it’s pretty cool.  And of course, the Windows 7 devices will likely be quite capable, too.

But – regardless – I highly recommend – especially if you’re a photographer – to jump into your local store and try one out.  Open up your webpage – or your friend’s webpage – and cruise through it.  Read your favorite blog.  And flip through the pages of a pre-loaded book (it’s kinda fun).  These are spiffy devices – and I’m persuaded that hardware like this will have a good run.

Now it’s your turn – do you have an iPad?  Thinking about getting one?  Waiting for something else?  Just not interested?

One thought on “iPad: First Impressions”

  1. I’m waiting for my 3G iPad to be delivered – along with the “Camera Connection Kit” which includes a USB dongle and an SD card reader dongle. It is supposed to handle RAW images but probably only displays the JPG images inside the RAW images.

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