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.
- 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.
- 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?