“Full iPad Review”

April 9, 2010

So in case you have been living in some strange pocket dimension the past week, you should know that the Apple iPad was released last Saturday.  I spent my Saturday sitting at my living room window, watching and waiting for the UPS delivery truck to pull into my driveway.  Luckily enough, the wait was not actually that long.  By about 9:30 am Central Time I had my iPad.  So my first review for this ledger will be covering the Apple iPad.  I should note here that this is just going to be a text review, so the top picture is basically all you are going to get.  Sit back and enjoy.

We will start off by covering some of the basics.  The overall size of iPad is about that of a typical writing journal that you buy at Walmart or Target for school.  The weight is about a pound and a half, meaning it can get somewhat cumbersome when holding with one hand for too long.  The overall speed is fantastic, in most all of the apps I use, I have found that the apps and their content load very quickly, much faster than my iPod Touch.  The screen itself is very nice, clear and clean.  I've found the iPad screen easier to wipe clean with a dry microfiber cloth than the ipod Touch screen.  With the onscreen keyboard, it does take some getting use to.  At first I was very clumsy with my typing, but as the past week has progressed, I have gotten better each day.  The sound quality that comes from the built in speaker is awesome.  Finally the battery life is excellent.  I can literally sit in my living room, use the iPad for about two hours straight, and only lose about maybe eight percent of the battery power.  So compared to my Acer laptop, the iPad blows the laptop out of the water.

Now lets cover the general setup.  When you first take the device out of the box, of course you take the protective covers off.  When you first turn it on, you'll then have to connect it to you computer with iTunes.  Through iTunes you can then proceed to sync the iPad with all your music, videos, apps, calendars, contacts, photos and what have you.  Depending on the amount of content your are transferring, the syncing time can be very quick or somewhat long.  For me it was a very quick process done in less than about thirty minutes. 

Let's now dig into the real meat of the iPad, the Apps.  Out of the box, the iPad comes loaded with the following basic Apps:

•   The App Store

•   iTunes

•   iPod

•   Photos

•   E-mail

•   Safari

•   Calendar

•   Contacts

•   Notes

•   Maps

•   Videos

•   YouTube

•   The iBooks App is free and can be purchased through the App Store.

All these Apps listed above have a nice look and simple interface.  All the Apple "store" type apps are well designed and easy for anyone to search for the item they want, or just view items through top charts or categories.  The iPod app is more user friendly than any iPod version.  You can see so much more on the large screen, allowing you access to more information.  Plus, the best part for me is that you can actually create  playlists on the iPad itself.  Photos is cool in it's setup and also allowing you to set your own unique lock and home screen images.  Plus you can turn the iPad into basically a digital photo frame with your photos.  E-mail is a lot better with the larger screen in allowing you more access to your mailboxes, as well as typing messages.  The Calendar has been upgraded and has a nice layout and setup.  The Maps App is really awesome in allowing you to now use Street View to actually see the buildings and surroundings of the area you are looking for.  YouTube is setup a ton better, in that you can now view your own videos, your subscriptions, your favorites and more.  You can tell Apple set this app up to try and make it feel as much like the normal Youtube as possible.  Your Videos are displayed more nicely with the Videos app.  Finally the Safari, Notes and Contacts Apps have undergone some slight changes, but nothing really that major.

So let's move onto the specific iPad apps.  First is the iBooks.  As technology continues to progress, we are moving into the realm of digital books, comics, and newspapers.  The iBooks App is setup wonderfully.  Once added, you get the free Winnie the Pooh iBook, displayed on a nice book shelf.  Reading any of the iBooks is extremely easy and from my experience, completely natural. You can also adjust the brightness and size of the book's text.  The iBooks stores offers a number of classic books free, a few of which I have picked up.  I really do enjoy reading books on the iPad and feel this will actually get me back into reading a lot more. 

You'll also remember how I mentioned at the end of last week's ledger entry, that I hoped that comic book companies would join the bandwagon and release apps that gave users access to purchasing digital copies of comics.  Well I am very happy to say that both Marvel and IDW have done just that.  There is also another comics app that has access to some other smaller comic publishers.  All I need now is for DC Comics to join in. 

There are also a number of News Apps that you can get for the iPad.  I recommend the follow free Apps:

AP News bringing you customized Associated Press news, photos, and video.

Weatherbug that shows you all the weather news and information you could want in your area.

Bloomberg for stocks, markets, commodities, and stock news.

Yahoo Entertainment for a full local TV Guide, tons of news and videos and even the daily newspaper comic-strips.

Fluent News is a major news app that gathers news stories from basically every major publisher.  Plus with the free version you can even tell the app to NOT retrieve news from one source you wish not to read *mwahahaha*

Some other cool apps are Twitteriffic and Wallpapers.  Twitteriffic from my experience, is the best Twitter app available.  Wallpapers is a supremely awesome app for downloading a ton of great looking pictures for your wallpaper on the iPad.

There are tons and tons of games available through the App Store, some free some not.  I am not that big a gamer, so I can't really judge here, but from the Solitaire and Mahjong apps I have downloaded, I can say that I really enjoy playing them, as does my mom.

For productivity purposes, Apple has created iPad versions of their iWork suite.  This suite is broken down into three apps.  Pages the word processor, Numbers the spreadsheet, and Keynotes the presentation.  Each app cost $9.99 from the App Store and add a lot of productivity power to the iPad.  I myself have only purchased the Pages App and have found it quite useful and easy to work with.  You can also easily transfer the files you create in Pages to your computer via iTunes or by e-mail.  My only major complaint is that while you have the iPad in landscape mode and are typing, you do not have the bar at the top of the screen for all the editing options like bold, font type, etc...   

I will quickly cover the Apps from the iPhone and iPod Touch.  All of these apps can function on the iPad.  You can view them at their normal small size, centered on e screen, or your can enlarge them so that they take up the full screen.  This does pixelate them a bit, but they are still functional and readable.

Next I am going to go over the three main flaws that most everyone has pointed out, and my thoughts on them.  First you have the iPad's lack of multi tasking, but not for long!  Yes this past week Apple revealed that by the fall of 2010 the new iPad Operating System will allow multi tasking smoothly and easily.  So there is that issue put to rest.  Next you have no actual camera.  Yeah I do have to admit I think it would have been cool to have a camera added to the iPad since the iPhone and iPod Nano both have them.  But there is the additional camera connection kit you can buy that will transfer pictures from your normal digital camera to the iPad.  Or there is a 99 cent app that you can buy that uses Bluetooth to access the camera in your iPhone to take pictures on the iPad.  But still, an actual built in camera would have been cool.  Finally we have the lack of Flash support.  This issue really depends on the Internet content you plan on viewing on the iPad.  I myself have found that really only a very small number of sites that I visit have Flash content that I cannot view on the iPad.  To summarize the flaws, multi tasking is coming, camera would have been cool, and Flash isn't an issue for me.

Over the past week I have found myself spending less time in front of my desktop computer, and more time in my living room with my iPad.  With the device I am able to check most all the websites I check each day, get all the news and information I want, keep a constant check on my e-mails and Twitter, type out to do lists for week, and even play a game or read some classic novels.  So for me the iPad is great and has replaced my  laptop.  Can it do everything my laptop can do?  No, but really I don't need it to.  When I need to update my website, watch Flash content, or do some video or photo editing, then yes I turn to my desktop.  But for all other major parts of my computing work, I am able to enjoy the ease of using my iPad in the comfort of my own living room. 

So my recommendation is this.  Look at how you spend your computer time.  If a ton of your time is spent creating images, video, and other content, then no the iPad is likely not for you.  But if you are a person that takes in information from the Internet, does some light word processing or number crunching, and the majority of your favorite sites are Flash free, the yeah you might want to look into the iPad.

Overall I love my iPad and feel it was a very wise purchase.  It really has gotten me more into reading again, not only iBooks but online news as well.  It's the device that I can't put down and will continue to use each and every day.  Oh and for those wondering, this entire ledger entry was typed out on the Pages App on my iPad.

Have a Nice Day


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