First iPad Impression and Use

By J. Gerry Purdy  |  Posted 2010-04-07 Print this article Print

First iPad impression and use

My first impression of the iPad when I took it out of the (beautifully packaged) box and plugged it into my MacBook Pro was that it looked and felt like a really big iPod touch. The main screen looks the same. It has that same slider image to turn it on. It has the iPhone/iPod touch feel.

I then registered the iPad via iTunes and synchronized my music with the iPad. I got the WiFi set up-it found our home network and popped a message to activate. And I got the Calendar and Contacts to sync via the Info tab in the iTunes iPad menu (this could have been easier to set up via the MobileMe site with the "add an iPad to list of devices to sync" feature).

Then the fun began. I found myself taking the device everywhere around the house and doing things with it on the spur of the moment. While standing in the living room, Alicia's son Grant (who was visiting from Atlanta) immediately showed us a YouTube video of his new band. Then I purchased Danny Gokey's new hit song in iTunes. It will be interesting to see how many different places in the house people will be able to use the device (for example, the living room, garage, bedroom or bathroom).

The first few applications that I loaded were Pandora (streaming personalized music), the Amazon reader (access to all Kindle books) and the Bento database from FileMaker. All worked well on the larger screen. There are not many books in the iPad iBooks Store when compared with Amazon, but Apple will increase the number of books in iBooks over time. I downloaded the Amazon Reader application for the iPad and then downloaded my first book (Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi) since it wasn't available in iBooks.

In the iBooks application, you get some clever little enhancements such as turning a page graphically. Plus, the text is easier to read because the iPad display has more contrast than the Amazon Kindle display (at least indoors). It will be interesting to see how eye strain reacts to the iPad versus the Kindle over time.

I realized that I needed to make a mental shift from initially viewing the iPad as a connected mobile device (that operates as a slave to the Mac or PC) to viewing the iPad as a stand-alone communicating computer. It was really a major paradigm shift. You register the iPad as being a connected device to your Mac or PC, and then decide what music and data will be synchronized to the iPad via iTunes. Thus, your initial impression is that the iPad works through the Mac or PC and then becomes a reference device. However, once I detached the iPad from my MacBook Pro, I used it almost exclusively as a stand-alone, mobile computing computer.

I believe that Apple should have the iPad first recognize the available WiFi network and then conduct the iPad registration wirelessly. After registration by WiFi (or eventually via 3G, when these higher-end products come to market in May), then the user can start browsing the Web, buying applications from the Apps Store, books from the iBooks Store and music from iTunes. Thus, without ever connecting the iPad to the Mac or PC, you could already be doing useful work. You eventually need to dock the iPad to a Mac or PC so that you can use iTunes to download your music, photos, contacts and calendar entries and to charge the unit.

J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC.
Dr. Purdy has been covering mobile, wireless, cloud & enterprise for the past 20+ years. He writes analysis and recommendations each week in an easy-to-read manner that helps people better understand important technology issues and assist them in making better technology purchasing decisions.

Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in a column. If that situation happens, then IÔÇÖll disclose it at that time.

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