Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Slated iPad

I happen to have come across the new and much hyped about Apple iPad today and was able to give it a whirl, bar any kind of internet connectivity sadly. The first thoughts were quite positive, but I'm still not quite convinced by its practicality after about 20 minutes of testing. The following are my observations:


The iPad is relatively heavy, quite surprisingly. Holding it in one hand for a long period while the other hand is operating the touch screen, as you are expected to do, make the operation tedious. If you have to compose a long-ish email (which may happen), write a novel (less likely, but still possible) or read an e-Book, it will become a bit annoying.

With a laptop, your fingers are moving around while the weight is supported elsewhere - table, lap, etc. But I guess it's not too different from reading a 500+ page book. Still... the activities are quite diverse, which they crammed into one device.


Even though most people are saying this is a glorified iPhone, the keyboard is really an improvement. It's really large, and the on-screen keys are even bigger than the ones on a typical 15" laptop. The iPad does this because it avoids a lot of the command keys that laptops normally come with. However, the difference between the iPhone and the iPad in terms of typing is extreme.

On an iPhone, you can easily support the device and have both thumbs do the typing (albeit the keys are a bit small and mistakes often happen). You can even very easily reach all the keys while holding the device in one hand and type with the thumb on that hand. Don't forget, the frame is thicker than the iPhone's. It means more distance between your thumb and the screen.

On the iPad, it feels miles away. You have to hold the device in one hand (left in my case) and type with the other (right). This meant I was limited to index finger-typing, which is far from ideal. I also found that the other fingers on the typing hand will end up touching buttons by mistake and ruin whatever my index finger worked hard to do. But I suppose practice and getting used to the device would solve this issue. I tried typing with all five fingers and the result was just as bad. And the hand has to travel double the distance to type half as quite - as opposed to typing with both hands and 10 digits.


I really liked the e-Book concept brought forward by Apple on the iPad. It's refreshing, and the visuals beat anything out there like the Kindle, or other e-Book readers. The books look like their physical counterpart with a bit more flexibility. Would this prompt me to read though? Probably not.

iPad Games

The gaming is quite good too, except the car game I played still uses the accelerometer to control the vehicles. I find this really annoying, and it takes a lot of getting used to. But it brings back the issue of the thick frame - starting to feel like the biggest issue with the iPad now.


This part scored high with me. It was much smoother and user-friendly than my first generation iPhone. It definitely also trumps the speedy iPhone 3GS. It will definitely help when multi-tasking is launched through iPhone OS 4.0 - most likely with a separate version for the iPad.


Some of the older iPhone apps, while being able to work on the iPad, is quite lame. The CNN app, when opened on the iPad expands to fill the screen, with some kind of zoom which causes all the images and even text to become edgy and pixelated. You can zoom it back down to iPhone size, but then 70% of the screen is blank. Why...?

I do like the device, but I think there are quite some improvements that can be made. I would definitely think the 3G active version is much more useful than the Wi-Fi only version. Would I buy it? If I had disposable cash, yes. It just looks too good. Oh, and the one I saw, the case doesn't come as standard. So you'll have to pay an extra $40 for it. Ouch!

Image source: Apple Inc.

1 comment:

Mike Flint said...

"Would I buy it? Yes, unless I am physically dragged away from it."