Thursday, April 22, 2010

My stab at a review of the Apple iPad


It has been awhile since I decided to review a new product that hit the marketplace. I suppose nothing has caught my eye lately but I feel as if I should throw out my two-cents when it comes to the new Apple iPad. It hit the stores earlier this month and I have had two opportunities to play with one. After some time to digest it, here are some of my thoughts...

The iPad struck me as being a little heavy but the overall size is nice.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, the iPad is basically a big iPod Touch.  It is caught somwhere between a cell phone and a laptop.  You cannot make phone calls on it and you cannot install software on it in the traditional sense.  In that way, it is nothing like a cell phone or a laptop!  Confused yet?  Think of it as a portable way to do all of your social networking.  It is great for surfing the web, listening to music, sharing photos, writing email and watching movies.  It is not so great for word processing or other heavy functions.

(Going forward, I am going to pretend that you are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of how it works and skip any additional, generic descriptions.)

The screen on the iPad is beautiful...the picture is great.  The touch screen works well but it seems to me that the rate sensor (or gyro) is a little slower than that of the iPod Touch.  In other words, when you flip the iPad from vertical to horizontal in your hands, it is sometimes slow to chnage format or does not change at all.  That is quite annoying...the most annyoing thing that I have found to date.

Other facets of usage seemed a little sluggish.  I though the map application was a little slow and the email system had a little lag to it.  Now, don't get me wrong, all of these functions run well, but they did come across as slightly less than blazing to me.  I might be expecting too much!

The current version of the iPad has Wifi capability only.  At the end of the month, they are coming out with a no-contract 3G version where you can connect to the Interent thorugh the ATT network.  That will be neat becuase you could sign up for one month of service at a time, with no contract.  You can also sign-up and cancel right for the iPad itself and not have to call or visit an ATT store.

Other impressions...I thought that YouTube videos played back alittle grainy...but that could be their poor quality and not that of Apple.  I also do not like how small iPod Touch apps show up on the screen...they are tiny!  I would hope that most app vendors would make full iPad-sized apps in the near future.

All-in-all, I really like the new iPad but I do not feel that it would do more for me than my iPod Touch already does.  It might be neat with the 3G function though.  You could sit in a cemetery and upload data to Find-A-Grave in real time (although witthout photos becuase there is no camera on the iPad).  That would also assume the cemetery is within ATT's coverage area.

For now, I will probably not buy an iPad because of its price tag, ranging from $499 to $849 based upon size and 3G capability.  I would gladly accept one as a gift for my birthday but would probably not buy myself one right now...it's nice but not so nice that I would spend my own money!  If the next version comes out with a camera, I would probably jump all over it...but that would be a few years down the road.

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