Monday, August 2, 2010

First thoughts on iPad

So I've had the iPad for a few days now and my first thoughts are: I love it, but it will not replace my laptop except, when I travel. The last point requires some explanation because isn't a laptop a portable computer? Well, yes but the iPad is just so light and well portable and since I can do almost everything on it, why would I want a heavy, bulky laptop weighing me down when I'm travelling. You should know though that I'm a fanatically light traveller. I never check luggage and can do a month overseas with less than 7kg of carry-on luggage. The iPad will be fantastic for traveling.
I'm enjoying the iBook reader, it's a very nice experience for reading ePub books and is also very good for pdfs. This latter ability will be very useful for reading academic papers on the move and other technical works.
An outstanding app for me that shows the true power and brilliance of the iPad's interface is, perhaps surprisingly, a backgammon app. Why, because for the first time I see a backgammon game on a computer that looks, feels and plays just like a real board. There is absolutely nothing on screen other than the board. You move the pieces with your fingers, not a mouse or cursor. It's so believable I forget that I'm using a computer. This is a wonderful experience. I'll probably never own a real backgammon set again, the iPad is better, you can play against a computer and stop and return to a game later on.
I think it's this "forgetting you're using a computer" feeling that is what is so special about the iPad.
I'm still waiting for my case to arrive which has limited the use of the iPad at breakfast for example; hard to eat and hold and navigate the iPad all at the same time, but once the case arrives it will lets me stand the iPad up in a variety of angles and I'll remove my laptop from the breakfast table. and read the newspaper with it. Finally, a very honourable mention to the New Zealand Herald. An excellent newspaper app, well done, I think it's one of the best media apps out there.