Day 3 iPad Review ~ Mon, 07 Jun 2010 00:35:07 +0000
As the title indicates, I've had an iPad for three days now. I had intended to wait for the next iteration (likely in a year), but a friend sent me a message a couple weeks ago suggesting that we should make an iPad game. I decided that sounded like an excellent idea and proceeded to order an iPad. Well, it took a couple weeks to come in and I've been using it almost non-stop since it arrived. So let's get into this shall we?
First, I have to say that when I first heard about the device I was not very excited. It has a horrible name and is basically an oversized iPhone without the phone part. Later, it was revealed that both Amazon and Barnes and Noble would be releasing apps for the iPad that support their eBook formats. In addition to Apple's iBooks, that means all major (digital) book stores would be, and are, supported on the iPad. I had been looking at the eReaders available, but found them abysmal (very slow). I'm happy to report that the iPad is an awesome eReader.
I have four eBook apps on my iPad: iBooks, Amazon Kindle, BN eReader, and Stanza. Of the four, I have only used iBooks and Stanza so far. It has been suggested that iBooks is the lesser of the two, but I disagree. When I read a book I like to know how many pages are in each chapter. And as I'm reading a chapter I like to know how many pages are left. Stanza, does this in an excellent manner on the iPhone, but the direct port to the iPad is disappointing. iBooks makes use of the available screen real estate by adding this information to the bottom margin of the "page." Stanza only displays this information by using a layer on top of the page, interfering with reading. For this reason alone I think iBooks is the better app right now.
Second, web browsing. I am astonished at how awesome browsing the web is on the iPad. If you have ever used an iPhone you know how good it is at web browsing, and how miserable. The iPhone is worlds better than any phone before it at browsing the web, but, at least on the 3G model, it is painfully slow on the majority of pages. When you manage to come across a site that targets the iPhone things get a lot better, but those are rare. On the iPad there is no (explicit) need for a mobile version of sites. The iPad has a resolution of 1024x768 (or 768x1024), and its version of Safari does all of the same stuff to make pages "fit" as the iPhone version. The difference is that the iPad version has to do less since most sites are already designed for 1024x768. Touching links is very natural, some how, and so is zooming in and out on desired content. The only thing Safari for the iPad is missing is back and forward gestures. Reading books gets you used to doing swipes for back and forward, and when you start browsing the web that gets broken.
Third, games. I really had no intention of playing games on my iPad, other than the one I intend to write, but I've played a couple of them and I am impressed. The large screen and fast processor make games very enjoyable. I haven't yet found one that I think I will play non-stop, but I am quite pleased by the potential.
Fourth, videos. This thing takes watching YouTube videos to a whole new level. Instead of trying to squint at a phone, or sit at a computer, you get to watch videos in whatever position is most comfortable without sacrificing any quality. If I had a connection that could actually stream 720p content, it would be really enjoyable.
Finally, I have to mention something that has me really excited. While browsing the app store I came across an app from Korg -- iElectribe. It was on sale (and still is until the end of the month) and I just couldn't resist. This app really shows what the iPad is capable of, in my opinion. The large, responsive, touch interface is perfect for this type of application. I can envision, when multi-tasking is made available, a full production studio totally contained on the iPad. I am quite sure someone will develop a standard for syncing timings between multiple apps. Then, it would easily be possible to have something like iElectribe talking to an external mixer app which is also connected to a synth app and a who knows what else. Behold! some of the racket iElectribe (in my hands) can produce: Crazy House BPM135.
In short, I think the iPad is an awesome device. If you mostly just browse the web and read emails, this is the device for you. If you want to play around with some audio equipment emulators this thing will really make you smile. And it makes reading digital books finally bearable.