So much that is written about new technology is speculation. This couldn't be more true with a device like the iPad. Because the iPad is so different from anything they've ever used, most people who buy it don't even fully know what they'll do with it until they get their hands on one. We managed to get an iPad when it was first released, and after having used it for a few weeks, we now feel ready to discuss its pros and cons.
Many have said the iPad is one of the best media consumption devices they have ever used. This couldn't be more true. Its real strength is not in producing content but in reading, listening to, and watching it. Because you can zoom in and reposition web pages with little to no effort, the iPad is extremely easy on your eyes. You don't have to squint at your monitor like you would on a laptop or desktop machine. This ultimately allows you to read more for longer periods of time.
Reading on the iPad
I personally love to use the iPad for reading books in bed. One thing I never liked about bedtime reading is having to hold books open. It's just not comfortable. The iPad is a big improvement in this regard. I can set it down in front of me and lay flat on my stomach in a more comfortable position.
Some bloggers have criticized the iPad on the grounds that you always have to hold it. That isn't really true. I can read books while the iPad is laying flat on a countertop or resting on my lap. It doesn't matter what angle you see it from, the content on the device looks mostly the same (assuming you clean off a few fingerprints). It makes for an interesting breakfast experience with the family. If you're sitting next to each other, you can read articles at the same time.
The iPad is portable in a completely new way. Granted, it doesn't fit into your pocket, but you will find yourself walking to the kitchen, setting it down on the counter as you make your morning coffee, and reading while the eggs are cooking. The best way to describe its portability to say it's a lot like a book. You will take it where you usually take books.
Games on the iPad
Games will be taken to a whole new level on the iPad. I downloaded a few games and found the touchscreen interface to be truly revolutionary for this purpose. This is especially true if you love strategy and RTS games like Command and Conquer. If you do get the iPad, download the free game board apps that give you a checkers and chess board with pieces you can move via touch. I played a game of chess with my brother, and it was just like having a real chess board in front of us. I'll say it now. The iPad will revolutionize family gaming, opening up a lot of new possibilities.
Image Courtesy: theappera
Producing content on the iPad
You can be lightly productive on the iPad too. The mail application is probably the best productivity tool on the device. It's great for getting a nice overview of your email. Checking and reading through messages is a lot easier than on a laptop or desktop machine. Actually responding to emails, however, starts to get complicated. Apple claims the keyboard is easy to use in sideways mode, but that's not really true. I find myself reverting to the classic "hunt and peck" typing strategy my dad uses.
The iPad's touch interface also makes it a challenge to edit text you have already written. This, I feel, isn't so much a limitation of the device but of the software running on it. Let's say you made a typo and need to go a few words back to edit out your mistake. Doing so is easy with a keyboard. You just press the arrow buttons. But the iPad doesn't have any arrow buttons! It gets frustrating when you have to tap multiple times, and sometimes in the wrong places, just to get the device to recognize where you want to revise your text. Apple, if you are listening, something can be done about this issue. It's unnecessarily clunky.
If you have the money, go ahead and purchase the keyboard stand. With this stand, you effectively turn your iPad into a second or third monitor in your office or at home. Although they are still very buggy, there are apps that allow you to use your iPad as an extension of your laptop or desktop monitor. Once these apps are developed a little better, they'll make the iPad an even better desktop companion. As it is, having the ability to play Pandora, display books and web pages, and check email on a totally separate screen has proven to be very handy.
So, should you get one of these things? I don't think you'll have a choice in a few years when the device really takes off and the price drops. It's a must-have if you love to read, watch movies, and play games. There's almost too much content to absorb. Plus, even though the device isn't the best for productivity on its own, it will improve your productivity when you use it as a second or third screen in your office.
With the barge of iPad app ideas flooding in, the whole field of app development is now open to exciting new prospects.We love the iPad, and we can't wait to see what iPad app developers do with it in the next year!
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