Apple released the iPad as a device aimed at the living room. I agreed with this position and fully expected to use the device while sitting on the sofa, casually watching TV, to check email, Facebook, surf the web etc. However … I actually have found that I reach for my iPhone when I’m in these situations.
Why? I think it’s actually pretty simple (and perhaps lazy). I’d rather grab a device that I can operate using one hand. The iPad is a 2 hand device, and for something as simple as checking email, twitter, or Facebook, I’ll simply grab my phone. For doing any surfing that’s more involved … such as online shopping … I’ll grab the laptop. It’s just too painful to type anything more than 2 sentences on the iPad.
In all honesty, the only place the iPad’s taken over for me is inside an airplane.
Yes, I’m a bit of a tech gadget geek. I own way too many toys for my own good, But 99% of the time I don’t think the hype lives up to my latest toy.
Despite it’s ridiculous and never ending hype, my iPad has exceeded my expectations.
It’s not the Version 1 of the iPad … but it’s the computing shift that it so obviously represents. The iPad has it’s short comings – a keyboard that’s still only about 30% as effective as a real one … limited multi tasking … just to name a few. But these are minor notes … and are gonna be washed away in future hardware and software updates.
What do I really like about it?
1. Limited device, all your apps and data
It’s been several years since we’ve been talking about dumbed down devices that connect to your media and applications hosted in the cloud. I was reminded today that we were looking at doing this 4 years ago at Saflink with the miValet project. But the iPad is the first device that really nails this. It’s a limited device (crummy CPU, memory and hard drive space), but it gives you access to apps and content hosted from the cloud. The iPhone was a step in this direction too, but lacked the screen real estate to really allow you to consume your content.
2. Usable multi touch
While multi touch has been around since the iPhone, it’s finally usable with the iPad. The set of supported gestures is rich, given the extra space. Not only can an individual manipulate the interface, but multiple people can interact on the device at the same time.
3. Intuitive interaction using multi touch
To me this is the big one. I often forget what a barrier the mouse is between a user and the computer. We’re accustomed to it, but when you think about it, it’s a completely unnatural medium between you and the machine. Try to teach someone who’s never seen a computer (good luck with that) how to use a mouse and you’ll see how bizarre the mouse is. On the contrary, manipulating the user interface using touch and gesture is just so natural. Treating objects in the UI as if they were real objects just makes sense. Flip pages in books by … flipping pages in a book. Steer the racing car by … steering the iPad …. sign your name on a document by … signing your name on the document with your finger. The list goes on and on. I was reminded of how natural the interface is when my friends 4 year old got a hold of my iPad. Sure … kids these days … even 4 year olds are pretty good with a computer …. but I was amazed how quickly he picked up using the iPad.
OK … I’m done my apple fan-boy-ism …. I swear I’m not a fan-boy, but this device is awesome.