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Initial Thoughts on Hands on With My iPad


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#1 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:57 AM

Though I may have a tendency to be a bit of a Mac fanboy, when the official announcement of the iPad came out, I told myself I would not buy one and would wait for the 2nd generation. Then I saw some of the accessories for the iPad when I went to the Apple site. There were iWork apps and camera card readers announced at the same time. Hmmm. So I thought that I would still hold off and get a 3G model, probably second generation.

Then Apple and AT&T announced the pricing plans for 3G - no contract and reasonable prices. You can just turn it on and off on a monthly basis as needed. All of a sudden, the 1st generation iPad with 3G became more appealing, but they were not shipping for about a month after the release of the Wi-fi only version. So I held off pre-ordering and figured I would pick one up at some point, probably right before a trip when I anticipated having to sit in an airport.

Yesterday I went to the mall in the morning to look for something, and like a moth to a flame, I went into the Apple store. It was fairly crowded and I figured for sure there were no iPads left in stock, but I asked anyway. Bad question. They had 16, 32 and 64 gig models in. When my wife confirmed that she would be fine with a 64 gig wi-fi model as the next technology hand-over when I felt I "needed" the 3G model, the last barrier fell. The whole process was over in under 3 minutes and I walked out of the store with a brand new iPad. So much full the resisting new technology ability I thought I had developed.

I did resist opening it immediately in a show of some willpower, which was assisted by the fact that we are putting an in-ground pool in our basement. (It should be noted that if you look at it cynically, the in-ground pool can also be called a flood that has been going on for four days and we are removing items and pumping out the remaining water. Whatever.)

But towards the evening, finally had a chance to unpack it and the case I purchased with it. Plugged it into the computer (requires iTunes 9.1). The iPad was instantly recognized by the Mac, which gave me a reminder to update to iTunes 9.1 Downloaded it then started the synch and set-up process, which is pretty much identical to the set-up for the iPod touch.

(As an aside, I was told at the Apple store that the requirements from the OS side is The last version of Tiger (10.4.11) or higher and iTunes 9.1 As of right now I would guess that there are probably instructions for the iPad and the apps somewhere, but I am one of those types who think those things are around for the times you hit the wall, and prefer poking around to get a sense of things and how they work. So everything is based on having experience with Macs and an iPod touch and then off to the races as it were.

Bought over a bunch of movies, photos, some music then unplugged it and started to play. Started a quick scattergun of pressing icons on the screen - the "Oh let's see what happens when I press this" syndrome. Clicked the calendar button and it popped up, right then I knew this was going to be good. The interface was really good. Did the same thing for the mail application. The layout was great with a a list of emails to the left and being able to see emails in a readable size on the right. Didn't take long to start loving it.

And of course the next thing was looking at photos and videos. Just wow. If I asked my wife one more time to look at a photo or video on the IPad because it looked so good on the device, she may have just left me. The iPad has that pop that the iMacs and Laptops with the glossy screens have. In other words, what was speculated as being a real good use of the iPad, photo and video viewer, was nailed. It is one of those things you need to see in real life to appreciate.

Then it was off to the App store to download iBook, which is the reading application/store. I never purchased a Kindle, so I cannot compare the two, but the iBook app and books are fun. There is a huge selection of free books right now with the Gutenberg Project (a lot of classics, Kafka, Darwin, Darrow, Twain, etc., so there is bound to be a few among them all to have, hey, they are free) so downloaded things I have not read in awhile to start seeing how the reading went. Very enjoyable for me, though I know some people mentioned there are not fans of this type of screen for reading. I have been typing and reading on this since last night (I am typing all of this in Pages, the Mac version of Word, more on that later).

The bookstore also has samples of all the books in the store. You can get a preview of a book you are interested in and it downloads to your bookshelf. I downloaded about 1/2 dozen or so and they seem to run from 30-50 pages. Sure, maybe 10 pages is the publisher info and the rest, but it is still a good enough amount of material to see if it is something to buy. Not sure if Kindle has the same thing, it very well could be, but this was something I really like.

Downloads are put on your bookshelf, which is really, well a bookshelf. One view is a bookshelf with the books lined up face out. Books have a colored diagonal stripe across the corner in red indicating samples and in blue for newly downloaded. Rearranging the books on the shelf is very easy - press the edit button on the top right and you can move the books up and down, similar to how you move icons on the iPhone/Touch, but the size and the speed of the iPad is very smooth. Truthfully, moving icons on the Touch can be a bit annoying to me. This was a pleasure.

Bookmarking and browsing a book is easy, touch and hold the screen and a dialog comes up. (Another quick aside, I am running older OSes on my touch, so until yesterday I have never used cut, copy, paste, marking at all. Sort of knew they existed, but knew nothing about them really. All of these were revealed just by playing and pressing. The dialog and feedback from the presses made it perfectly clear quickly.)

So to me the book reader works well. The only thing I wanted to do is zoom in sometimes and have not figured that out, or know if it is even possible. I recall reading somewhere that it may not be possible, but it is something that would be good to have.
After playing with the books (more accurately bouncing around screens) I downloaded the iWork apps. Again, very much like their counterparts on the computer side of things, but they are not quite as full featured, though they are more than enough that most of the time you will not need to carry a laptop if you want to do spreadsheets, documents or presentations.

The one thing I noticed on Keynote is that when you start a new document and pick a theme, you are stuck with that theme for all new slides, at least so far as my owing around has gone. I have done some presentation where I prefer different backgrounds from themes for different slides ("Look at all the pretty colors, cool dude."). Guess I can always change them later on a computer.

Another thing, which hopefully be addressed, is the export options from the applications. Pages will export to Word and PDFs, Keynote to PDF but not Powerpoint, Numbers to PDF but not Excel.

As to typing, I have never really got into typing on my IPod touch and I am not a "texter". I see people going crazy on their Blackberry, their iPhone etc being able to fully have conversations and send coherent messages, but to me it is a nightmare. Maybe because I never had the right phone for it, but I have had a Blackberry now for about 5 months I guess and really not that into it. Creating or editing a note on the Touch, kind of painful. I admit I never really tried to practice with them to get the process down, and relegated those devices to real quick things.

The iPad changes that. Within a minute I started truly typing and working almost as quickly as being on a computer. First I started doing the thumb thing, and it actually worked well. Then I started typing. You can get by typing with the device flat on your lap, the angle of viewing is amazing, you can just about read the screen when it is parallel with your eyes (just tried that :)) and a little angle is great. One thing which helps is to relax your shoulders. I sometimes have a tendency to tense up In my shoulders and you can feel it when typing for awhile on the iPad, or at least I did. But it goes away by just relaxing a bit. Yup, using the iPad is physically good for you, go figure :)

Safari is very fast for the most part, even if I do not have a good signal (1 bar) in some places in my house and the quick launch button is on the bottom, so there were a few times when I went to the top right to launch Safari, but after a couple of "doh!" moments got the hang of it. I had to see how it performed. So I went to one of my favorite sites on the web. Wetpixel. The longer threads took a bit of time to come up (really a couple of seconds and more so when scrolling down at the same time to get to the bottom of the thread) but not bad at all. Shorter threads were very quick to fully load. Very easy to read. Zoom in just a tad and it is great to be able to read easily. Even without zooming it is fine, but I like a small zoom, probably because I wear glasses.

The images really pop. I went back to Karel's (Scubamoose's) post on the Hermit Crabs because I really liked seeing one particular shot earlier and wanted to see how it looked. It was better on the iPad than my Cinema Display in terms of jumping off the screen.

Of course some video posted is not viewable, such as Vimeo. We all knew that was going to happen based on what the device would or would not support, and in an ideal world, it would be nice to see every type of media out there. To me it is not an issue. I do not surf the web looking for videos and for the most part videos I do look at are those posted on Wetpixel or certain other sites. I can bookmark them or cut and copy the links for later use. Does it potentially affect your web experience? Of course it could. For me, personally, it is really a non-issue. I have videos on the iPad that look great when I want to watch them and there is still a lot of material on the web to watch if you are so inclined (and YouTube works. Videos I posted over a year ago play back on the iPad, I would assume YouTube has been transitioning more than I thought they had already.)

Is it a perfect device? Nothing ever is. As I use it more I will probably find more things to nitpicking about, but it is as pretty darn close to perfect from what I wanted from this. The screen can get fingerprints on it, and at certain angles they are visible enough so that you want to clean it.

Safari has some things missing from the desktop version that I would still like to see - being able to clear some cookies and cache within Safari as opposed to have clearing all cookies out from another screen. Mail still has things I would like to change. I think there are a couple of minor glitches, such as with the pass codes, but will need to focus on those some more.

Moving Pages, Numbers and Keynote requires going through iTunes App and is a bit awkward. Also, contrary to what I have read in some places pre-release the iPad is not mounting as a drive with drag and transfer, so it will be I interesting to see how the Card Readers are going to work.

In theory running multiple apps could be nice, but I am able to type this and listen to music at the same time. It is pretty quick to copy, paste and switch and I am not working on two 30" monitors where there is real room anyway. Applications launch fast enough that it is not too painful at all.

As people have discussed in the forum

http://wetpixel.com/...t...t=0&start=0

There looked to be many uses for the iPad as a tool, and so far it looks like it is on point.

I would assume for the vast majority of people who hang out on Wetpixel, this will not be a substitute for a computer. Whatever comes down the road In terms of features on the iPad, such as Aperture or some variation of iMovie, at some point color corrections in video, editing photos and video and other tasks will still be done on a laptop or tower. For most trips I will probably still carry a laptop when I am gone for more than a day or two - there are many things that I will often do that require things that neither a net book nor an iPad will cover.

But if I knew there was a time when I can get clear of obligations and would just want to surf the web, email people, watch movies, read books, listen to music, write spreadsheets, articles or presentations, load and review photos, play some games and otherwise mess around with the multitude of apps available and what is coming the line, then I will be fine with this. The laptop is pretty much going to hang out at home and the iPad will go to many meetings (great for those various underwater photography group meetings, I will be bringing this), lectures and so forth from now on.

People have called the iPad an iPhone/iPod Touch on steroids. You can go with that as a baseline thought. In other words if you like the iPhone or IPod Touch and would like the same thing only larger, no need to read further. Just pick one up and be happy. But calling it an iPhone on 'roids is selling it short.

I know that when I slipped the iPad into it's case and put it into my hand to head to bed last night I smiled at the weight and form factor, like carrying a small pad of paper with a lot of power. And when I flicked it on when I grabbed it from my nightstand to check something quickly on a website instead of grabbing a laptop, another smile. And as I sat finishing typing my initial thoughts on the iPad and realized how enjoyable the process has been, once last smile.

It looks to me that Apple has one again delivered a game changer. Will this go the way of the Newton or other tablets? Very well could be. And I would like certain things to be a bit more open, or at least answered, regarding the handling of files. But the one thing I know is that Apple has a way of making things special lately. I am in love. Just don't tell my wife.

#2 secretsea18

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:11 AM

Great review.

Two questions....

1. How is your battery life?
2. Does the 3G work out of the US?

Thanks, Robin

#3 Scubamoose

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:23 AM

What a great review Drew!
I think I'm gonna pay a visit to my local apple store tomorrow and check out how the pictures are popping out on iPad :)
You got me really interested now.

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#4 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:30 AM

Great review.

Two questions....

1. How is your battery life?
2. Does the 3G work out of the US?

Thanks, Robin


Thanks Robin :)

1.) The battery life seems to be pretty good so far, other reports have indicated that it exceeds Apple's numbers. I have been playing with it alot, screen full bright on every time I used it, leaving it in sleep mode with Wi-Fi on etc. Since last night. Probably read about 100 pages of the books, watched many short videos, did alot of web surfing and so on, and it still was high up there. I know I started working on alot of typing of different documents and playing with Keynote, probably 4 to 5 hours worth, and then the battery started dropping, ran it down to about 32% before deciding to charge it up. Way past what I could ever consider doing with my iPod Touch, where I often will use power saver modes or find it with low battery warnings. Will maybe run more tests later, play some full length movies and so on.

2.) From what I read, there is an option to use 3G outside the U.S. and there is an international option as shown [here|http://www.apple.com/ipad/3g/] though I have not looked into the international rates or plan. The end of April should fill in some details as to how it works when the 3G comes out.

#5 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:55 AM

What a great review Drew!
I think I'm gonna pay a visit to my local apple store tomorrow and check out how the pictures are popping out on iPad :)
You got me really interested now.

Cheers
Karel


Thanks :)

The second shot of the hermit crab on the black was the one I wanted to check out because I loved how it looked, and it looked real nice. The iPad looks like a great photo viewer. In fact you can use it as a digital picture frame, set up a slideshow is one way to do it and the other is the Picture frame mode.

#6 Steve Williams

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 08:11 AM

I am in love. Just don't tell my wife.



:goodpost: I think she already knows since you're sleeping with it.

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#7 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 08:26 AM

:goodpost: I think she already knows since you're sleeping with it.

Steve


Hey, it was on the nightstand and not in the bed, at least as far as she knows. Though she did raise an eyebrow when I muttered "My Precious." ;)

#8 johnspierce

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 08:47 AM

I played with one yesterday in Best Buy and it is indeed an impressive device.

I will not buy one because of Apple and Adobe's pissing contest. I don't want to get into the whole argument about whether Flash is good or not or whether Steve Jobs knows everything or not because I don't care why the decision was made.

What I care about is I cannot see the literally thousands of websites developed by photographers using "Flash" slideshow generators. This list includes Bob Krist, Joe Mcnally, National Geographic, our own Alex Mustard and myself. I have used Lightroom for almost two years to generate slideshow webpages for me and my family and because Apple has made the poor decision to not support Flash, I cannot see my own website content on an iPad. For a device claiming to be "The best way to experience the web" I have to say "NOT!".

One other thing I will mention is the "scaling" of iPhone apps on the iPad. Some of them, notably Engadget's app, CNN's app and the NYTimes app use a font which looks quite smooth and nice on my iPhone, but on the iPad it looks like a 1983 Commodore 64. Giant pixel city baby.

I have a Mac. I have an iPhone. I am not an Apple hater. But this is a killer for me if I can't see photographer's website content. I sort of feel let down by the company who has embraced artists's content from day one.

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Edited by johnspierce, 04 April 2010 - 08:49 AM.

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#9 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:03 AM

One other thing I will mention is the "scaling" of iPhone apps on the iPad. Some of them, notably Engadget's app, CNN's app and the NYTimes app use a font which looks quite smooth and nice on my iPhone, but on the iPad it looks like a 1983 Commodore 64. Giant pixel city baby.


The NYT version written for the iPad looks great, iPhone versions of Apps are going to have issues, but even the old NTY version for the iPhone at double scale is far from horrible or pixel city. 2X is soft, 1x is fine.

#10 johnspierce

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:35 AM

The NYT version written for the iPad looks great, iPhone versions of Apps are going to have issues, but even the old NTY version for the iPhone at double scale is far from horrible or pixel city. 2X is soft, 1x is fine.


Well, of course that all goes into a "my opinion vs. yours" category, but I thought many of the iPhone scaled apps they had on the iPad at Best Buy looked pretty bad. Safari looked spectacular (minus my not-really-does-everything-it-should rant). I'm just saying that if I had one I would realize many of my purchased iPhone apps are less than optimum on the iPad. I've had my iPhone for 3 years, so I have about 9 pages of apps on it.

To me, the "Killer" apps for the iPad will be:

a) Hulu, coming soon
b) Netflix, coming soon

Video and photos are fantastic on the iPad from what I saw when I demo'd it at the store. IF you could see them all that is :goodpost:

YMMV, obviously.

JP

Edited by johnspierce, 04 April 2010 - 09:43 AM.

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#11 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:48 AM

I'm just saying that if I had one I would realize many of my purchased iPhone apps are less than optimum on the iPad. I've had my iPhone for 3 years, so I have about 9 pages of apps on it.



True enough and the nature of software development. The real issue is how many developers will release updates that are both iPhone and iPad targeted or release them as seconds apps or a low cost upgrade. We'll find out, it appears at least one analyst thinks the number of first day sales blew away estimates of 200-300K and may have hit 600-700K including preorders. Pretty serious start.

Apple should just buy Adobe and call it a day :goodpost:

#12 johnspierce

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 10:45 AM

True enough and the nature of software development. The real issue is how many developers will release updates that are both iPhone and iPad targeted or release them as seconds apps or a low cost upgrade. We'll find out, it appears at least one analyst thinks the number of first day sales blew away estimates of 200-300K and may have hit 600-700K including preorders. Pretty serious start.

Apple should just buy Adobe and call it a day :goodpost:


I'm not surprised a bit at how well it's selling. It's a revolutionary product for sure. I may gripe about my personal wants and needs but Apple has yet again defined a new category of computing device. Totally Star Trek ;)

I WISH Apple would just buy Adobe. Sure would make life easier for us photogs....

JP

Edited by johnspierce, 04 April 2010 - 10:46 AM.

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#13 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 11:04 AM

I'm not surprised a bit at how well it's selling. It's a revolutionary product for sure. I may gripe about my personal wants and needs but Apple has yet again defined a new category of computing device. Totally Star Trek ;)


We'll see, but it looks like the cleared the hurdle once again. Wild. Combination of marketing, hype and product works out for them again.


I WISH Apple would just buy Adobe. Sure would make life easier for us photogs....

JP


Can we get rid of PCs also? (ducks as a Real can or worms just gets opened :goodpost: )

#14 davephdv

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 01:15 PM

We NEED PCs. It gives Apple something to measure themselves against.
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#15 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 01:31 PM

We NEED PCs. It gives Apple something to measure themselves against.



But the bar is so low then ;) :goodpost:

#16 davephdv

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 02:34 PM

Drew, I see in the iPad specs that any App can be zoomed 5x and that the display can be set to read white on black.

I ask this because if true it would be useful in my profession as an eye doctor. Are these things possible?
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#17 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 02:54 PM

Drew, I see in the iPad specs that any App can be zoomed 5x and that the display can be set to read white on black.

I ask this because if true it would be useful in my profession as an eye doctor. Are these things possible?



On the iPod Apps I loaded onto it, it seems that 2x iPod size is the Max, at least from tinkering so far. Only downloaded the NYT app and it looks like 2x zoom, though it is full screen. Is there a particular App you are looking for/at or a link referring to it. As to the display changing white on black, I do not see a general setting to reverse the screen - some apps may have preferences to change color schemes and/or have greater zoom (or very well I may have missed something.) Point me to the links and I will be happy to see if I can get it to do what you are describing :goodpost:

#18 wagsy

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 03:16 PM

But it can not play flash lol....
Flash is everywhere on the internet not to mention all the cool apps and games out there.

Another case of a cooperate company imposing restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers.
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#19 TheRealDrew

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 03:18 PM

But it can not play flash lol....
Flash is everywhere on the internet not to mention all the cool apps and games out there.

Another case of a cooperate company imposing restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers.



Even worse, it does not run Edius. How in god's name could they release this? :goodpost:

#20 johnspierce

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 03:56 PM

But it can not play flash lol....
Flash is everywhere on the internet not to mention all the cool apps and games out there.

Another case of a cooperate company imposing restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers.


Yeah, when I saw it in person, I noticed it wasn't very "flashy". hehehe.

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