Initial iPad Thoughts

  • The apparent lack of user accounts troubles me a lot. I don’t know that we’ll be buying one of these, so two is very unlikely. If I set it up for my email, Twitter account, cookies, logins, passwords, etc., anyone else in the family has to do quite a bit to pick it up and use it with his own info, or we just have to try not to pry into each other’s inboxes.
  • The 3G version doesn’t appeal to me much at all. Wherever I am, I’m probably going to have my iPhone with me, so if I find I really do need data when I’m out, I always have my phone. I understand the idea behind having a computer that’s always online, but I don’t think $15-30/month is worth it, unless I weren’t also paying for internet at home. If this is your only computer, though, that’s a bit more interesting.
  • Storage seemed to be a bit of an issue for me, until I realized I probably wouldn’t sync any music to it. I have more music than would fit on the 16gB model, but that music is also on my telephone. If I’m out, I want my phone in my pocket with my headphones on (rather than run a cord into my backpack to an iPad). If I’m at home, I have a stereo for listening to music on. 16gB isn’t loads of storage, but it’s enough to sync up the most recent episodes of a few TV shows and a movie or two. It’s going to be a while still before flash memory can hold one’s entire movie collection. Movies in Apple’s SD format are 1-2gB. HD movies are 3-6gB. Many people own at least 50 movies, I own over 150. If I ripped all those into iTunes, I’d need a good portion of a terabyte, and we’re a ways off that being portable.
  • I continue to be fairly uninterested in reading books on a computer, and suspect that for pure book reading, the Kindle will probably still be a better device.
  • I’m assuming that Apple won’t block Amazon from releasing a Kindle app for the iPad that takes advantages of its resolution. Still, I worry about copy protection. I can read a book today that my dad read as a kid. For my daughter to be able to read an ebook:

    1. Devices that play them will need to exist,
    2. The companies that sold them to me will still need to be capable of authenticating the copy protection, so they’ll need to still exist, also, and have not decided to shut down those servers decades before.
  • Regarding reading books, though, it’s great that you can change the text size and typeface, but I wonder if we’re losing something in the art of book design.
  • Newspapers, magazines, and comic books, have a strong appeal in an iPad format. I was expecting, however, that Apple would include them in its iBook store. Instead, each publication will have it invent its own iPad app, which is going to lead to some interesting fragmentation. Hopefully the market will decide quickly how things should work. Imagine, say, that you had to get used to flipping pages in the Washington Post using a certain gesture, but had to remember to use a different gesture for National Geographic. Maybe in time someone will release a unified publication store. If Apple had done it, though, the pricing points would be more uniform, and it could collect 30% of the price. This way does let each publication set its own price, which is more open and removes the chance of the odd ire the music industry has toward Apple.
  • Thinking about comic books. The average comic sells for the already too high $3-4. I’d assume electronic versions to be a bit cheaper. Comixology has listings from a number of publishes for $1 an issue. At that markdown, an iPad would pay for itself for many comic book fans in under a year.
  • Last thing on comics: I’m assuming one would buy graphic novels from the iBook store. Comic books wouldn’t be in there, they’d be in whatever comic store gains prominence. That bothers me. I like having things the same place!
  • The keyboard dock is going to cause lots of sore backs and necks. It looks like it’ll force you into a terrible posture if used at a desk. (Laptops do the same thing.) Not sure what work you’ll be able to do on one, but from the short demo of iWork, an author could certainly use an iPad to write, but you would not want to hunch over one for eight hours a day banging away at your manuscript. Better to put the iPad in a dock and elevate it, and be able to use a Bluetooth keyboard (which you reportedly can use). Seems like there’s an open market for a good stand.
  • With the iPhone it made sense to have one app take up the whole screen at a time. I think it probably makes sense for the iPad, too. Curiously, though, that’s the Windows way to do things. Windows always reinforced having each program you’re using maximized. Mac OS has always wanted you to multi-task a little more, with windows overlapping one-another and only being the size they need to be.
  • That said, I agree with Slate that the iPad will likely be the easiest to use computer ever made. Many people really do have trouble with concepts like click vs. double-click. The iPhone’s interface makes everything very simple.
  • It surprises me that it’s 4:3. 16:9 would be too tall in portrait, but 3:2 is what I expected, and is what Apple’s laptops used to all be.
  • I don’t care about Flash at all.