The Apple iPad will not replace your PC. The Apple iPad will not replace your laptop. The Apple iPad will not replace your netbook. The iPad is not meant to. It is a different type of device with a different set of uses and a different set of usage. The iPad is meant more for media consumption than actually doing work.
The strongest apps that people talk about are media apps like Marvel Comics, Netflix and ABC.com. The images are crystal clear and stream perfectly on my wifi. It’s reminiscent of the idea of integrating the AppleTV into a television, but that never appeared. The only problem is needing specialized apps or converting video on the Mac/PC and uploading it through iTunes.
It’s also a bonus that all iPhone apps work on the iPad, so that anything that worked on the iPhone should work on the iPad. The apps are in a iPhone sized window that can be scaled out to the full size of the screen by pressing a “2x” button on screen. Some apps have been upgraded to display nicely on both the iPhone and iPad, which is great for when you have purchased apps and don’t want to have to rebuy them.
There are two major problems for me with using the iPad as a work device. The first is the input methods. I cannot use the on-screen keyboards for effective typing more than a sentence or two. Quick bursts at best, rather than the paragraphs requires to write a blog post or to code. There is a cradle coming soon that has a built in keyboard and the wireless Apple keyboards also work with the iPad, but currently I have neither.
The second problem is the ability to move files in and out of the iPad. Apple sells iWork for the iPad, including the Pages word processor, but I can’t easily get my files in and out of the iPad to edit and share. It’s possible they sync through iTunes, but I don’t know because I don’t have those apps. I don’t like that Apple creates their devices as walled gardens, but already enterprising hackers are jailbreaking the iPad, so it’s only a matter of time that the exploit will be in the wild.
I do think the iPad’s interface works well for what it does. It’s easy to use, intuitive and excels at what it is set up to do. Anyone familiar with the iPhone or iPod Touch can pick it up and start playing with it. My five year old niece was as adept with it as my father was when I showed it to my family this weekend.
And yes, there are games. I have not downloaded any iPad specific games yet, but OpenGL games like Doom and Grand Theft Auto scaled really well. I haven’t gone through all my iPhone games yet to see which are good, but I may have to upgrade some of my favorite time killers.
All in all, I am a fan of the iPad so far. It’s doing exactly what I purchased it to do, a portable media consumption device. A larger scale iPhone to allow me to utilize a larger form factor to consume media and interact online. As I spend more time with it this week, I’m sure my opinions will solidify further and I can go further in depth in my next post.