iPad 2

If you are not interested in a post that has nothing to do with woodworking, and instead is a discussion about the iPad2, then read no further.

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The iPad 2 came out in Australia on Friday, so I’ve only had the weekend to have a chance to play with it a bit.  However, I have been a heavy iPhone 3G and 4 user for the past few years, so the transition to using the iPad is seamless.

It is impressive to say the least.  The touch interface over a larger surface is something to experience, and not just in a quick shop-based play on a demo model.  The next generation of computers (the table based ones that area already being depicted in near-future based movies) that are in development are going to be interesting indeed.

However, it isn’t all completely rosy – this isn’t the perfect device.  For one, it is not the Kindle-killer it is made out to be.  The backlit screen is stunning, but not for reading text for longer periods of time.  The Kindle screen is definitely superior for that, (requiring a traditional reading light when it is dark), as is its battery life (if you are specifically considering it for being an electronic book).

The other negative is typing.  I thought it would be really good considering typing on the iPhone is functional (but it is a tiny keyboard for obvious reasons), and the iPad screen is so much larger, but I find it difficult not to make mistakes on it, despite being a touch typist (or perhaps because I’m expecting to be able to touch type).  There is an easy workaround of course: use the onscreen keyboard when necessary, and use a bluetooth computer keyboard (such as the current Apple wireless) when you can.  With a stand for the iPad, this gets very close to recreating a traditional laptop style of working.

With the ability to create Word, Excel, Pages and Numbers documents, surf the web and email, it is a small laptop killer (more precisely a netbook killer).

It is here that you can start to see the issue of price: the claims that it is expensive are really more valid if you are considering it a bit of a novelty, a toy.  But when compared to other netbooks/laptops, the price is suddenly at the cheap end of the spectrum.

Now another advantage came up over the weekend.  My daughter has played on iPhones a bit, but the iPad as a teaching tool is incredible.  The interface for a small child (let alone an adult) is unbelievable to watch – it is so intuitive.  She loves it, and there is a lot of great apps (programs) out there for her.  Not surprising, considering there are around 10000 iPad apps (and 350000 iPhone apps, most of which (if not all) work on the iPad).  iPhone apps work, although smaller in size initially, you can touch the 2x button to fill the screen.  The quality of these iPhone apps on the iPad is lower than native iPad apps, but they still look acceptable.  If the apps were designed for the Retina display of the iPhone 4, I would expect it would be hard to tell these apps from the native iPad ones.

I didn’t get to experience the iPad, but I imagine most of what I’ve described so far would be equally valid on the original.  I’m sure I’ll start to discover what makes the iPad 2 an improvement over the original, but I’m still coming to grips with the advantages of the platform as a whole.  Facetime will be cool 🙂

My verdict?  The iPad 2 is an impressive device, and it is a purchase I am definitely happy with.  Only problem is, now my wife wants her own for work!  Thankfully, it will be a couple more years before my daughter thinks to ask for one for herself as well!!

One Response

  1. Welcome to the club. I have one of those fossil like original iPads! I have been very impressed with it except for one major flaw. It is more to do with Apple’s philosophy than the technology. I use the device to surf the net quite extensively and have been getting quite annoyed with it’s inability to play Flash videos. Believe in it’s long term future or not, Flash is a web standard and for Apple to ignore it is quite arrogant in my book.

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