Wednesday, 21 July 2010

My iPad Review

I got an iPad a few weeks ago and thought I’d share with you the pros and cons I have discovered:-

Pros

  • Great for reading e-books and PDFs
  • Makes surfing a web really easy as you can pinch, zoom and scroll really easily using just one or two fingers
  • Watching YouTube and videos is a really tactile experience, and so is viewing Photos.
  • If you get an iPad you can run both iPhone and iPad apps on it.  This is great if you’re a developer and want to target both platforms and not have to purchase an iPhone. For me the cost of getting into iPad and iPhone development has been about £1000 (£500 for the iPad and about £500 for the Mac Mini). Although they have just put up their Mac Mini price.  If I’d had to purchase an iPhone as well, the cost would be today at about £1700.  I have saved £700!

Cons

  • The Apps in the App Store don’t have a trial period, so if you don’t like it, then you can’t get a refund.  Also, sometimes the description of an App can exaggerate how good it really is
  • Apps can be a bit too expensive
  • Re iTunes;  I can get the IT Crowd from channel 4 for £10.  However, on a Windows PC or a Mac I can go to 4OD on Channel4.com and watch loads of stuff for free.
  • No support for Flash, so stuff like 4oD doesn’t work :-(  Also, the BBC News website experience is degraded as they rely on flash
  • When I download Spotify I find I cannot play music in the background (although this is an iPhone app, maybe an iPad version will be different)
  • When I plug in headphones the sound doesn’t seem to come through – not sure whether this is a fault or a configuration problem
  • The soft-keyboard is a bit annoying (although, a keyboard or anything other than a proper physical one is generally annoying!)

All in all, if I had £500 to spend and I needed a computer, I’d probably get a netbook and pocket £100-£200. Just because a netbook supports everything and there’s an abundance of free software out there and it’s compatible with most things (e.g. Flash), and it has a regular keyboard so you can work and play on it.  Sure, it won’t have integrated 3G, but get a bluetooth link to a 3G-enabled mobile phone and you’re sorted.

Steve Jobs said in his keynote speech, introducing the iPad that it occupies the same market space as netbooks.  Although for me, it’s just a different type of device really – and very niche.

In summary then… an iPad is

  • Less functional than a netbook (you can literally do anything a PC can do, albeit slower)
  • More controlled and regulated by Apple HQ
  • However a much more tactile, novel and fun experience

My gut feeling is that, one day, a manufacturer will invent a powerful netbook with a detachable screen and all the fun of an iPad. At least I hope this will happen, alongside a de-facto open e-book format.