The Apple iPadby Mark Bright, President of Koinonia House
I held out for a week. A whole week! I had read the reviews and listened to people in the tech world that I respect tell me that while the iPad had some neat features, it does not really solve any problems or prove to be particularly useful.
I should let you know at this point that I have had every version of the iPod, I have an iPhone, my wife has an iPhone, and I have stayed with the incredibly horrible service provider AT&T because of how much I love the iPhone. Just this month I switched over to a MacBook Pro...but I cannot get my arms around the iPad.
I am writing this review after I have played with the iPad for almost a month. I even checked my laptop on a long flight to see if I could make it work as a computer. I synced my email to the iPad and transferred over some documents that I was working on. I put some movies on it as well and purchased an e-book to see how it would function as an e-reader. I even moved some family pictures over to make me feel at home, as I was leaving on a two-week trip.
The good: If the plane is dark and you have been able to pro-cure a case that holds the iPad in the landscape position, watching movies on the iPad is a great experience. I was not able to get one of the still back-ordered cases, so I purchased an aluminum business card holder from Staples and bent it into position (see photo, right).
If your flight is in the day you can forget about watching a movie on the iPad. It’s like setting a big mirror on your tray table.
The Origami photo display program is probably the coolest feature on the iPad, but even at that the dock that you can get for the iPad puts it only in the portrait position! How silly is that?
The bad: I have a Kindle and I have reviewed two Sony e-readers, and I would take any of them over the iPad for reading. The computer screen refresh rate that makes your eyes fatigue is in full effect on the iPad. The whole advantage to the e-readers is that they deposit the ink once and do not refresh. I could not read for very long on the iPad.
The iPad is wide in your hand and impossible to type on in the portrait mode. If you try to set it down and type on it, the beveled back makes it rock back and forth. Also, you find your-self hovering over your desk to be able to look at what you are doing.
I know you can get a dock with a full keyboard but doesn’t that beg the question “why not just take a laptop with you”?
I did not find the lack of multitasking to be a problem be-cause I could never find a comfortable enough way to position it to get to the point where I was working on more than one task at a time!
There are a couple of things that I really don’t like about Apple’s business model. Why not have an SD slot in the side of the iPad that would allow me to directly transfer my pictures and expand the memory capabilities of my iPad? Answer: be-cause we want to make you buy our special dock and make you buy the new generation of the iPad that will have more memory in it. If we put in an SD slot you could just swap cards or buy bigger capacity cards as they come out.
If Microsoft did something like that people would freak out on them. Now all you Apple freaks, put it in reverse for a minute. I love my iPhone; I have loved all my iPods; and so far I am liking my MacBook, but Apple is not a consumer-friendly company. They have a lock on cool and functionality and they know it and exploit the full measure of it—and the iPad is just the latest device that allows them to leverage their position even more.
The iPad is a shiny, stylish piece of tech with some cool fea-tures, but I would not recommend purchasing one.
If I wanted a super cool ultra portable device that I could work on and play on I would save myself a bunch of money and get myself an HP netbook with an upgraded video card.
I would then have a device that would do everything the iPad does and I could actually get some productivity out of it as well. I can get e-Sword and any other Bible program on a netbook as well as any other Windows program, as well as iTunes...
...and with the rest of my money I would go buy an Amazon Kindle.
[Ed Note: Mark Bright frequently reviews the latest high-tech products and has previously written reviews on the Amazon Kindle and the Sony eBooks. See the August and September 2009 issues of Personal UPDATE.]