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Thoughts on the iPad

My reasons for pre-ordering the iPad were two-fold.  I wanted to be able to review it for my clients and see if it would be beneficial for their businesses and use it for my business (sweet 28% discount!).

There are already so many pictures and Youtube clips floating around that I won’t bother to include any here. 

The plusses are many, but here are a few:

– It’s a very slick device.  Slim, flat, and very close to the media tablets that the astronauts used in the movie 2001:A Space Odyssey that I drooled over so many years ago.

– For a media consumption viewing experience, it doesn’t get much better than this.  The screen is large (although not 16×9 HD resolution) and very sharp.  Books and magazines will be a pleasure to read on it, the web browsing experience (missing Flash notwithstanding) is very nice and, if you can find something to prop the device up with, videos are very engaging.

– Very fast!  The icons and apps move instantaneously on the screen and so far, everything has run smoothly with the exception of a graphic novel app that was corrected by an update later in the day.

There are minuses of course:

– No Flash in the browser.  We knew about this beforehand, but it’s still annoying.  I think someone at Adobe really ticked off Steve Jobs.

– Very weak wi-fi antenna.  I’m going to have to relocate my wi-fi transmitter because the device doesn’t work at my dinning table where both a laptop and netbook worked just fine.

– It weighs 1.5 lbs which doesn’t sound like much unless you try holding it with one hand while reading it like a book.  The awkwardness and weight quickly give your hand a cramp.  The best way to hold it is either propped on something to take the weight or cradled in your arm.

– No built-in PDF reader.  (Remember Jobs’ antipathy toward Adobe.)  So a 3rd party PDF reader needs to be acquired.  If notation and highlighting are not required, then I recommend the inexpensive app, GoodReader.  Currently $0.99, GoodReader can read both very large PDF and text files as well as music and some videos that would play on the iPad but for the finickiness of iTunes.

Videos need to be encoded in h.264 which can be done using the free Handbrake program.  Of course most commercial DVDs need to decrypted before they can be read.

I see limited business use for the device.  It can currently only replace a laptop if you have limited typing and document requirements.  Since a laptop can do just about anything that the iPad can do (as far as practical business use goes), then it wouldn’t make sense to carry both to a seminar or presentation unless you don’t need the additional features of the laptop.

I’ll be reviewing the iBooks and Kindle apps as well as the VGA output connector shortly.

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