I have now been using my iPad for three months. It has become my constant companion, my steady assistant—even a conversation starter. I read with it, I check my mail, take notes. It is appointment book, writing organizer, weather forecaster and plaything. I read the New York Times with morning coffee, watch a movie in bed when I’m too lazy (or it’s too early) to get up. I write on it; I tweet on it. Do I sound like a girl in love?
Because I’m not a techie, I feel that I’m uniquely qualified to be your guide to the goods (and not so goods) of the iPad experience. So allow me to start by directing you to my first feature on the iPad, back when my love affair was new.
The most compelling thing to me about the iPad is its size—it is big enough to be a credible writing/viewing/surfing interface, but it’s much smaller and lighter than my MacBook Pro. I can carry it in my purse or in my hand easily; it’s about the size of a slim magazine, although it weighs as much (to me) as a book. Its size makes it a very credible jack-of-all-trades—a hybrid that can do the work of a laptop with the portability of a leather portfolio.
The first thing that people say to me (after the obligatory oohs and ahs—since the iPad is still pretty novel) is that they’ve heard it’s just a big iPod Touch—no more, no less. It certainly does what my iPod does; all my iPod apps work (and work well) on it. My tunes and videos are there; so are my games. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Raise your hand if you like typing on an iPod (or, for that matter, any smart phone—even the best)? Thought so. The first very cool thing about the iPad is its keyboard. In landscape mode (which is all I use for typing), the keyboard is nearly full size. Yes, it’s smaller than even a netbook keyboard. But it’s very functional and I can type relatively quickly on it with few errors—and using most of my fingers, not just my thumbs. I can take notes at meetings, write emails longer than two sentences, even write using a word processor without frustration. I would never think of writing an article, much less anything longer on my iPod or my Droid. But my iPad is doing a good job of making my legal pad obsolete.