Yep, I got it! I scored the 16GB wifi iPad Saturday morning. The much-wanted electronic device finally was delivered to my house by UPS around 11:22 a.m., and it was an awful wait. I was Photoshopping disc golf pix on my iMac in my home office in the front of our house, getting out of my chair at any and every sound. When I heard a cement mixer go by, the #1 son almost had to scrape me off the ceiling.
Once I held the iPad box, I got all giddy and did a jig while #1 just rolled his eyes. Maybe it was a good thing that I wasn’t at the Apple store—better to embarrass myself in front of my son than a bunch of strangers.
Once the iPad had synced with my iMac (tip: If you already sync an iPhone to your computer, have the iPad copy your settings), I was ready to rock ’n roll, because it had almost a full battery. As a devoted iPhone user, I had almost no learning curve with the iPad (plus it helps that there’s a handy-dandy iPad user guide bookmarked in the Safari browser). During the NCAA basketball Final Four Saturday night, I put the iPad through its paces for hours. I browsed the web, bought my first iBook (Harlan Coben’s “Caught“), and added free iPad apps.
The real test of the iPad would come the next day (yesterday) when we took a road trip to my brother-in-law’s house. I bought “Jim & Me” by Dan Gutman from the iBook store for the #1 son to read and purchased a couple “Office” episodes on iTunes for both boys to watch. I had checked out how the TV shows looked by watching a “Modern Family” episode (using the free ABC player), and I loved how great it looked on the almost-10-inch screen (although it’s a little too glossy, producing reflections that make you change your viewing angle).
My #2 son isn’t into books, but he does love the game apps on his iPod Touch. I have JellyCar on my iPhone for him, so it ported to the iPad with my other iPhone apps. Most of them don’t look as good as the native iPad apps, but #2 really had fun using the bigger screen space to roll his Jelly car.
The iPad was a big hit with the boys and helped keep them entertained. When my #1 son tired of reading “Jim & Me” (he did say he enjoyed reading it on the iPad, but that he missed holding a real book), he plugged his ubiquitous headphones into the device and watched a YouTube video. The boys traded off watching the “Office” episodes in the car on the way home.
Obviously, the iPad is a great entertainment device. Its screen is gorgeous, the speakers sound good, and videos and books look terrific on it. It’s a multimedia-content workhorse. It’s great for leaving on the ottoman or coffee table in the living room and being picked up by anyone in the family for reading books, watching video, looking at my photos (which you can view as a slideshow using your own iTunes music), and surfing the web. It’s lightning fast with our wifi (and it worked great using a restaurant’s wifi Saturday).
The iPad is so much cooler than my MacBook on my legs (it doesn’t heat up at all). In fact, for possibly the first time since I bought it a year ago, I didn’t use my MacBook at all last weekend, instead opting to browse the Internet and write notes with the iPad while in our family room. I think my MacBook felt very lonely! Even with a lot of use, the iPad’s battery lasted all day.
So what do I really think of my newest Apple gadget? Apple is inventing the wheel with the iPad; there’s no other device like it yet (but there will be, and competition is a good thing). In the past, Apple improved the mp3 player and cellphone wheels, but this time it’s truly starting from scratch.
I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy, and I do love our iPad. Its almost instant on and easy accessibility makes it so simple for gathering information and communicating. It’s truly a device for the 21st century.
But it’s not a productivity machine for me, because it’s not really a computer. Its niche is in between an iPod Touch and a laptop. I use my iMac for writing and Photoshop. The iPad’s keyboard, even in landscape mode, is too small for extended typing (I would use a wireless keyboard instead). As for photo editing, I have the Photoshop Mobile app, but it’s a lightweight compared to its burly big sibling. I don’t even like to use Photoshop on my MacBook (and definitely not without a mouse).
Will the iPad replace a laptop? It depends on what you use it for. I could see using the iPad more than my MacBook; I think it’ll be great for traveling and while on the go. But I don’t think the iPad is a laptop killer. I think its role is to enhance your lifestyle, much like the iPod and the iPhone.
So is the iPad a necessity? To me, there’s only one device that’s truly essential: My iPhone!