Some iPad Notes

May 15th, 2010  |  Published in Uncategorized

I’ve had my iPad 3G since they shipped at the end of April. Some notes:

My first weekend out of town with it, I got ambushed by work and had to put together pieces of an HTML newsletter. It was nice to have a few editors to choose from in the app store, but the most useful tool of all was iCab, a Safari replacement that includes tabbed browsing, source view and password saving. I opened the page with the newsletter template in one tab, the page I needed to copy HTML from in another, and put it all together in a third tab with a Simplenote buffer open.

I’m glad I ended up with a 3G model. It was pretty easy to burn through 250MB in a weekend away from home, but it was better than the alternative when I ended up needing to get work done, which would have been schlepping off to find a hotspot.

People have complained about Apple’s iPad sleeve, but it’s not bad. It does show a little dust, but it also provides a nice wedge shape for tabletop or laptop typing. I didn’t find that the grippy surface made it hard to get in and out of my bag.

Speaking of typing: The onscreen keyboard isn’t bad. I can’t exactly touch-type on it, but I can still get pretty decent speed going. I’ve got an Apple wireless keyboard and prefer it if i know I’m going to be sitting down to type for a while. It’s a little strange getting used to the iPhone-style autocorrection, but after a little while it becomes as useful as the autocorrect features I expect when I sit down to my desktop Mac with Typinator.

Speaking of getting used to iPhone-style stuff: The iPhone conditioned me to look for favorite Web services in app form. That’s because something like Mint works better in a dedicated app with a specialized touch interface than it does in a tiny Mobile Safari window. With the iPad, I have to re-shift my thinking again: Mint works just fine in an iPad-sized browser window, as do a lot of other sites you wouldn’t even bother with on an iPhone. So while it’d be nice to have an iPad-ready apps for Mint or LinkedIn, you don’t need them. You don’t even need the New York Times app, which is nice enough but unnecessary when you can enjoy the regular NYT site on the large iPad display.

Having used it for a few weeks I’m more ready to compare it to both of the eeePC models I owned: the 4G and the 1000HE. I find it more comfortable than either. The former had too small a display and none of the software I ran on it ever worked very well because it wasn’t written for an 800×480 display. In the end, the most ergonomic thing I could do on the 4G was use Emacs and Firefox in fullscreen mode. The 1000HE had a better display (1024×600), but I still missed the extra 128 pixels, it was so much heavier that it wasn’t much more portable than a 13″ MacBook, and its slow hard drive killed it by creating a nagging sense of latency.

I’m ready for iPhone OS 4, with multitasking and true background IM. My whole “Simplenote in another tab” trick will be less necessary.

I’ve read ebooks on it and prefer my Kindle for those. It’s nice to have a Kindle reader app, but considering the combined weight of a Kindle and iPad is still less than an eeePC, I don’t have a problem packing along both.

Location:SE 88th Ave,Portland,United States

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