Friday, July 22, 2011
At work my department will soon be receiving about 20 iPad 2s for development use. Since I'll be managing them, my boss felt I should have one for my own use. So, on Monday I came home with a shiny new white 64 GB iPad 2 with both WiFi and Verizon 3G capability. (If I want to use the 3G I'll have to pay for it myself.)
So far, I've been using the heck out of it. The screen is very nice and clear, displaying both text and graphics nicely. Speed seems good for the apps I've used. On my home network I'm getting about 12 to 14 megs down, about 10 mega slower than what I see with my MacBook Pro. The iPad has a slower processor, so that makes sense.
When typing I find that it's much easier if I put the iPad in landscape orientation, providing that the app I'm using supports it. The onscreen keys are larger in this mode.
My use has primarily been for browsing, reading a couple forums using Tapatalk, and using the Amazon Kindle app. Compared with a Kindle, the iPad is more versatile since it allows you to do more than read books, but as an e-book reader, the hardware Kindle is superior. The grayscale Kindle screen, which isn't backlit, is superior for reading in bright light; there is more glare on the glossy color screen of the iPad. However, the iPad is superior for viewing PDF files, which don't display well on the Kindle. The Kindle's e-ink display uses a lot less juice than the iPad's backlit LED. A Kindle can go weeks between being charged, while an iPad will go about 8 hours of active use.
Compared with the Samsung Galaxy tablet I got to play with a few weeks ago, the iPad is better. The iPad's larger screen versus the Galaxy's 7" display is more usable. (Obviously a 10" Galaxy would fare better in this regard.) The OS feels smoother, and Safari is overall a better browser than the stock Android 2.2 browser, with at least one caveat, see below.
So far I've bought a couple applications through iTunes: iSSH and GoodReader. I've also installed Noterize, Evernote, an RDP client, and Dropbox. ISSH allows me to access my servers at work over a WiFi bridge onto my lab network. GoodReader allows me to view many file types, including .doc, .xls, and PDFs, and manage files. It also integrates well with Dropbox.
I mostly typed this post in Evernote on the iPad with some final touches on my Mac. Evenrote is an extremely neat notes and clipping program which can sync your files across multiple platforms and the cloud. (I used Evernote for this post because Safari on the iPad doesn't work with Blogger for some reason.)
Taking notes is something I see as becoming one of my main uses for the iPad, so I need to settle on a good solution for it.
Since this is a company owned device, I was able to get approval to have ActiveSync enabled on my Exchange account, which means I can now get my work email and calendar on it. I'm going to like not schlepping my laptop to meetings.
When I first handled an iPad last year I was a bit underwhelmed. I didn't like how it felt. The iPade 2 is noticeably slimmer and lighter and feels a lot better in the hand. I can see why Apple has had a he'll of a time keeping up with demand.
For heavy content creation a laptop or desktop remains superior to the best tablet. But for note taking, email, checking my calendar, or light web surfing, the iPad works extremely well.