Early in the year I have a bit of post-bonus disposable income, so I indulged in some wallet bukkake and ordered an iPad. Here is what happened.
I’ve used an iPhone for a couple of years now, so that gives you a certain perspective. The icons and such look very familiar. The first thing that hits you is: holy shit there is just a ridiculous amount of screen space. In reality it’s a modest 1024 by 768, but after using a phone it’s pretty striking. I think how you react to this device depends on what you compare it to: is it a big phone, or a small computer?
Although you have this expanse of screen, the icons and buttons are still iPhone-sized. They feel dwarfed, relatively speaking; you have to aim carefully with your fingers.
TypingThis is critical for me: the killer iPad use for me is lounging about on the sofa typing shit up.
At first typing is definitely weird. The reason: no tactile feedback. It is not possible to touch-type on a glass screen. This means you have to look at the keyboard most of the time, which is unnatural; the letters are appearing somewhere up there in hopefully the correct order.
After some time you get used to it, eyes flicking back and forth. I completely rely on landscape mode though (bigger keys to hit). The little keyboard clicks are indispensable.
Last bit of weirdness: an iPad forces you to cut your fingernails really short! Long-nailed typists just receive a series of clacky noises and nothing happens.
The good stuff
Things with big sweepy gestures are lovely. Google Maps is a whole new experience; it genuinely feels futuristic. You are holding a high-res atlas that comes to life in your hands; looking down, you sweep the world below you around, grinning like a retarded god.
The feel of the iBook is great. There’s a wee gimmick where you can grab the page and wave it around instead of just reading the fucking thing. The popup dictionary is beautifully styled and charming.
- IMDB is outstanding, very polished.
- Frotz uses all the space! Lovely.
- Evernote have made a decent effort but there’s no A-Z index of your notebooks.
- Netflix is magical: all your Instant Play films appear on the device, just like that.
- Wikipanion is good for WPing.
- Epicurious is great, swipe-able food and cocktail recipes.
- There are few ‘native’ Twitter apps yet (just Twitterific so far). The best Facebook interface is just using the website in Safari.
- Oddly enough, games that use virtual joysticks play much better! Critical Wave, Mini Squadron.