Saturday, April 03, 2010

Initial iPad impressions: my kids will love it…

My iPad was delivered via UPS this afternoon, and I’ve been exploring it for a couple hours. I am impressed with it in many ways – it’s a very nice media, game, and browsing device, for example, and the multi-touch user experience is interesting.

The Kindle iPad client is also nice, although I need to find some documentation to determine, for example, if it’s possible to capture annotations beyond simple bookmarks.

Aspects with which I was less impressed:

  • The iPad is a brick until you plug it into a PC or Mac with iTunes installed, and of course you need to have a credit card in your Apple profile, since Apple controls every detail of the iPad commerce story.
  • The browsing experience is nice, but I haven’t been able to find a way to add the Blogger Blog This! shortcut to Safari, and the mostly-serial-multitasking nature of the iPad means I can’t use an app similar to Windows Live Writer, which I routinely use on my Windows devices.
  • I’m guessing the guidance for anyone who wants to print content is to email it to themselves on another device, and print it there.

I don’t think these limitations are going to slow iPad market momentum, but I also believe there is now a very significant market opportunity for hardware vendors that find a better balance among Zen slate device, general-purpose computing (e.g., with true multitasking), and open platforms – e.g., vendors building tablet/slate devices running Windows 7.

Overall, I don’t expect the iPad will significantly alter my laptop or Kindle usage routines. It’ll be handy to have another client option for reading/annotating Kindle information resources, and with which to explore OneNote Web App, Evernote, etc., but it’s going to be more of a complement than a competitor to the tools I’m already using.

I acknowledge that my profile is probably a bit unusual, in that Web browsing without the ability to easily blog is of limited utility to me, and since I haven’t been an Apple customer before (unless you count a borrowed Apple II for college class work c1982…) – so, e.g., I haven’t already purchased gigabytes of content from iTunes. No doubt many Mac and iPhone users will find the iPad more “magical” and “revolutionary” than I currently do.

For now, in any case, I expect the iPad will mostly be used by my kids, for games and other apps, and that they will be pleased with it. More impressions to follow…

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