Not Too Big; Not Too Little; The Goldilocks Device
So I bought the iPad (2) at the beginning of this week; some observations follow.
- I had a basic understanding that I wanted to use it as a reading device, because I was running out of space for books, and I had a sense that it would be another way to get on the web, but I didn't really know what I'd be using it for. I could never have predicted just how much it has become a part of my digital life. In the course of this week, it has consistently been the device I choose to pick up — not the iPhone, not the laptop. I only have the wifi iPad, so the iPhone is for getting to the web on the run, and hence for twitter and foursquare; I also haven't loaded my music onto the iPad. But an enormous amount of my web browsing, online and offline reading, and note taking, has been on the iPad. There are all sorts of scenarios in which I'm finding it the best fit for the task at hand, and I've not even installed many apps on here yet.
- Got the Kindle app and a handful of free classics. I've been reading Dracula and finding it surprisingly good. That would have been far lower on my reading list if it weren't for Project Gutenberg.
- Buying books for Kindle is way too easy. I read John August's review for Tina Fey's Bossypants and had purchased the book and downloaded it to the iPad within minutes. Plus while on the Kindle store I followed a recommendation and also picked up Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. Both books, though, for under 10 bucks, under half what they'd be in a local bookstore. So while it's probably too easy to spend the money, digital's something of a no-brainer.
- I've not once all week felt the need to write on paper, something I used to have to do regularly just to separate my thoughts; now, I can scribble down notes on the iPad in brainstorming mode, and transfer them over to the laptop when I'm ready to flesh them out. Similarly, I'm able to avoid a lot of printing I would do for review purposes, from loading up requirements docs and briefs I need to get across, or draft documents I need to review. I even took the iPad out the other day to show a client through some wireframes in their near-final state. The ability to share the thing around is invaluable, and it feels far more natural than trying the same thing with a laptop.
- Have started playing with Instapaper, though I've not yet read much in there. I'm loving the ability to throw long-form articles in there, so I can scan through Google Reader and put the things I want to read into a queue and then focus on the reading. But I'll have to feel my way around how much I can actually do that without just creating an impenetrable pile.
- Flipboard is a pretty cool experiment in what digital publishing could be. I'm not sure anyone's got it figured out, but their approach is definitely more interesting than many iPad publishing attempts.
- ABC's iView app is fun. I don't mind the website but being able to get away from the computer is a win.
- Things I'm still looking for: an offline google reader app; and a decent text editor that handles sync and also lets me have docs in a few folders, and as a bonus, handles markdown (like a Simplenote on steroids).
- Battery life has been great; I mostly don't need to think about it, though as Ben Brooks points out, there's a certain learned behaviour in going to plug the device in when I see it go below 40-50% remaining. I'm finding that I realistically don't need to think about it until I get the 10% warning (and it's worth noting that on the iPhone the little battery icon goes red at 20%, while on the iPad it's only at 10%).
- Was interesting too to find that nowhere on the packaging or the device itself does Apple identify the product as a "2". They avoid versioning the iPhone too, but the packaging includes the 3GS or 4; it's a reminder that the device is a little more like their laptops, and it wouldn't surprise me if the iPad 3 or 4 is just quietly released with a spec bump rather than a big announcement. Even the iPhone seems to be headed that way, with the iPhone 5 set to not be announced at this year's WWDC, but still expected to show up later this year. I suspect Apple will focus their big public announcements on the software updates rather than the hardware in many cases.
- Not Too Big; Not Too Little; The Goldilocks Device (22Apr2011)
- The Night Before Christmas, or, Why I’m Buying a MacBook Air (21Jan2008)
In which there’s something in the aether.
- On Switching, Part the First (09Jun2006)