Why take the time to review the iPad after every major publication and website has already done so? Well, I said I would when I got the device and wanted to keep my word, and also the iPad has affected my web habits significantly enough that I really felt like a dissection of the how and is important. So lets skip all the stuff you already know about the magic of the iPad and get right into my analysis.
The computer/non-computer status of the iPad is the part I like most about it. I still tend to gravitate to my computer for regular computery tasks (long-form writing, major media projects, multitasking) while the iPad waits for a real reason to be used. And when I find something that the iPad does well, it gets used… a lot. For instance, I’d say 90% of what I use the iPad for is media consumption in two forms: Netflix and RSS feeds.
The quality of the screen was so stunning at the beginning that I made a point to convert some DVDs just so I could watch them on the iPad. And the live streaming Netflix app has been such an amazing feature. Its great to have it sit beside the desktop computer with a show/movie on that you can kind of watch or ignore as you are working on anything else. I’d say that our video streaming use increased 10 fold since we got the iPad.
It is really important for me to keep up with new articles and trends in webtech and I had not yet found an RSS reader that I would use actively. I had quite a few feeds in Google Reader, but never got into the interface. The iPad has really made me a much higher functioning reader since I can now import all my feeds into the Reeder App (highly recommend) and flip through the top stories quickly, comment, share, and generally stay at the forefront of the field.
Other than that I use the iPad for quick tasks here and there, general reference and fun/games (when I get the time). The news apps are built really well and scanning those sites is really a joy on the iPad. I have NPR, BBC, NYT, Mashable and USA Today on my homepage. Social networking, another hobby/priority of mine, is great on the wide screen of the iPad and I tend to use Twitterrific for iPad as my #1 networking app these days.
At the recommendation of Profhacker, I have really been enjoying SimpleNote and Dropbox for managing my important files in the cloud. I have both accounts synched between my smartphone, computer and iPad and have all that data so readily available has been great. Surprisingly, I don’t use the iPad for reading books at all. Then again I am a cheapskate and haven’t gotten any books that weren’t in public domain yet.
Details: 99% of the time I use the iPad in landscape mode. The keyboard takes some getting used to, but I type on it now almost as quickly and with as many errors as I do on a normal keyboard. The lack of multitasking can be annoying but its refreshing also to have to unitask. I have yet to load any music onto the device. I would get a lot more use out of it if more magazines I read had apps.
Generally, I think the iPad is a gamechanger. It’s dynamic in a way not other device has been. Future incarnations of the iPad will be interesting to see how the basic ideas develop, but right now I am pretty pleased with what it does, and what it does well.