iPad… Do I need thee?

By | April 15, 2010

Everyone asks the question, “do I need it?” No, is the answer. But if you get the chance to use it for five minutes or so you probably won’t be able to live without one. It’s truly a new experience to surf the web with your fingers. If you think the iPhone reacts well to your touch you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how responsive the iPad is.

It is not a replacement for a MacBook. I find the device is best used while a TV show is on in the background and you want to look up something on IMDb, or you want to Facebook a friend, or you want to add a movie to your Netflix queue, or you want to check your feeds in your feed reader, or you want to tweet somebody, or you want to play a game, or check the weather, etc. It’s the media, leisure device that will pretty much suck your life away because of how fast it is. With a standard Mac there always seems to be a drag in Safari or the Mail app that gives you just enough pause to realize you’re in the computer “zone”, which gives you just enough time to step away from the computer and be productive with things that actually need to get done, like doing the laundry or doing the dishes…

If you’re like me and you check your e-mail first thing in the morning while still lying in bed in your jam jams, then it’s going to take a lot longer for you to roll out of bed if you’re using an iPad. The responsiveness of the apps makes it hard for you to get distracted from your task. It is truly faster than the MacBook due to its solid state hard drive, and custom built processor that Apple designed specifically for this device.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (FREE) is worth the price of the iPad alone. If you don’t like to type, then you can use this app to transcribe your voice. It works stupid good as a friend of mine would say.

The Google maps application is incredible to use on a large screen. Its responsiveness to your pinching and the way it zooms in and out is like nothing you’ve seen before. The Street view, which is already a part of the iPhone and the website for Google maps, takes on a completely different feel with the iPad. It really is all about the “feel ” of the device.

Reading books on the device is fine, but the Kindle is actually a better experience because it has no backlighting. Eye fatigue is more likely to occur with the iPad.

The battery life of this device is remarkable. It will play videos that are loaded onto the device for up to 10 hours or longer and it plays music for 140 hours straight.

I purchased the midrange model which has 32 GB of memory so I can load a lot of movies, music and photos onto the device. I think that a 16 GB version would have suited me just fine because I found an application called Air Video that will stream any movie on my Macintosh to my iPad. This application is only three dollars and it works incredibly well provided you have a fast Mac to handle the streaming.

You can even connect a blue tooth keyboard to the iPad and type e-mails this way. You would want to use this for typing up documents and the Pages application. It’s nice to have this option, but I don’t foresee ever using it, but time will tell.

You can also use the iPad as a video picture frame. It’s built right in. Pretty neat. Although, video picture frames are an ecological disaster because of how much energy they collectively use.

Do you need a 3G version of this device? If you already have an iPhone, I don’t think it’s necessary. It will cost you $15 a month for 250 MB or $30 a month for an unlimited plan to have 3G capability on your iPad. Personally, I see the device being used more around your home. I think it’s better to bone up on your broadband service because the device has 802.11N wi-fi built-in which makes it pretty snappy. But if you’re unsure then pay for the 3G model that comes out at the end of April because there is no way to upgrade the WiFi iPad to a 3G model.

So where is it lacking?

  • It has no video camera.
  • The iTunes application doesn’t have Cover Flow which is odd.
  • It has a mono speaker.
  • It does not have a universal mailbox, nor can it flag messages.
  • If you buy a case for the iPad then you must remove it from that case if you want to plug it into the docking station that you buy from Apple.
  • You currently can’t print from the device (this will be fixed by Fall when the 4.0 OS comes out)

That’s a pretty small list. If you’re thinking you should wait for the next version then you’re really cheating yourself. The iPad is here now. I recommend getting one and not looking back. You can always upgrade to the next version. I know I will.


This is a terrific post about apps for your brand new iPad.


3 thoughts on “iPad… Do I need thee?

  1. tobys

    sheesh now i’m scared to even touch one bc i know i’ll want to throw down the cash to buy it…

  2. otter

    Does it allow for multiple applications to be open at once?

    Awesome site! Thanks, B, for the schooling. I’ll visit often!

  3. Brandon Post author

    Nein! You gotta wait till Fall when 4.0 OS comes out. But it’s so fast that switching between apps is lickety split! The only place you’d want multitasking is if you wanted to stream Netflix or Pandora and needed to check an quickly.

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