I’ve had an iPad for over a month now and I thought it would be helpful to relay my experience with it so that other business people can judge whether it would be useful in their workday. I tend to be an early adopter of technology and all things Apple, so I ordered the 64GB 3G version of the iPad as soon as it became available in Canada.
The iPad is an excellent content consumption device. I love surfing the internet and checking my mail with it. The experience is every bit as good as on my Mac. I don’t write a lot of email on it, but when I do, the larger keyboard makes it much easier to type than on the iPhone.
I have Twitterific for keeping track of my twitter accounts and I have to say that this is a far superior experience to any twitter client for the Mac. There is something to be said for scrolling through a list of tweets and touching the links to bring up a webpage, which can then be sent directly to Instapaper. Instapaper is a wonderful free service that I use for storing content that I plan on reading later.
Video and audio, as you would expect, are excellent on the iPad. The lack of Flash support is certainly an issue, especially with many smaller websites that haven’t converted over to HTML5. This can certainly be annoying but it isn’t a deal breaker.
Books are a good experience on the iPad. There are three stores to choose from; Apple’s iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle, and Chapter’s Kobo. I’ve purchased books from all three stores and the prices in the iBooks store tend to be noticeably more expensive than in the other two stores. The Kindle store has the best selection of books but some newer titles are only available on Kindle in the United States, which is frustrating. The user interface, dictionary and the ability to store and read PDF files sets the iBooks reader apart but the other two are acceptable. I think the e-ink screens of the Kindle and the Kobo Reader would be better for a day long session of reading but I’ve read entire books on the iPad without getting a headache from eye strain.
Content creation on the iPad is a bit of a mixed bag. I’m writing this blog post on the Pages application with Apple’s bluetooth keyboard. It’s a bit of an odd experience without a mouse but I think over time I’ll get used to touching the screen to move around a document. All of the iWork applications are useful but they are not the same as their Mac counterparts. I tried editing a large Pages document we are working on and all of the formatting got messed up because the iPad version of Pages didn’t support some the things we had implemented in the document. I think the iWork applications will be good for starting projects that will then be finished on the Mac or creating documents in a crunch but they are not powerful enough for my needs. For this reason, I think I’ll still have to take a Macbook on long business trips.
I think the iPad can be a useful addition for the business owner. It won’t replace a laptop but it fills the space between the laptop and smart phone very nicely. The current offering of software for the device is still pretty meagre but I think once more specialized software gets developed the use case for the iPad will only get stronger.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section or in the question box in the sidebar.