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an iPad post

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May. 30th, 2010 | 02:58 pm
location: pub with iPad

So I did get an iPad. Obviously. I won't go over all of the details everyone knows already, but there are a few things I didn't know from reviews and blog posts and all the irrelevant articles with journalists telling us that it's ideal for going on the web on the sofa.

* The Apple case is quite stealthy - in a bag it just looks like a smallish folder - and props the thing up well, either semi-horizontally or semi-vertically. It is however rubber and bounces when typed on while it's on a flat surface. I'm typing this in the pub with a bluetooth keyboard on my lap and the iPad standing on the table; it's very comfortable actually, more so than a laptop.

* iPhone apps _do_ work but are almost without exception very pixellated when blown up to 2x normal size (you have the option via a little button). This is fine if you like retro games like Canabalt and Squareball, but for anything fancy it will look a bit crap. Also you will be annoyed by the differences in UI - good iPhone apps don't work like good iPad apps because of the screen size. You will likely have to get replacements or iPad versions for apps you use regularly if you have an iPhone.

* The onscreen keyboard feels odd since you have to keep your fingers well away from it when you're not actually typing; it's not pressure-sensitive so just brushing a key will put a letter on. Therefore you have to hover your hands over it which feels unnatural. I'm already quite fast on it after a couple of days though. If you plan to write books or articles I'd definitely invest in a bluetooth keyboard - I got this one with my iMac, and it's too small for desktop use but fine to sling in a bag. (The plugin keyboard needs you to use it in portrait all the time which would be far too annoying.)

* I think I've only once used it in portrait mode. There's just no point and apps generally assume you'll be using it in landscape. We're all used to decent screens being landscape, and this isn't a phone where you'll be operating it with one hand.

* The screen size allows apps to have much more on one screen at once, and so doing almost everything is faster. Most iPad versions of existing apps that I've seen have a left hand sidebar replacing their front page on the iPhone; so, for instance, Mail has title and summary of your emails in the sidebar, and the currently selected one on the right. Less screen-switching means more efficiency. The built-in apps are mostly a lot better by the way, though you still can't change the calendar of an event in iCal for no apparent reason.

* The iBooks app is nice to read with, but is about 1% as convenient as Stanza to find things with (there is no iPad version of Stanza and none is planned, though the original app works tolerably at 2x size). The book-finding interface is a bit like the App Store's except worse; it's very dull and limited to browse. I suppose it is all right if you know what you want. I am not buying any DRMed e-books by the way; I've been burnt by DRMed music before. However, the entire Project Gutenberg catalogue is in the iBooks store.

* I knew the battery life was long but it's really noticeably longer than the iPhone - I suspect because the 3G/wifi on both uses a set amount of power, and the iPad has a larger overall battery. I've not managed to get down below 80% yet. On the other hand, this also means it takes longer to charge. You can't really charge it while syncing like the iPhone; if it's switched on when connected by USB to a computer, it doesn't charge at _all_, and when switched off just very slowly. Even when plugged into the mains it's quite slow. So if the battery runs down don't expect to be able to just plug it in and it'll be ready in half an hour.

* It's not all that heavy you wimps. Jesus.

* Is it going to replace my notebooks and pens? Not very likely. There are practical issues - if a Moleskine gets wet or fag ash on it it doesn't break, a notebook and pen is much lighter, there's no eye strain with paper, a Rotring Art Pen has much higher resolution than Brushes ever will and so on - but it's just much _nicer_ to write longhand with a fountain pen on proper paper.


On that last point, I've been frustrated by the Moleskine's poor performance with fountain pens more and more recently after purchasing lots of nice ink that just feathers and bleeds through pages, but Rhodia Webnotebooks are now on sale in the UK with the proper 90gsm paper. I bought one and it is lovely; I can't wait to finish my current Moleskine so I can get writing in it. This is something I should probably give its own post though.
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Comments {5}


from: anonymous
date: May. 31st, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)

I agree with you on your observations, I tried not to succumb to the iPad but hey its new its shiny and its a gadget! Used to be a bit of an iMonk but left the order a while back ;) Lack of competition once more leaves this segment open to Apple! Is it worth it, jury is still out, but it does have the wow factor, the screen is lovely.

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from: anonymous
date: Jun. 1st, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)

I would get one tomorrow except for all the things it can't (yet) do which I hope it will do in time. I do hope that Stanza will get a dedicated iPad app out.

Apple's blind spot (or is it?) does seem to be releasing a beta version with major flaws (e.g. iPhone with no search or cut and paste facility when it first went on the market) which it later fixes. I'm hoping that this is the case with the iPad.

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from: anonymous
date: Jun. 8th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)

What's the latest now that you have had it a while?

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molies and fountain pens

from: grocko
date: Jun. 11th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)

they don't play well together - not unless you get a sailor hero with their extra fine nibs and use a quick drying ink... but then the ink dries on the nib and takes an age to get writing again... *sigh*

Clairefontaine notebooks and fountain pens on the other hand...

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Re: molies and fountain pens

from: fridgemagnet
date: Jun. 11th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)

Hah - I just posted some pictures of a new Sailor ProColour I picked up this morning, and I thought of you, as it's easily the sharpest fountain pen I own.

I get massive page bleed-through with the Moleskine with almost any ink, but the 90gsm Rhodia Webnotebook is excellent. Funny rubbery cover but the paper is great.

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