Mesmerized by the iMperfect iPad

The iPad is a strangely compelling device I’m discovering, less than a day after picking it up from my local Apple store. It’s at once familiar and very unfamiliar, like someone you think you’ve met before but can’t figure out where. 

On the critical side I’ll say this, it will need a $100 price cut to become mainstream (just as the iPhone found). It will also need to get a bit lighter. At only 1.5 pounds it feels heavy after holding it for periods of time. And right now there are only a few apps available. Notwithstanding the statements that there are 2.5K iPad apps it feels a bit like a ghost town compared to the iPhone apps selection. Then there’s the fact that sites like Hulu that are all Flash obviously don’t work:

But Netflix compensates for Hulu’s absence. And YouTube works too.

Beyond Netflix, which is the device’s first “killer app” in my view, the best of the media apps I’ve explored so far is the one from the WSJ.

It’s a much fuller digital realization of the WSJ than the PC version of the site — ironically because you hold it as you do the paper and because it can look (and act in a way) more like the physical paper. Every magazine should probably be considering building an iPad app. 

Display and rich media ads that are thoughtfully done are going to hit it out of the park on the larger screen:

As everyone has said this is primarily a media and content consumption device rather than a content creation device — though apps such as Brushes and a few others contradict that early assessment. I would still rather write a blog post on my Macbook than on the iPad, though it’s possible to write one with the WordPress app or just through the traditional browser-based interface. Indeed, the Internet browser experience via the iPad is much more satisfying than the iPhone and other smartphones, and in many ways more satisfying than on the PC. 

I also really like iBooks and the way they’re presented. Others have criticized me for this, but I like the page turning simulation that it offers rather than a pure electronic rendering of the text. 

The device is also very fast. Many people have commented on this but it’s a striking feature of the tablet, as is the beautiful screen resolution. 

As I speculated yesterday, the iPad is not an “on the go” device. You’re not going to walk around the streets of New York with it. Much like the PC, you’ll use it to help make choices of where to go or what to buy (in the future) in the real world.

However the fact that its screen is large and you can carry it with you on the bed, in the bathroom, on the couch is what makes this such an interesting and compelling piece of aluminum and glass. It’s too early to tell but the iPad has an aura of leisure around it. I spent this morning reading the online version of the NY Times in my kitchen on the iPad and answering email. GMail on the iPad, by the way, is very nicely done and very satisfying. 

I haven’t done enough with it yet to know how it fits in to my digital activities entirely. I can tell you however that it has displaced my iPod Touch already, which had taken the place of my PC for many tasks. 

I have to say that the device, in the end, is “unnecessary” — but then so was the iPhone.

8 Responses to “Mesmerized by the iMperfect iPad”

  1. p0ps Says:

    Can’t wait to get mine. I’ve been on a cross country train trip for the last 4 days, missed Saturday’s delivery, expect to catch it on the second attempt, Monday.

  2. sanjiv Says:

    I have very similar first impressions. I recommend getting verizon or sprint’s mifi in lieu of the 3g version. It gives you much more flexibility.

    I also downloaded the kindle app and docked it on my ipad. It works incredibly well, and satisfies my desire to price shop between the ibookstore and amazon. Not having all of my books on one app is no big deal, though if would be for music. As for eye strain reading a backlit device, my observation is that it is much greater on the ipad than the ereader, with one caveat: I noticed it only when trying to read while I was tired and should have been sleeping instead. Having said that, my wife probably preferred that the light was off.

    My daughter now “owns” my old sony ereader . . . I couldn’t imagine traveling with both devices. Of course she doesn’t want it either.

  3. Mike Blumenthal Says:

    I am curious whether the add on keyboard would improve the device as a blogging tool…while it is an extra thing to carry it would still way less than a laptop. It is the one thing I really miss when traveling with just an iPhone.

  4. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    “In the bathroom?” I hope you mean surfing in the bathtub😉

    Then again, perhaps the iPad replaces those sports pages you see tacked up in bar restrooms? Bill Gates aspired to put a PC on every desktop. Perhaps Steve’s legacy will be the man who put an iPad in every restroom…

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Exactly.

  6. Why iPad Being Called a Giant iPod Touch is a Good Thing | Sweet Spot Strategy Says:

    […] reading opinions on the iPad get 1 of 2 stories: Giant iPod or Immersive Content Consuming Experience.  So if they like the idea of a larger iPod or the idea of a great interactive tablet then they […]

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