The iPad, the first 30 or so hours

So, I went ahead and did it: I got an iPad. Here’s the scoop so far:

I’ve been interested in some kind of tablet/electronic textbook sort of tool for a long time, so when the long-rumored and poorly named Apple iPad finally appeared, warts and all, I was intrigued, but I wasn’t that crazy about ordering one before I actual saw one/touched one. Then I started seeing more and more hype, more and more cool apps. I think the one that really changed my mind was Netflix– I don’t know, but that just seemed like something I had to have, and I regretted not pre-ordering.

We were planning on having Bill and Leslie HD down for dinner iPad talk Saturday (Leslie wanted one big-time too), and I figured I would take my chances at the Apple store. I wasn’t willing to wait in line, so the plan was to go by about 10 am and see what I could do. I figured I would at least be able to order one. Well, Leslie called before that, said she was at a Best Buy and she could buy one for me if I wanted it. Oh yes, I wanted, I wanted.

I went to the Apple store anyway, and truth be told, I think I could have gotten one. They had quite an orderly set-up: people who were going to buy got in line in a designated area, and everyone else was free to browse/monkey with the demo models. I would be surprised if getting them on Monday or Tuesday of this week at the store will be a problem.

I’m not going to bother to rehash all the various reviews, praises, and condemnations that have come out over the iPad, but I will offer a few scattered impressions after having one for just over a day now:

  • It is super-duper zippy with everything, browsing, email, the apps, etc. Surprisingly fast.
  • The lack of flash thing isn’t that big of a deal to me, though I don’t regularly use a lot of super-intense flash kinds of sites, either. And I don’t care that much about not being able to run multiple apps at the same time. And I don’t care that it doesn’t have a camera or a phone because I have an iPhone already. Which leads me to the next point:
  • It is definitely not a substitute for a laptop and it isn’t quite a netbook either. It really is like a giant iTouch, and I mean that as a good thing. The capabilities it has over an iTouch are nice, and the size of the display makes a huge (no pun intended) difference.
  • The apps that are not iPad ready are fine to me, and for some of them, the bigger buttons is kind of a plus, like those over-sized remote controls they sell for old people. Kinda nice. Of the iPad native apps I’ve played with so far, I really like IMDB, the NPR app, the weather bug app, and the USA Today app (and I don’t usually read that paper).
  • As for the well-publicized iBook reader: I think it’s totally sweet, especially when I combine it with the iPad version of Kindle. But what I really REALLY like is that there is already the app I was really wanting, something that would allow me to take notes on PDFs. It’s called iAnnotatePDFs, and it’s a perfect example of how the size of the screen matters because this would be completely unworkable on the iPhone. It’s far from a perfect app, but it I’ll do what I need it to do, and considering the fact that the iPad has only been on the market for a day, it’s a pretty good start.
  • Last but not least: the long life of the battery is no joke, and the keyboard issue is not that big of a deal to me. I wrote this on the virtual keyboard in landscape mode, and for me, I can basically touch-type on it. I might get a separate keyboard eventually, but I’m in hurry.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go back and play around with this thing….

9 thoughts on “The iPad, the first 30 or so hours”

  1. Thanks so much! I am having a major itch to get one…majormajormajor. I am in PA school and the med apps are just fantastic on the iPhone- but since I am, ahem, older, the bigger certainly appeals to me.

    I love my Kindle, however!

  2. Thanks, Steve. This is very helpful. Any thoughts yet on how well the iWorks apps work? Is this something you could actually use to do production (html coding would be lovely)? Have you had a chance to try to work with things like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files?

  3. I haven’t had a chance to play around with Pages or Keynote for the iPad yet, and I didn’t bother getting Numbers because I so rarely work with spread sheets for various things. But I do use Keynote quite a bit on the desktop, and that works reasonably well with Powerpoint too. I’m not sure if Keynote on the iPad will import/export Powerpoint files or not, but I bet it will.

    Anyway, that’s perhaps a longer answer to say “I don’t know–yet.” ;-)

  4. God, I didn’t need to read this. I needed you to say that it sucks and is totally worthless.

    Damn it.

  5. Probably not, Lanette. The software that I have is something that I think only works for me– or if it is to work for someone else, I think they’d have to have that software. But I should also point out I’m not completely sure if this is the case since I haven’t annotated any pdfs yet. I will know a little later today, hopefully.

    iAnnotate is from a company called Aji; they’re on the web at:

  6. Thanks for the word about PDF annotations… here’s hoping it’s a useful tool.

    When you get a Word attachment in e-mail, can you edit it and e-mail it back? Can you send attachments?

    So, would it be possible to ask students do download a PDF from a library database, annotate it, and e-mail it to me, all using their iPad?

    If a student were assigned to read two ebooks with an iPad, I gather they can’t display both texts side-by-side, but how easy/cumbersome is it to flip back and forth between texts?

    If I were to assign an eBook version of Huckleberry Finn this fall, will students be able to annotate it meaningfully, copy and paste brief passages, and e-mail or otherwise transfer their notes?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.