Beki Grinter

First few hours with the iPad

In computer science, research, social media on April 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Update: definitely a talking point while out good for encounters with strangers and new friends…

I picked up an iPad this morning.

More accurately my husband and I picked up an iPad. We’re actually going to wait for the GPS, but we have a need for some for a project and thought it would be an interesting experience.

Before telling you about the experiences, I should explain. I am a die hard Apple user, my first machine was a Powerbook 100. And it was a laptop, I’ve never had a desktop. I’ve never effectively been able to manage the relationship between two computers. My files and I need to be at one (in their case, place). (I know MobileMe, but I’m also cheap…)

So, the iPad.

It took me longer to get familiar with it than I expected. I tried to hold it like an iPhone and thumb type (in the upright position). The keys are bigger, but it’s also heavier to hold, especially when you’re trying not to engage your thumbs too heavily. I think I’ll be typing the other way if I type extensively (holding the device, or using it’s little stand built into the case, in the long direction is horizontal and the shorter direction vertical).

The layout of the applications is customized for the iPad. Nothing wrong with that, and luckily the ones that involve typing I prefer the way that I would prefer to type on it.

I never found the kindle very compelling I have to admit. Steve Colbert remarked that it did both colours, black and grey. The iPad is full spectrum and I did think that I could use it to read some types of things. I have a pretty serious relationship with books, what academic doesn’t. But I can see reading magazines and also the newspaper. I’ve read more sections of the New York Times today than I have in a long time.

I read them in the gym. Nervous about dropping it (the real problem is actually that LifeFitness needs to reconsider the width of the stand that comes with the machine used to rest magazines on, it’s not very generous and the iPad was almost to the edge), I persisted. That worked best in the upright position. At least for me. And I have to admit that the time in the gym was pleasant. The bright screen is good for my peepers. I can see people appreciating that.

I also see another use. Perhaps I’m just lazy, but sometimes when I sit and watch TV, I want to surf. I don’t want to do work, I don’t want to feel the call of the paper to review. I just want to surf. Sometimes it’s even related to what I’m watching on television. Sometimes it’s pondering what I am going to knit next during the dull part of the show and seeking some internet-based inspiration. I think the iPad could work for that. And because it’s not a computer, I might be inclined to do things with it that I would not do with my laptop. Take it to places and spaces of my home and surrounds because modulo giving keynote presentations (which could on reflection be amusing down at the Highland Tap) it’s really calling out to play.

And then there’s the brilliant geniuses at Scrabble, who’ve come up with an application where the iPad is the board, and the iPhones are the tile decks and you can move tiles from one to the other. I don’t like Scrabble much, I am a terrible speller and Scrabble just reminds me of that on a regular basis. But, it’s a good start at thinking about the ecology of devices that will be my iPhone, iPad, and iLaptop…

Now back to figuring out which twitter client I like best.

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