Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thoughts from a new iPad user

Okay I got an iPad so what. Well I am pretty impressed so far. In fact I am writing this post on it right now. The onscreen keyboard is actually pretty decent. I am kind-of touch typing. I thought I would share my first impressions from my first weekend with it.

I immediately got iTunes going, synced up my music. The listening experience is great. Works just like an iPod. Then I installed the Kindle Reader from Amazon and bought my first book: The Singularity written by Ray Kurzweil. Next I setup Activesync for the Mail app to connect to my Microsoft Exchange email. Worked great. I have used that exclusively this weekend to read and respond to email. I found and installed a Twitter app Twitterific, installed a Soduko app, Google Earth app, Language translator app, Wired Magazine app, and Sundry Notes.

Reading with Kindle is very nice. A simple interface that doesn't get in the way. I love that I can highlight snippets of text and easily get back to it. I can also add bookmarks to easily return to specific pages. I am a bit frustrated though that I can not select, copy text. For example I might want to quote a piece of text from the book in this blog post or in a tweet. Can't do it! The other cool feature is that it syncs bookmarks and highlights up to the Amazon cloud so it is backed up and can sync to other devices like iPhone or iPod Touch. I must be old school though 'cause I still want the physical book to put in my library. Books are conversation pieces and if people can't see them how can the book passively stimulate a conversation? I would like them to give you the Kindle version for a couple of bucks when you buy the physical copy.

The Wired Mag app experience was good. Some article are interactive letting you press buttons to get more info or to run an animation. The ads often have short video clips you can play. It was an easy reading experience. I can see switching to emagazine from paper for sure.

As far as using it to blog... I still like using Windows Live Writer on my laptop better. Much easier to embed images or videos or other embeds. Easier to format, create links to web items, see the post as it will be, add tags, etc. Also, I can't seem to figure out how to scroll within the edit post box. No scroll bars evident. I tried the Compose mode and it says not supported for this browser version. Gimme a break...

I have a major bone to pick with Apple though. The fact that they have not implemented Adobe Flash is a slap in their users faces. I tried looking up Sky Train info last night and they use Flash for that. Slideshare.net uses Flash. pgatour.com uses flash to show live streaming. Give us a break, Apple! Sure you want html5 to rule but in the mean time make it work for the web today!

I will be participating in a learning team (action research) this next school year with our Superintendent, some Principals, and a few teachers. I look forward to seeing how well this new Apple gadget could serve educational needs.

Do you have any iPad experiences you can share? If so, please do.

9 comments:

  1. I know it doesn't solve the flash issue, but you can get the TransLink app for iPhone/iPad to look up SkyTrain info..

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  2. Thanks Stew - found it here: http://m.translink.ca/ they say a free app will be available on itunes "soon"...

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  3. I think that the tradional PC for consumer/home use will soon be segmented to a set of power users who need to run speciality applications or users who require significant amounts of input. However the second use case could be solved with the optional keyboard.

    Dave Carley

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  4. Hey Dave - ya, I know there are accessories for the ipad that add "laptop" capabilities. I think a few onscreen changes would help too: Flash support, arrow keys/mouse to help with navigating some web content, multitasking windows (open more than one app at a time and work with it rather than have to switch back/forth) to name a few... Also, the apps available for "real" work are limited - ie, I like my business apps on my laptop for getting major work done - more capable and efficient.

    Time will tell the story!

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  5. Brian,
    Great info. I'd love it if you could test DocsToGo (office Suite-ish) on your iPad as well as Seesmic's Twitter app (does it do multiple columns on the iPad?).
    Like I was mentioning, I am really liking the ability to view PDF's on that puppy. I'm doing a lot of research this summer and would love to have a screen for the hammock. :)
    Greg

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  6. PDFs can now be transferred through iTunes and read in iBooks native application. The Canadian iBookstore is growing and publishers should explore this new market with ePub-format electronic books.

    iPad with iOS 3.2 is missing some apps which came with iPod Touches like Calculator and Clock/Stopwatch/Timer. Since iOS 4 is not available for iPad yet, multi-tasking and folder are not supported.

    On the other hand, apps for iPad are usually suffixed with "HD" and cost more to download from App Store. Some apps are designed for both hardware and will fit your screen without manually selecting "2x" at the bottom right corner.

    For users who doesn't want to spend extra $30 on data plan, Nokia Symbian S60 users can consider Joikuspot app to use your smartphone as a 3G WiFi router. BlackBerry users can consider Tether app.

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  7. Greg: I installed Docs 2 Go. Got it syncing between my laptop and iPad. Tried a Word 2007 doc - fidelity is good. Tried a PPT 2007 file - fidelity not so good. I think it will be fine for Word, Excel edit/save/sync and PDF reading. The Seesmic's Twitter app isn't avail. for iPad so didn't try that. I use Twitterific.

    John: the iBookshelf is pretty lite on books - it'll take time to compete with Amazon, if they ever can. I find that WiFi is pretty avail. now that being tethered shouldn't be an issue for me.

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  8. Great iPad review. Look forward to your future updates when you evaluate the educational value.

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  9. Learned how to scroll within a box in safari. Use two fingers! Problem solved.

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