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View Full Version : My Month With The iPad

Jeff Campbell
05-04-2010, 02:00 PM
<p><em><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272636423.usr105634.jpg" /></em></p><h6><strong>Product Category:</strong>&nbsp;Tablet Computer</h6><h6><strong>Manufacturer:</strong>&nbsp;Apple</h6><h6><strong>Where to Buy:</strong>&nbsp;Apple, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C7481G?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=camroatri-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002C7481G">Amazon.com</a>, Best Buy</h6><h6><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;Wi-Fi Version 16GB $499.00 USD, 32GB $599.00 USD, 64GB $699.00 USD; 3G Version 16GB $629.00 USD, 32GB $729.00 USD, 64GB 829.00 USD</h6><h6><strong>Specifications:</strong> <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/" target="_blank">Apple Technical Specifications</a></h6><p><strong>Pros:</strong></p><ul><li>Truly portable computing for browsing and media;</li><li>Compatible with major eBook apps as well as ePub standard;</li><li>Magazines in all their full color glory;</li><li>Yes you can use it for work, however there are limits;</li><li>Nice start to the accessories list.</li></ul><p><strong>Cons:</strong></p><ul><li>No Flash but that may not be a con later;</li><li>Not all sites are optimized for video;</li><li>Backlighting may not be optimum for book reading for some;</li><li>No print option without third-party solutions.</li></ul><p><strong>Summary:</strong> With the introduction of the 3G version this last Friday, those that have waited to purchase one may have joined the iPad owners club over the weekend. So in light of that even, and the fact it's been one month since I purchased the Wi-Fi version, &nbsp;I thought it was appropriate to give you a run down of what I think about the iPad. The nuts and bolts, or technical side of the iPad has been covered extensively (if you are interested, click on the link above under "specifications" and you will learn all you need to know about the inner workings of the iPad), so this review is more from a user point of view. Its is about my experiences in using the iPad over the last few weeks and what I think of it. I'm also assuming in this that you are familiar with the intuitive way of the iPhone and how it operates, as the iPad is very similar in function. So, lets get to the iPad!<MORE /></p><h1>Portability and Ease of Use</h1><p>When I watched the <a href="http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/specialevent0110/" target="_blank">keynote about the iPad</a>, the first thing I thought about from a personal perspective was how easy this was going to be to use and how well it fit my needs. Or rather, how well I fit into the niche that Apple just created with the iPad is probably more appropriate here. In the pre-iPad days of the Campbell household, if I got the urge to suddenly look something up at home it meant grabbing a laptop, or worst case scenario going into the office area and plopping down in front of the iMac. Once I had an iPad, just like Steve Jobs up on stage, I could reach for the iPad on the table and search away from the comfort of the couch. I also couldn't help thinking "it's a giant iPhone," as I'm sure everyone else first thought when they first saw it.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272639852.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 1: Picture me in Steve's place, enjoying my iPad from the comfort of my living room, although my TV isn't quite as big as his.</em></p><p>When I picked up my iPad on April 3rd, I quickly realized that it was the perfect device for my needs. Portable, easy to handle and most important of all easy to use. The aluminum back combined with the glass front give it a very solid and well built feel to it. Right away I noticed fingerprints on the screen when the display is dark, but when the screen lights up, they really aren't noticeable. With the screen and it's oleophobic coating, it wipes clean very easily. And one thing on the technical side that does have an impact on usage is the battery life. I've found so far, that the iPad battery life is very very good. I'm getting days of periodic usage out of it before I have to charge it, and when I say periodic usage I mean browsing, sending email, watching some video and those sorts of things. I haven't tested it in constant usage but I did do some heavy usage over a period of a couple days and my rough estimates are that I've been getting between 8 and 9 hours of use out of the battery.</p><p>It came with all the apps that you need to start such as Safari, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Photos, iPod, and others, however it didn't come with iBook pre-installed. Apparently it wasn't quite ready to be included in the Wi-Fi versions when they shipped, but when I started up my iPad i was given the prompt to download it from the App store. A minor inconvenience easily remedied.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272641654.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 2: The opening screen on my iPad, with all the initial apps provided by Apple, however the background is one I added of my daughter.</em></p><p>As I said above, using the iPad is just like using your iPhone. Even if you aren't familiar, the learning curve is pretty short with one of these devices. After a few minutes of usage you'll feel like an expert. There are some cosmetic differences in the apps from the iPhone to the iPad, such as in the Calendar app with its nice two page display when in landscape viewing, to take advantage of the larger screen. Aside from that, opening apps, adding apps, moving apps, changing screens, etc all works the same way. Simple. For example, to start Safari and browse all you have to do is touch the icon and you are on the Internet super highway (assuming of course you are already set up with an Internet connection, Wi-Fi only with my version).&nbsp;</p><h2>Surfing the 'Net</h2><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272641641.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 3: Browsing on the iPad, just by coincidence it's open to my favorite site for all things Apple.</em></p><p>Surfing the 'Net is a breeze on this. The screen is fantastic, and is very responsive to the touch controls. I'd even go as far as saying they are more responsive than on the iPhone. I'm sure the A4 processor has something to do with it, but this is so much quicker than even my 3GS iPhone. The keyboard works very well, even though I initially had some reservations based on the initial exposure via the keynote. I actually thought that I would most likely purchase at least one item in addition to the iPad, namely the&nbsp;<a href="http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC533LL/A?fnode=MTc0MjU4NjE&amp;mco=MTcyMTgxODg" target="_blank">keyboard accessory</a>. Pleasant surprise for me in that&nbsp;it actually works quite well once you get used to it. And by getting used to it I don't mean after weeks of use. It's more like a few minutes. So let's talk about the Elephant in the room. No, I don't miss Flash. Well, not much anyway. I will admit it would be handy to see some things that I can't see now on the iPad, but if I really want to see it I just use <a href="http://www.instapaper.com/" target="_blank">Instapaper</a> and save it for reading later on my laptop. While this may be an inconvenience now, I really think that it will become less of a detriment down the road as sites switch to better options. I think we see where this is going in that it is happening already on sites such as YouTube and Facebook.&nbsp;</p><h2>Let's Check Email</h2><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272825979.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 4: Email screenshot from the Apple help video, using email in landscape mode.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The other obvious thing to do is email, and I really like what they have done with email on the iPad. Basically the set up is just like the iPhone, however the interface is again a bit different to take advantage of the larger screen. In landscape mode it splits into two screens. To the left you get a narrow partition, with a list of your emails. On the right side, in a larger partition, is the email you are currently viewing. Simply touch on any email on the left to bring it into view on the right side of the screen. From here you can reply, delete, forward, etc by using the icons to the top right of the screen.&nbsp;If you are holding it so that it is in portrait mode, you get a view of the email you are viewing in full. Simply by touching the inbox button at the top left of the screen it brings up a list of your emails in a drop down window so you can quickly switch to the one you want.&nbsp;As you can see from the image above, the keyboard does take up quite a bit of space in landscape mode, but it also puts the email into a smaller window above the keys so you get a closer view. In portrait mode it isn't so obtrusive as it sits in the bottom of the screen, almost like it is part of the email.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/wpt/auto/1272890461.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 5: Editing mail on the iPad.</em></p><p>One thing I really like about how mail works is it's use of the edit feature. Hit the edit button in the upper left of the screen and it allows you to move or delete your emails. Simple touch the circle next to the email and it stacks them into the screen on the right. Once you have selected the emails you either delete or move them. This is just an example of how Apple has really paid attention to details as far as the interface. Functionally, they could have done it a lot simpler, but this method really adds to the effect. They stack the selected emails in the right side of the screen, much like you would do if you were putting papers on top of each other. Adding to this bit of coolness, if you unselect an email, the corner of the top email curves back as the un-selected email slides over to your inbox. &nbsp;You can see as well as other features in action over at Apple, where they have posted several guided tours, including <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/guided-tours/" target="_blank">one about mail</a>.</p><h2><strong>Watching Video</strong></h2><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272825428.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 6: iTunes on the iPad.</em></p><p>This is only a month into the iPad so I won't try to convince you that it's the greatest thing ever for video, and you can watch whatever you want on it, but what you can watch displays beautifully. That said,&nbsp;there is the obvious Flash limitation.&nbsp;While you can watch video from CBS on their iPad site, you are limited to Survivor. And on Fox? Forget about watching Fringe episodes. Or any for that matter since they won't play. And don't even bother with NBC, they don't even have an iPad enhanced site and it looks terrible. CBS and Fox are in with Hulu so that will be an option once Hulu has their app out&nbsp;(or is it if they get one out), but I'm sure it won't be free like it is on ABC.&nbsp;I'm not going to get into a long drawn out debate on Flash for this review. Let's just say that the web is changing, and more sites are opting to switch to using H.264 for their videos&nbsp;so I don't think Flash is going to be much of an issue in the coming year. If you are interested in Apple's viewpoint (or is it Steve Job's, I guess they are one and the same aren't they?) on this issue, you can read his latest missive on it <a href="http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>There are still many options, as indicated by the growing list of sites at Apple that are deemed&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/" target="_blank">iPad-ready websites</a>." Granted, not all the sites that are "iPad friendly" are on this list, just the ones that Apple has deemed worthy after they submitted their site to Apple. In addition, there are several apps to use, such as the free&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-player/id364191819?mt=8" target="_blank">ABC Player</a> app that was available on launch day&nbsp;(I just hope that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hulu.com/" target="_blank">Hulu</a>&nbsp;with their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.9to5mac.com/apple_hulu_ipad" target="_blank">rumored iPad app</a>&nbsp;follows suit soon). The ABC Player is a great app that I have used frequently over the last month to watch several of my favorite ABC shows, such as Lost and V. I have also used the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/netflix/id363590051?mt=8" target="_blank">free Netflix app</a> to watch movies, documentaries and TV series. These two apps are examples of how great viewing video on the iPad can be if done correctly. To add to my viewing list, I can also put some of my own DVDs on the iPad via iTunes or just rent something from the iTunes store.&nbsp;</p><p>Bottom line is this thing has only been out a month and it is still sorting through issues, so I think it is only a matter of time before you see a greatly improved list of video choices.&nbsp;</p><h1><PAGE /></h1><h1>It's Not All About Video</h1><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272825628.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 7: iBook screenshot from my iPad.</em></p><p>This is really the reason I bought the iPad, for the eBook ability. But not only eBook but eMagazine if you will.&nbsp;I have owned both versions of the Kindle and this is by far the better eBook reader in my opinion. Partially for the asthetics of the interface, but also because of the flexibility in what you can read.&nbsp;While not all the magazines I subscribe to can be purchased on the iPad, I can get Readers Digest, Macworld, and a few others that I subscribe to via the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zinio-magazine-newsstand-reader/id364297166?mt=8" target="_blank">free Zinio app</a> made especially for the iPad (there is also one for the iPhone). The rendering of the pages for magazines takes a second or two, but it isn't all that annoying and very tolerable. &nbsp;Some have mentioned to me (my friends with Kindles and the Nook from Barnes &amp; Noble) that they are concerned about the backlighting and the eye fatigue. Personally, I haven't experienced any eye fatigue. I don't think it is that big of a concern (my wife has read several books on my iPad and she was also concerned but had no ill effects), but if you know you are susceptible to such things, this may not be the reader for you. In that case the Kindle or Nook with a book light may be a better option for you.</p><p>My favorite feature is the bookmark feature. With the Kindle it was the whole page. With iBook I can just highlight the text I want to remember and hit the bookmark option that comes up after selection. The bookmarks can be reviewed anytime by simply touching on the table of contents button, the button to the right of the library button upper left corner of the left page.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272825764.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 8: Barnes &amp; Noble iPhone app used on iPad. The difference between this and iBook is obvious.</em></p><p>The iBook app and the Kindle app work great on the iPad, but for Barnes &amp; Noble app it's a different story. This is because, at the time of this writing, their app was an iPhone app that also "worked" on the iPad. This brings up a point about using iPhone apps on the iPad. I didn't list this as a con per se, since I didn't expect them to work like they do on the iPhone, however it deserves pointing out that the iPad specific apps look so much better on the iPad. So once Barnes &amp; Noble come out with their iPad app, I will be checking it out. I'm hopeful since the iPhone version works so well that they will transfer that to the iPad app.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272977078.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 9: USA Today app on the iPad, simple but oh so functional.</em></p><p>One last media type that I have experimented with on my iPad is the news, and I don't think any newspaper out there has, so far, come close to what USA Today has done with their <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/usa-today-for-ipad/id364257176?mt=8" target="_blank">free app</a>. This is very well done, easy to navigate, and unlike some sites out there that don't give you all the stories they have in their print versions, it appears that USA Today puts out most if not all of them on to their app. Touch on a headline and a new window pops up within the app with the full story. Click on the upper right corner with the icon of the paper and it goes back to the main page. Simple and functional and perfect for the iPad.&nbsp;</p><h2>What Else Can You Do?</h2><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272815771.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 10: NBA Game Time Courtside Playoffs 2010 in all it's glory on the iPad</em></p><p>Sports junkies this iPad is for you. While the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/at-bat-2010-for-ipad/id364380003?mt=8" target="_blank">MLB at Bat 2010 app for the iPad</a> is a must have if you like baseball, it does cost a few bucks ($14.99 USD) to get the full featured version. It's a whole new ballgame, so to speak, when you upgrade to it from the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mlb-com-at-bat-lite/id281969989?mt=8" target="_blank">free lite version of MLB at Bat 2010</a>,&nbsp;since it adds pitch-by-pitch, box scores and live game day audio, as well as video highlights and the ability to watch one game a day (if you have subscription to <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/subscriptions/index.jsp?product=mlbtv&amp;affiliateId=MLBTVREDIRECT" target="_blank">MLB.TV</a> you can watch more than one game). &nbsp;The NBA also has a great <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nba-game-time-courtside/id364284970?mt=8" target="_blank">free app</a> to keep track of the playoffs (the <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nba-game-time-2009-10/id335754275?mt=8" target="_blank">iPhone version</a> is $2.99 USD but gives you coverage throughout the season.). It even has options for push notifications for updates from all the games so you don't miss any scores. This is a well done app, which I hope will become more like the iPhone app and include season-wide coverage. I also hope other sports such as the NFL will get "in the game" so to speak to provide something similar.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272815156.usr105634.jpg" /></p><p><em>Figure 11: Real Racing HD on the iPad</em></p><p>I haven't even touched on the gaming aspect of the iPad, because I've geared this to what I use it for and how I've found it during my interactions. However I would be remiss not to at least mention some other options such as gaming. You can get a quick idea of what else you can do with the iPad from the "<a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/apps-for-ipad/" target="_blank">Apps for iPad</a>" page at Apple. They go through some of the apps that might interest any number of you from comic book apps to the game apps such as <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scrabble-for-ipad/id363306776?mt=8" target="_blank">Scrabble</a> or <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/real-racing-hd/id363998989?mt=8" target="_blank">Real Racing HD</a>. I've seen these in action in the Apple Store and they look fantastic. If you are into games on your iPhones, they make the transition to the iPad even better.&nbsp;</p><p><PAGE /></p><h1>Business Time</h1><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272816448.usr105634.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p><em>Figure 12: ReaddleDocs, a file management tool for your iPad.</em></p><p>Admittedly, this isn't why I purchased the iPad, but I have experimented a bit with some options in the business genre.&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8" target="_blank">Evernote</a>&nbsp;is one option, since it integrates seamlessly with your current Evernote account so you can view documents, articles and more as long as you have an internet connection. Another option to consider, if you want to manipulate and store files and documents on your iPad, is <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readdledocs-for-ipad-pdf-viewer/id364901807?mt=8" target="_blank">ReaddleDocs</a>. They make several iPhone products such as <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scanner-pro/id333710667?mt=8" target="_blank">ScannerPro</a> and <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readdledocs-documents-attachments/id285053111?mt=8" target="_blank">ReaddleDocs</a>&nbsp;(our review of ScannerPro is <a href="http://www.applethoughts.com/news/show/96652/scanner-pro-for-the-iphone-a-review.html" target="_blank">here</a>, and the ReaddleDocs review is <a href="http://www.applethoughts.com/news/show/97632/readdle-docs-document-and-file-management-for-the-iphone.html" target="_blank">here</a>), and now they have a version of <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readdledocs-for-ipad-pdf-viewer/id364901807?mt=8" target="_blank">ReaddleDocs for the iPad</a>. It works very well for documents on the iPad and I'll be doing a Quick Look on that later in the week in case you are interested. You can use iTunes to transfer documents and files, or just email them to yourself and open them up on the iPad. ReaddleDocs takes care of the rest.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272932638.usr105634.jpg" /></p><p><em>Figure 13: Pages for the iPad, a great option for document creation.</em></p><p>Another option is Apple's&nbsp;<a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pages/id361309726?mt=8" target="_blank">Pages for the iPad</a>, and at $9.99 USD it is quite a bargain in my book. Pages is something that I have used to compose some documents (certainly not enough to give it a thorough review) and found that it is pretty good for what I need on the iPad. I think it is definitely something to consider if you are interested in using your iPad to compose any kind of document, or for that matter you need to be able to read Word documents or PDFs. Using the File Sharing in iTunes you can easily transfer documents back and forth. Along with this Apple product you might consider&nbsp;<a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8" target="_blank">Keynote</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/numbers/id361304891?mt=8" target="_blank">Numbers</a>,&nbsp;two other programs from Apple for the iPad, both $9.99 USD each. I haven't tried them but they go hand in hand with Pages.&nbsp;</p><p>As a free alternative to Pages, if your needs are simple (pun intended), you might want to give <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simplenote/id289429962?mt=8" target="_blank">SimpleNote</a> a shot. It is for the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simplenote/id289429962?mt=8" target="_blank">iPhone</a> as well as the <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simplenote/id289429962?mt=8" target="_blank">iPad</a>, and all your notes sync up to the web site. All you have to do is register your free account to keep all your notes sync'd between your devices. It also works as a simple document creator.</p><p>The problem I have with all of these is that you cannot print from the iPad, at least directly. One solution is to use <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/air-sharing-hd/id365541415?mt=8" target="_blank">Air Sharing HD</a> for the iPad. This is a $9.99 USD app but it will allow you to use the printer sharing feature with OS X. The problem with this is it is Mac only so Windows users are out of luck, at least for now. One app that does work with Windows machines is called PrintCentral, they have a <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/printcentral-for-ipad/id366020849?mt=8" target="_blank">$9.99 USD iPad only app</a>, a <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/printcentral-for-iphone-ipod/id367455861?mt=8" target="_blank">$9.99 USD iPhone/iPod Touch app</a>, &nbsp;as well as a <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=VoxLcfp5Si4&amp;subid=&amp;offerid=177776.1&amp;type=10&amp;tmpid=3909&amp;RD_PARM1=http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/printcentral-for-all-your/id363371015?mt=8" target="_blank">$12.99 USD iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch compatible app</a>. Whew. They wanted to cover their bases with that one. I'm sure there are other options, but these are the ones that I'm familiar with at this point.</p><h2>Accessories, Yes There Are A Few</h2><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/at/auto/1272825231.usr105634.jpg" /></p><p><em>Figure 14: The Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, one of the must have accessories for the iPad.</em></p><p>The Apple Store has some <a href="http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/ipad_accessories?mco=MTM3NDc0MTM" target="_blank">accessories for the iPad</a>, about 6 or 7 that you will find useful. Among them is the <a href="http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A?fnode=MTc0MjU4NjE&amp;mco=MTcyMTgxODY" target="_blank">Camera Connection Kit</a> listed for $29.00 USD. This works very well from <a href="http://terrywhite.com/techblog/archives/5214" target="_blank">what I've read</a>&nbsp;(the iLounge also has an <a href="http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/apple-ipad-camera-connection-kit/" target="_blank">in-depth review of this kit</a>) to transfer photos and videos to your iPad. It comes with two connectors, one for SD cards and one for USB connection. What is nice is that you can connect a card reader or a keyboard or mic to the USB connector and they work with the iPad. It will allow you to use the iPad as a viewer and backup drive for the photos. And Lightroom reads it as another drive once you have it hooked up to your laptop or desktop. So if you use Lightroom and have stored some photos on your iPad, you can connect it, and Lightroom will read from the iPad as if it were a storage device. So when traveling or out in the field, you have another storage option if you need it, not to mention a viewing device for the photos you have on your camera.&nbsp;</p><p>The only accessory I have purchased is the <a href="http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC361ZM/A?fnode=MTc0MjU2Mjc&amp;mco=MTcyMTgxNTk" target="_blank">Apple iPad Case</a>&nbsp;(listed for $39.00 USD). I use it to hold the iPad when I want to use it as a digital photo frame at home, for example, and it offers nice protection and usability when I'm packing my iPad around. Of course there are many other options for cases, including some nice ones from <a href="http://www.applethoughts.com/news/show/97892/waterfield-designs-a-case-for-every-need.html" target="_blank">WaterField Designs</a>. There is also a new site called <a href="http://ipadcasefinder.com/" target="_blank">iPad Case Finder</a> that does the searching for you. And screen protectors for the iPad have made their debut as well. For me, after using some of screen protectors on the iPhone, I like having that extra layer of protection even if it is a glass screen. For the iPad with it's larger screen, it is something that I'm considering as well. If you have kids, this might be a good option if you let them use it. Strange things happen to devices once kids get their hands on them!&nbsp;</p><h1>Conclusion</h1><p>Do you want a device that can function, within limits, much the same as a laptop with "instant on" capability, that can serve you up your Internet viewing as well as video, lets you check your email and that works great as an eBook reader including magazines and newspapers? I did, and for me, the iPad suites me perfectly. Is it the right device for you? Only you can answer that question, but for me it does what I need it to do. Don't get me wrong, this certainly doesn't replace my laptop, but it has certainly found a place in between my iPhone and MacBook, just like Steve said it would.</p><p><em>Jeff Campbell is a fan of all things Apple, an X-boxer (the 360 kind) and geek. He works as a floor supervisor in a 911 center in the Portland, OR area, and lives in a small town just north of Mt. Hood with his wife, two kids, two dogs, a snake and a tarantula. Oh, and a three legged cat named "Tres."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p><p><strong>Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Thoughts Media Review Team</a>! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Then click here for more information.</a></strong></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p>

05-04-2010, 03:42 PM
Hey, my daughter pole vaulted when she was in high school, too. Based on that photo, though, she wasn't nearly as good as your daughter...

(Sorry for the off topic.)

Great review, Jeff. I am still waiting on an iPad myself, probably until the next version at the earliest, as this does not solve any needs or wants that I have at the moment.

Jeff Campbell
05-04-2010, 03:58 PM
Thanks Doogald re: pole vault and the review, she sure loves it (the pole vault and the iPad when she snags it from my grasp) :)

I'm certainly curious about how the iPad is going to progress in the coming months/years, especially with the software updates and as more media becomes available.

Michael Knutson
05-04-2010, 08:18 PM
Well written Jeff!

My experiences the first month are pretty similar - I did purchase a few accessories, the dock/keyboard combo, the simple dock and Apple's original case, as well as a small case from STM (Australia).

I'm trying to use my iPad to replace my MBP while out and about, and it's been pretty successful so far, with one major gotcha: I've been designing web sites using a content management system called WebYep, and the complex PHP code doesn't work well on the iPad's Safari implementation (yet). But otherwise, so far so good.

I've switched from a Kindle, and have been looking for signs (like headache) of 'flicker fatigue,' but I've read several books so far with no overt ill effects, using iBooks, Kindle reader for iPad, and Stanza. I really like the better text quality and background! I'm also using Zinio for magazines.

On my wish list: something like RapidWeaver for web design, ported "down" (or sideways?) to the iPad. I'm using an HTML editor from the Apps Store, but it's not even close to WYSIWYG.

A text editor like Text Wrangler for iPad would be nice, as Pages is good for complex documents, but not for rude-and-crude heads-down masses of text.

So for me it's also a case of enjoying this device, while waiting for the expected tweaks!

Vincent Ferrari
05-04-2010, 10:38 PM
I'm expecting a flood of stuff coming down the line. I think a lot of developers took a wait and see attitude, but it's hard to argue with 1 million units moved in a month. :eek:

05-05-2010, 02:21 AM
I'm glad I pre-ordered a 3G 'Pad with the WiFi version. Many of the apps I use really want an always on connection. Jailbreak is possible now. Just need get Winterboad updated for the different system structure. I agree the USA Today app is slick but its only free until July. Like the NYTimes app to. Yes I can use Safari to access Facebook but really wish they would do a FB app for the 'Pad.

06-12-2010, 12:13 PM
I've had mine for ten days now and I'm amazed at how much the software on it has evolved over even that Horton period. Products like iCab, Atomic, Goodreader, the IMDB app and the like are making this a much more general purpose device than i guess even apple considered. I can even type with decent speed on it in landscape mode because the keyboard is close enough to the size of my MacBook Air. Oh and Pages and the rest of the iWork suite as well.

If I weren't studying and need to do a lot of keyboard work and produce compound documents using office I'd be in danger of having a redundant MacBook for pretty much all I want to do.