The iPad → FIND ←

Monday, 14 March 2011 11:48 pm
tags: apple ipad iphone

I was fortunate enough to be given an iPad recently. It's an intriguing device, but one that I wasn't particularly keen about getting my hands on. I've been perfectly happy with my iPhone 4, and saw the iPad as not much more than a bigger iPhone. Despite this, I was certainly not going to turn down the opportunity of owning what has been dubbed a revolutionary device.

It's such an overused cliche with the iPad, but it has to be said, the iPad's usability is nothing short of delightful. On pure tech specs, it isn't much more than a large iPhone, but in reality the extra screen real estate turns this device into something totally different and a joy to use. A lot of people were disappointed when it first came out; some expected the power of a Macbook Air, but in tablet form. They can dream I suppose. To me, the iPad is everything I expected and could want in a device of this size and purpose. It does what the iPhone does, but delivers it to you with so much more of a punch that it makes you wonder how you read a book or navigated a website on the iPhone's 3.5" screen.

With that said, it's worth pointing out, the iPad, along with any device, is only as good as the applications you have on it. To get the most out of your iPad, it's important to ascertain what you really want out of it, and to fully equip yourself with those things. Otherwise, I fear, it could almost become obsolete and as soon as you get bored of your iPad, it will just become a cumbersome paperweight.

I haven't really found my calling on the iPad yet, but until I do, I'm content viewing websites, photos and videos on its gorgeous display.

One point to note is a case is almost mandatory. I'm yet to purchase one, and I feel overly cautious carrying the iPad around with me a the moment.

I also feel, if given the choice, the 3G is infinitely more useful than the WI-FI only model. Having the ability to connect to the Internet from almost anywhere is the reason I love my iPhone so much and, really, the reason why these devices are so useful. My iPad doesn't have 3G, and when I first got it, I desperately sought to find out if I could use my iPhone's 3G connection when out and about. I was disappointed to learn this could only be achieved with a jailbroken iPhone; something I'm a little skeptical about.

But fear not, for Apple have come up with a solution, if a little half-baked. iOS 4.3 introduces Personal Hotspots - essentially turning your iPhone into a WIFI hotspot. Bitchin', right? Well, it would be, but unfortunately phone networks charge extra for this service; which, to me, leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth. However, it's something I will probably end up investing in, because it also gives access to a multitude of WIFI networks around the country, especially useful for when I have my laptop out and about.

What I think...

I believe the iPad to be the start of a change in modern personal computers. A lot of people slate Apple for holding back the potential of these multi-touch devices, that they try to control what can be done on them too much. This is true to a point, with the lack of customisability and the monopoly that is the App store and iTunes, currently the only way to download and add content to the devices.

But this, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. An enormously large amount of PC-users today do not know how to use their PC, even to a tiny percentage of its capabilities. It's because of this that a lot of users struggle with - what should be - simple, enjoyable tasks like browsing the web, checking emails, editing and publishing photos, social networking, etc. Computers get viruses, they get sluggish and slow, and, generally, cause a lot more frustration than they should do. The iPad minimises the likelihood of going wrong; it guides you where you need to go.

I commend Apple for trying to change the way everyday people carry out everyday tasks on their computers. There will always be powerful, complex computers available for carrying out professional, necessary tasks that many technical industries demand; but the iPad is a step in the right direction for personal home computing. For the masses, computers don't need to be complicated, and the iPad is the essence of simplicity and intuitiveness.