iPad — First impressions

Hmmm… I wonder how many blog posts with this headline will be written today?

The iPad has to be one of the most-anticipated launches in Apple history, and with the possible exception of the iPhone, it’s a device that may change more about the technology/media ecosystem from its outset than any other.

What media companies really seem to want to do with the iPad is charge as much or more as they do with their old print editions. Popular Science has an app they’re selling for $5 — per issue! The Wall Street Journal offers a subscription for $16 per month. Cmon, people, we’re paying your print and distribution costs by buying a $500 device to read your content. You need to give us a break on the price of your content to make up for it.

Fortunately the web page versions of many sites are very nice indeed on the iPad. The New York Times, for example, works great. On the iPhone you’re generally better off using the NY Times app, but on the iPad I much prefer the actual web site. Even videos play perfectly. YouTube and Vimeo videos play fine as well — according to a couple respondents on Twitter they’ve upgraded their sites to detect the iPad and feed HTML5 versions of video instead of the non-supported Flash video.

The iPad is a bit smaller than I realized. It’s not quite as big as an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper. Here’s a photo comparing the iPad to the iPhone and the MacBook Air:

I’ve found that sitting and reading it like a book works okay, as long as you have someplace to rest your arms. Otherwise, it begins to feel a little heavy in your hands after 10 or 15 minutes. I have slightly different plans for how I’ll work with the iPad, which I’ll reveal next week on Daily Monthly.

One way I was hoping to use the iPad was as a paper-free way to read PDFs. I don’t like reading PDFs on the computer screen because my PDF reader is fairly clunky for annotating texts. I’d at least like to be able to highlight or underline relevant sections of text, and the pre-eminent iPad PDF-reading application, Papers, doesn’t offer that functionality.

Similarly, unless I’m missing something, the otherwise very nice Kindle for iPad app doesn’t seem to have annotation capability.

You can highlight and annotate text in the very nice Kindle for iPad app — it took me a while to figure out how: Just select the text you want and a menu comes up giving you the option to highlight or add a note. Unfortunately you cannot copy and paste. Silly DRM!

Battery life appears to be quite good. I’ve been running this thing through its paces for a solid 4 hours and still have a 57 percent charge — 8 hours of heavy use seems easily attainable, and I’m sure you could stretch it to 10 hours or more by turning down brightness and volume.

I’ll have much more to say about the iPad in the future, but this ought to satiate you for now — I’d like to get back to using it!

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to iPad — First impressions

  1. Mary says:

    8-10 hours of battery life is nothing compared to the Kindle’s two *weeks* of battery life, if all you want to do is read things on it.

    I’m annoyed with my Kindle right now however because I found out that, contra the reviews I read before it came out, there is no way to change that battery when it begins to fail, even by shipping it back to Amazon. Is there for the iPad?

  2. Dave Munger says:

    Yes, if all I was reading was books. But Kindle has the problem of poor PDF-management and bad web interface. I don’t find 8-10 hours especially limiting since I can usually charge at night. But my wife really enjoys taking her Kindle on week-long trips without the cord.

    I’m pretty sure Apple has an iPad battery-replacement option, but I’m too lazy to check right now.

Comments are closed.