My new Early Birthday Gift…

by

…is the Apple iPad. Woohoo!!

The First Generation Apple iPad

The First Generation Apple iPad

I bought it when I went to the United States in May on work, and I can’t believe I have managed to keep this quiet on my blog for so long.

Well, I had my reasons to keep it quiet. I wanted to take my time with it and to figure out what exactly it’s good for and isn’t good for, so that I am able to post something meaningful about it, rather than just post a list of stats and apps.

I am a total Apple newbie, I have never used any of their products before (yes, I don’t even have an ipod), so when I opened the package I was totally surprised by the beautiful and simple design of the product. The images that I had seen on the web simply do not do enough justice to this product. I was even more surprised when I was able to configure my wireless network connection and email within a matter of minutes. All in all, the initial setup on the ipad – internet, mail, twitter, and facebook took less time than my laptop takes to even start up and detect the wireless connection. My laptop is pretty old though and is pretty much on its last legs, but still I was amazed at how quickly I was up and running on the ipad.

After the first initial euphoria, I encountered itunes. To say that itunes sucks would be an understatement. The interface and the search functionality suck. I tried to use itunes to sync up music and photos from my laptop to the ipad, and found it a pretty tiresome experience. It would have been so cool if I could have just directly connected the ipad as a device to the laptop and just moved the files accordingly, instead of going through this itunes rubbish interface.

The itunes experience turned me off the ipad for a few days. However, once I accepted this disappointment and moved on, I found a whole new world of great things to do on the ipad.

Remember an old blog post where I commented that the ipad had the potential to convert a whole new generation of kids towards reading more books? That was an off-the-cuff comment, but I can see it coming true with the snubnose.

She often used to turn her nose at the books that I bought or borrowed for her to read. But the children’s e-books on the ipad have really captured her imagination. And why not? Some of these book apps are extremely interesting.

The snubnose’s favorite book app is Toy Story. It’s amazing how flexible the app is. She can configure the book to read using Tom Hanks’ voice, or we can record our own voices instead. The pages of the book are in bright, vivid colors…but if she feels like it, she can just turn off the colors on any of the pages, and color it herself. So many options, but they are so simple and user-friendly that she can figure it out and do it herself. How cool is that? Oh, and did I mention the app is free?

Here is a demo for the app in case you are interested:

Reading e-books has also enhanced her interest in actual paper books. So, that makes me happy as well :)…at least the books I bought for her are not a waste. This experience also made me realize that e-books will probably be the medium of choice for the next generation of readers. All the books on my library shelf might as well be antique pieces.

How do I find the e-book experience?

I found e-books to be a pleasant surprise. It’s not that I haven’t read books online, I have. But those were mostly badly formatted PDFs, which I read purely because I could not wait for the actual book to come in store (Harry Potter). Before you ask, I don’t feel guilty about doing that because I eventually bought the books anyway. It’s just that I could not be bothered to pre-order and wait in line.

Anyway, I like iBooks. I also downloaded the Kindle and Borders e-reading apps. This is great because it allows me to take advantage of book deals on offer on these e-readers. I am still figuring out how it all works, but it does seem like I have more reading options. However, the quality of the iBooks app is far and away superior to the Kindle and the Borders ones.

So what else can I do with the ipad?

Well, social networking is a breeze for me now. Earlier, Twitter and Facebook were strictly weekend activities, and most of the times I just did not bother. I mean who’s gonna take the pains on my slower than slow system just to send out a random tweet or message. Well, now, it’s just so damn easy. I use the Twitterific and Facebook apps to post my updates and photos within seconds.

As for blogging, hmm…that’s a slightly different story right now. I downloaded a WordPress app for blogging, and it works great…it’s only got 2 problems-major ones though.

  • First major problem – Editing and uploading images is super smooth. In fact, it is much easier and quicker than doing it on WordPress.com. However, I am having issues getting the blog post published. I am still trying to figure it out, but my first inclination is to set it aside as a bug.
  • Second major problem – Saved drafts created using the WordPress app do not appear if I open the Admin Dashboard on WordPress.com and look for it in the Drafts folder. This sucks big-time as you can imagine. Both these problems combined renders the whole app pretty much useless.

However, I am hopeful that the next version of the WordPress app (hopefully there is one) will fix these issues and make blogging on the go a reality for me. However, this is a WordPress issue, and not an ipad one…so no putting the blame on the ipad.

Apart from blogging and social networking, I use the ipad to check and respond to work email quickly. I can also use it to make and mail notes to myself. I have yet to attempt any word processing applications though and I also don’t want to try. Do not want to get into frustrating compatibility issues with iPages and MS Office (what I use for a lot of my work).

The one thing I have yet to try with any seriousness on the ipad is Farmville. Yeah, that game that keeps clogging everyone’s Facebook walls. I have always been curious about it, so it was one of the first things I downloaded. I don’t really get the game, I tried it out and got bored within minutes. However, the snubnose seems to have got the hang of it pretty quickly. I noticed that within a very short span of time, she has grown and harvested corn, strawberries, and apples on her little patch! Impressive, right 🙂

So, in short Apple has one satisfied customer in me. The ipad’s turned out to be a gift for the entire family, and we all take turns (not without a little squabbling) with it. I would heartily recommend the ipad to anyone who asks me for my (admittedly uninformed, purely laywomanesque) opinion.

The only thing I need right now is a good case for the ipad. Until I get one, it’s going to remain securely at home.

So, any of you readers have any experiences to share regarding the ipad? Please share, I would love to know 🙂

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  • I’ve book marked your blog.

  • Thank For good information.

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  • You better act fast, once the Apple Corporation gets enough feedback on the new iPad, this offer will disappear. Once they have an idea of how to improve their product or market their product to increase sales and profits, the free offers will be gone. It would be very wise of you to become a test subject for the new iPad and be the first geek on the block to own one. Once the iPad hit the shelves I’m sure you’ll regret being the one who didn’t get to tell Apple how to improve their new revolutionary device.

  • Hey, nice site you got here! Keep up the good job

  • great post, thanks so much

  • I am a Mac Person and I love all the apple Products. I am very glad that your daughter is enjoying iPad.

    • That’s a creative answer to a difficult question

  • I’m a total Mac nerd. I mean, I don’t know html or anything like that, but I love Mac. I used them as a little kid and bought an iBook when I was still in college. That thing lasted (and still is perfect for word processing) until last year. I bought an iMac in February and have the iphone and an ipod I got for Christmas a few years ago. I love Apple products.

    I always, though, wait for the first generation before buying because generally those kinks get worked out quickly and the price goes down. I want one – they make so much more sense to me than an e-reader. But I’ll wait a while.

    Congrats and enjoy!

  • Nice gift… Its the first time I’m visiting your blog.. Its nice.. you read a lot it seems.. John Grisham, Michael Connelly …. I think i’ll come to know more about novels from your Blog 😀

  • Hi there, anyway, thanks for the info!

  • dmanji

    This was one useful review of iPad …now would like to have one for myself…

  • I’m considering becoming a Mac person when I buy my next computer, so it was actually massively comforting that you found the iPad so easy to use. Hopefully if I do end up making the leap from PC to Mac, I’ll have the same experience.

    • @Jenny: At first, things did feel a little odd, having to learn a new way of doing things.

      But the design is pretty instinctive, and they do seem to have focussed on speed and usability. I am not a power user by any means, but I like being able to do the stuff I do quickly and efficiently.

  • I’m really glad to hear that you are enjoying your iPad AND that your daughter is getting more excited about reading as a result. You know I didn’t choose an iPad, but I have to say that I do love Apple products. They are really elegant and I love the interface… but I’ve been a Mac user for essentially all of my life!

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