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The iPad Experience

There has been so many posts on discussing the various aspects of the iPad interjection in our lives. Many such observations have been made in the comfort of information available on the net or hearsay.

There is no doubt that the slate based computing is here to stay and redefine how we do things. But a lot rides on what our expectations are from a personal computing device and how we intend to use it. If all we need to surf the net, play solitaire, read books, probably any device could do it. But why do we need to have a slate based device.

Last night, I had the opportunity to see and play on this device at a friend’s place. Must say, I was very impressed and can agree with the awe factor associated with it.. Ok here goes my two cents on the Ipad

The Plus factors

  • Form factor is superb and amazing. So thin and sleek.
  • Display and font readability. The bright display really stands out and the readability of the Lucida font is the hallmark of all Apple products.
  • Navigation is very easy although some basic learning is required.
  • Connectivity to 3G and wifi was seamless
  • Sound and speaker were delectable just like the iPods.
  • Some interesting Apps; The talkback cat was great, the newpaper app was equally good. BubbleBreaker has an interesting change. Gmaps interface was radically different though the pan motion was amazingly fluid. The Bloomberg Stock App was delicious.
  • The screen tilting orientation was very sweet as well

The Minus factors

  • The sleek factor is also its nemesis as well. One fall and you can kiss your 500 dollars goodbye.
  • Single button. I never understand why Jobs insists everything in the world should be done with just one finger! The single button, is the center of the ipad universe. Figuring out how to use it for many purposes, will require some learning. However, it would be worrisome, to many, who are used to seeing familiar interfaces.
  • Videos were good but lacks the HD capability. Simple thing like playback of recorded/downloaded HD content is a no-no without any conversion.
  • Flash is also on the prohibited list.
  • Downloads only from the app store and nothing else. Downloading files or even from email attachments is not permitted. you can only view them but not save them.
  • Extensibility is in short supply.The standard apple connector is the only way in. Moreover, even with that you can only do limited things  dictated by the iTunes. This means, no uploading files and apps that you may need, but iTunes does not like.
  • 3G but no webcam! Strange but true..

In a nutshell, hats off to Steve Jobs for creating a wonderful slate device which succeeds in stimulating the conventional computing paradigm. But its usefulness will well be defined by how average you are and how easy you find Apple’s marketing pitches.There are thousands of apps but what do you really want it to do? You could have a fancy dice roller, or you could also have a language translator. What I do find seriously short is that, why isn’t there a Transcriber app that lets you write in freehand for taking notes. Also, something like a Dragon app, by which you can dictate to the device and it will create the text.It could be useful for graphic processing type uses like image processing or videos.

But the thing that really irks me, is at a very conceptual level. The whole Apple’s Secret Garden thinktank, that they know better than what you want and what you should be doing with a device that you bought with your money, is in a sense like the Truman Show movie. It may be a perfect world as per Jobs, but real life and freedom have different meanings. You may have factored in a million considerations, but why do you not let the customer decide on his freedoms. This debate will live on endlesslessly.

For me, I will continue to wait for a tablet like device, feature richness and dollops of usability. Besides, being a firm believer in cloud computing and a very active user of Google products, I would be more inclined to open systems like Android. Perhaps the Adam can bring that change. Only time will tell.

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