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Brandon Rubenstein

This is one of the best, most comprehensive, and realistic evaluations of the iPad in real-time use that I have seen. Thanks, Cole!

Any suggestions for posts that highlight the iPad's benefits in the classroom or for teachers? Once I see that, I can convince all necessary parties that buying one is necessary!

Joe Fahs

Hi Cole,

Thanks for the great review of your one-month iPad experience at work, home, and wherever else you have been. I have used my iPad for about two-weeks but nearly as intensively. Although I will be posting my reactions in the near future, in brief my experience has been similar to yours in several ways. IMO the lack of integrative note-taking is lacking, especially when reading ebooks, PDF's, and resources online.

I regularly use Dropbox with my iPod touch to read PDF's that I dump into an "ebooks" folder and have extended that feature with GoodReader on the iPad. To my pleasant surprise PPTs and Keynotes in my Dropbox presentation folder open into Keynote for iPad using the Dropbox app, thus bypassing USB cabling and iTunes synchronization.

Thanks again for your insight.

Joe Fahs

Robert Massung

Head on over to docs.com and start waiting :)

Derek Morr

I've not had as positive an experience with the iPad as you. Reading it outdoors, near windows or under skylights, is an exercise in frustration -- the glare makes the device completely unusable except as a mirror. See, for example, this picture of the iPad at my bus stop - http://hphotos-sjc1.fbcdn.net/hs276.snc3/27950_10100311381620624_9313765_69262423_3726330_n.jpg. I've also tried the device on less sunny days; the results were just as terrible. I've had serious issues with 802.11; the device can't associate with some APs, with others it won't get a DHCP lease, and with others it frequently drops the connection. This has happened at multiple locations. Allegedly, Apple is working on an update to fix the issue, but I'm not holding my breath (for nearly $1000, I expect something as simple as 802.11 to work).

The software isn't much better. Many of the apps crash frequently (several times a day). Safari is big culprit here. It reminds me of the app instability problems on iPhoneOS 1.0. Safari seems unable to cache content for more than a few seconds -- it's constantly reloading pages when I switch between tabs. Coupled with the frequent 802.11 drop-outs, this is an extremely slow and frustrating experience. The inability to open tabs in the background seemed like a minor annoyance at first, but has become a serious irritation. I'm constantly having my thought process interrupted by the obnoxious tab switch UI effects in Safari. Why can't I just tap-and-hold on a link, and select an option from the pop-up menu to open a link in the background?

I have to disagree about Mail. It's terrible. Just unspeakably awful. You can't turn off HTML email. It's incompatible with automated message filtering. The app doesn't support running filters on the client. Filtering on the server isn't any better experience since Mail only checks your Inbox for changes (if messages are moved to other folders, you have to manually check each of them). These are all easy, easy problems to fix, and it's inexcusable that Apple hasn't addressed them yet.

The device is much slower than I expected. Apps take between 10 - 15 seconds to load. This doesn't sound like much, but coupled with the single-tasking nature of the OS, it is. For example, if I'm polling my RSS feeds, I have to sit and stare at the app as it downloads the XML. I can't just fire up the app and switch back to something else while it downloads in the background. Or, if I'm reading an ebook and go look up something in Wikipedia, there's a significant delay switching back to the ebook reader app (why can't the device just leave the process in memory, suspended?)

I'll not comment on the klunky nature of many third-party apps, except to say that many need major work (the NPR and USA Today apps are just awful).

All of this is a shame. The device has a nice form factor, and is nicer than a laptop for passively consuming certain types of content. It's nice to watch a video podcast in a dark room, for example. But I can't justify the cost given the very, very, rough nature of the platform.

Cole Camplese

Hi Derek ... admittedly we are using the device in different ways -- I have not sat out under the bright sun or by a window reading. I have sat under our umbrella outside reading and it has been fine. I am also surprised that apps take that long to load for you ... the only app I find a little frustrating at times in NetNewsWire as it does seem to take a bit of time to load all of my subscriptions -- and I have a lot of them (probably too many as I have a ton I no longer read).

I do love the mail app as it fits the way I do email -- on the iPad it is mostly triage. I always feel like I am fighting through the barrage of "emergencies" that fill up my inbox. I don't do a lot of client side filtering so that isn't a problem for me.

I have on occasion had some wifi issues, but they aren't anymore annoying than the ones I have with my MBP. At times it says I am connected, but can't get out. Turning wifi on and off has fixed it for me. This happens maybe once a week or so. At any rate, I appreciate your comments and can tell that it isn't ready for you.

I am still very much enjoying spending time with it and continue to discover things while using it. BTW, that picture is actually very cool

Derek Morr

I don't think we are using it that differently. I've been using ET's iPad for about two weeks, and I've used it in the same situations that I use my laptop, netbook, Kindle, and smartphones - sitting at my kitchen table, on my (covered) back porch, in my living room in an easy chair (by a window), at the bus stop, on the bus, and so forth. I've used it to browse the web, watch video, read the news, read books, play a few games, and do email. I haven't gone out of my way to find situations that would cast the iPad in a poor light (pun not intended).

I don't want to hate on the device, but it falls short of many of my expectations. Unlike my Kindle, I've never lost myself in a book on the iPad. The device is always "in my face" (typically because I constantly see my face in its screen). I don't find the UI that intuitive (an experience shared by others - http://www.useit.com/alertbox/ipad.html). The non-extensibility of the apps is frustrating (especially compared to the Android device I'm using. For example, if I install a twitter app, many other apps instantly gain a "share via twitter" option. That doesn't happen on the iPad/iPhone platform). With work, the software issues could be fixed, but I'm not too optimistic given Apple heavy handed history with their mobile platform.

I'm also reluctant to throw money at Apple given their App Store policies, which I've discussed before. I fail to understand the rationale behind most of their policies (e.g. a Nancy Pelosi bobblehead app is banned because it's too political, but _Going Rogue_, _Game Change_, and _The Audacity to Win_ are allowed in the iBook Store?!)

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