Apple iPad: Love at First Sight, No Buyer's Remorse

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It's been a bit over three weeks since the iPad launched, and the hype has quieted somewhat. We've all seen the reviews that came out right around launch and we've heard all the arguments both for and against Apple's tablet device.

It's also been exactly three weeks since I bought an iPad and I thought this would be a good time to share my experience with it. This isn't an objective review; this is just me sharing my personal experiences with a new device. Before launch a lot of people wondered what the iPad was for, and this is my answer. This is what the iPad is used for in our house.

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First a quick bit of background information on me. I primarily use Windows 7 (a desktop machine) at home and OS X (on a MacBook Pro) at work. I own a netbook (running Windows 7) that converts into a tablet. My phone is a Motorola Droid. The iPad was my first real experience with Apple's App Store, though I am of course familiar with the Android Market. I've been attracted to the tablet form factor for a while now, but the netbook makes a lousy tablet. It's too thick, too slow, and the screen needs constant calibrating. Just not a pleasant experience.

Now I'm going to confess something to you. When I got caught up in the hype and purchased my iPad, there was a little voice in the back of my head telling me it was a huge mistake; that it'd be something I'd use for a few days and then get tired of. That I was signing up for a heaping helping of Buyer's Remorse.

That little voice was wrong (so far). I use the iPad constantly. In fact, it only took a few days for my girlfriend and I to realize sharing an iPad wasn't going to work, so we're now a two iPad household.

Let's start with the problems I've encountered. My biggest gripe by far is the lack of Flash; it can be a real pain sometimes when surfing the web. What's most frustrating is knowing that Apple doesn't care that its customers are experiencing this frustration and that this particular problem will never be fixed.

Next, if you want to get work done, be warned: the iPad isn't an office tool (in my opinion, I know others feel differently). I do take mine to the office, but mostly to carry my music on, and to use during my lunch hour. Generally speaking, the iPad is a home (and maybe coffee shop) device. It's a bit too big to carry around with me all the time. When it comes to getting work done, I'm firmly in the "a laptop or netbook can do everything the iPad can do, only better" camp. Sure, you can plug the iPad into the Keyboard Dock, buy a Bluetooth keyboard (or apparently use the Camera Connection Kit to connect a USB keyboard) but why would you bother with all that when a laptop performs better for doing tasks that require lots of text entry or multiple windows/programs open?

At a Glance
  • Apple looks set to shake up casual computing with a tablet that offers clever design and ease of use. But that streamlined approach may also be the iPad's weakness.

    Pros

    • Best-in-class touch interface
    • Large display shows pics and videos beautifully
    • All-day battery life

    Cons

    • No way to manage files, no camera, no multitasking
    • Lack of Flash support cripples many Web sites
    • Poor scaling of iPhone apps
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