Five Years Too Late

April 4, 2010

iPad Early Review and Reactions

Filed under: Uncategorized — fiveyearstoolate @ 9:27 am

I didn’t preorder an iPad, nor did I line at 6:00 AM at the Apple Store to get one, but as it turns out, Apple knew a lot of people were going to want them and the stores were well-stocked. At 4:00 yesterday afternoon I walked into the Upper West Side Apple Store and picked up a first-generation 16Gb Apple iPad.

When the device was first announced I (like many) had an initially underwhelmed reaction. “It’s a big iPod Touch”, I thought. “I already have a Macbook Pro, an iPhone and a Kindle – why do I need this?”

I woke up about two days later and realized that this was the wrong question. First of all, NEED is rarely the right frame for a new gadget anyway. But aside from that, what I realized is that the iPad would do most of the non-telephone things my iPhone did (web, video, games, ineracting with data via native apps) but better. And now that I have one, that’s my early observation. It is, in fact, basically a giant iPod Touch. And that’s pretty awesome.

A few initial observations and things that seem likely to be either big deals or medium deals to new iPad owners:

  1. Apps are more expensive. I think developers realized that getting trapped in a consumer expectation that apps cost $0.99 is avoidable. Most of the apps are $5. Many are $10 or even $15. And yet the nature of the iPad is such that I suspect people are going to pay, because one’s ability to interact with some of these apps might have felt trivial on a phone but not here. A good example is MLB At Bat, which is $15. As a big fan of a non-local team (SF Giants), this app is like Gamecast on Steroids, plus I can actually watch the games streamed. That’s a big deal to me and easily worth $15. Lots of other apps will engender similar anlyses.
  2. You will need a film and a case for this. It’s a magnet for smudged fingerprints and the form factor is (as originally criticized by early commentators) awkward enough that you might drop it at some point.
  3. Netflix for the iPad (and video in general) is a big deal. As someone who, ahem, rarely tries to open a macbook pro in a coach airline seat, the notion of video on the iPad is highly significant. Netflix on demand is compelling.
  4. I’m still not convinced this is serious tool for work. Apple is trying to push their office productivity apps, but even with a keyboard and a stand color me somewhat skeptical that this emerges as a real use case. As a side note, however, it’s really something to see word, spreadsheet and presentation apps being sold for $10 given what Microsoft continues to charge for desktop versions of Office.
  5. And a question mark – the iPhone-using world is crazy for location-based services right now. I’m fascinated to see how (and if) this translates to the early iPad user community. My instinct is that apps that are more about single-purpose actions (like checking in) will continue to exist more on the mobile devices, whereas apps that encourage more interaction with data or other users (games, conversations) will migrate rapidly to the iPad.

My early conclusion is that this is a really cool device. I’m going to love watching video on it, playing the occasional game, browsing the web and interacting with data in much the same way I do on my iPhone but better. And, having said that, I strongly suspect that a subsequent post 45 or 60 days in will go on to describe all the things I’m doing with this device that I hadn’t thought of the day after I bought it.


  1. It may well end up being a huge hit but after playing with it last night, i wonder if because of it’s form factor and the limits of the iPhone OS it’s not too much of a compromise. I found it harder to use to read in bed with or do email on the couch with it than I had expected. It’s too heavy to read with the way I can with a kindle and without something to prop up it up to an angle, it’s lying on it’s back which provides for a steep angle of attack when you are trying to see or use the screen.

    The lack of elegant cross app integration or multitasking the way you get with a full OS (mac or windows) was tolerable in the iPhone because the limits of space on the screen mean that the ui is going to have to have limits. But when space is not a constraint, the limits of the OS become very apparent and annoying, especially for a user who is used to and comfortable with the real thing. I’ll be interested to see where I end up using this iPad instead of other options. Btw, I wrote this on the iPad. Took way longer than it would take on a full OS.

    Comment by Elie — April 4, 2010 @ 9:58 am

    • Elie – I haven’t tried to use the iPad in bed yet, so I can’t comment on that. And interestingly enough, I gave up the ghost on this being *primarily* an e-reader for me almost immediately (I already own a Kindle). So it may be that we’re envisioning different use cases. I think the iPad is primarily an internet media consumption device – and for me, that means video and other rich media, browsing the web (almost assuredly with some kind of propped-up stand like the Quirky Cloak), playing games and interacting with data services (e.g. facebook, tumblr, twitter) that aren’t primarily driven by typing. I could be totally wrong – because part of what’s so interesting to me about this device is that the form factor is so different and so initially awkward. But I often wind up back at the early TV shows that were just radio programs with a camera. I think the first-generation stuff that’s ported from the web (or the iPhone) will ultimately give way to applications and UI modalities that are, ultimately, more “native” to this format.

      Comment by fiveyearstoolate — April 4, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  2. I completely agree!! My initial reaction was also that it was simply a giant iPod touch… But after actually using the iPad then buying one, I have to admit that I am thoroughly impressed!

    Comment by Fred — April 4, 2010 @ 9:59 am

  3. Ok I use a palm pre. Never used an iPhone much but was always bashed on not having one. I bought the iPad and I have ton say it’s the worst pos ever. After using webOs I’m spoiled. I can’t do those one app at a time thing. Plus 20 dollar appsnfor stuffnthatnshould be built in. This is going back to apple with a big stfu to Steve from me. It’s like selling somebody a pc and then theynfind out a mouse isn’t included and is 100 dollars more. This is allnshiny and total junk. It’s evil to say the least.

    Comment by Jason — April 4, 2010 @ 11:19 am

    • Jason – not sure if you’re looking for a response, but all I can say is what my Dad would have said … that’s what makes a ballgame. Glad you’re happy with the Pre, but most people I know were disappointed with it, and the market response is generally in that direction.

      Comment by fiveyearstoolate — April 4, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  4. you cant use flash on apple anymore so what use is it browsing and game/video site? none at all.

    failure imo

    Comment by mac hater — June 12, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

  5. Good writing. I think if Steve’s reading your article, possible, he’ll come back thinking to make ipad as a future computer.

    Comment by link2mobile — June 15, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  6. yeah, ipad gives cool and super experience. i still remember clearly how excited and amazed i was the day i used my ipad for the first time. 😉

    Comment by Polly Hendary — May 10, 2011 @ 3:59 am

  7. great post. I enjoyed your writing style.

    Comment by iPad 2 cases and covers — June 15, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  8. Great post 🙂 Actually I think that the iPad is the future notebook!

    Comment by iPad prices — June 21, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    • Even iPad is a great gadget, it still can’t beat notebook performance. But who knows, lets see what Apple next project 😀

      Comment by ipad cases with keyboard — June 27, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  9. I know that iPad is great gadget but I’m seeing it as “all in one, what I need, don’t need, etc.”. I don’t like devices that can do “everything”, e.g. cell phone – nowadays is very hard to find one to make actual calls! We can do everything on them but when I’m trying to call somebody – battery is dead or sth. I think same is with iPad.

    Comment by Carl — August 18, 2011 @ 7:58 am

  10. I read all my ebook on my Kindle 3G d00901 My ipad is more for gaming and entertainment.

    Comment by d00901 — September 26, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  11. You could definitely see your skills in the work you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers like
    you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

    Comment by More hints — June 23, 2013 @ 12:09 am

  12. Very descriptive article, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

    Comment by cara cheat — September 20, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

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