iPad First Impressions

I was on the fence about the iPad when it was announced.  I wasn’t sure I wanted one, but I knew I sure wasn’t going to get one on day one.  I wanted to see one first.  And I was pretty sure that if I ended up wanting one I was going to want the 3G version (which meant waiting a few weeks anyhow).

About a week after they hit the stores I still hadn’t even seen or touched one.  I happened to be in my CIO’s office talking about other stuff.  When our meeting was done I asked if he knew anyone who had one.  Long conversation short: he told me to buy one to "evaluate" for our campus.  I didn’t argue very much!

My iPad arrived 2 days ago.  It is everything you have read about, both good and bad.  Its interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use.  If you don’t jailbreak it, you’re stuck with whatever Big Brother Jobs says you can load onto it.

So how am I going to use this thing?  I’m still trying to figure that out.  For an Administrator–someone who is in meetings a lot–this thing will be very popular.  Put it in a simple, leather case like the one I bought and in a small, light form factor you have everything the average executive needs.  But I’m not an administrator and I don’t attend many meetings.

Me at work: the iPad will be useful to me as I am out and about on campus fixing things.  I can use it to make "live" updates to our tracking system (instead of forgetting to do so when I get back to my office which is what frequently happens now).  It will also be useful in maintaining my inventory database, which process currently involves a clipboard.  And, of course, the inevitable PR duties of an early adopter: showing the thing off to people so they can contemplate it’s place in their pedagogical and/or recreational existence.

Me at home: 90% of that for which I use a computer at home can be classified as "consumption".  I’m on the web, or I’m reading e-mail.  Or watching videos.  It’s seems ridiculous to say so, but when you’re all stretched out on a La-Z-Boy, a laptop is unwieldy for these purposes!  The iPad is perfect for Casual Consumption of information. 
I bought a case for my iPad.  (Marware’s Eco-Vue) Unlike my iPhone, I can’t slide this thing into my pocket when I’m carrying it around.  The case is nice for some kinds of use.  It doubles as a stand for typing and for viewing.  But I’ve found that it’s a bit clumsy once you’ve gotten comfy and want to, er, "consume".

I have scads of apps for my iPhone. I was initially disappointed at how many of them have not been ports to the iPad. But the more I thought about it, I realized that most of them have no place on the iPad. They make sense on the iPhone, but not so much on the iPad. This applies especially to those apps that were designed as replacements for web-based functionality that would be clunky on an iPhone despite it’s full browsers capabilities.

It will take me some time to properly integrate this device into my workflow.  I plan on trying to get through a day or two using ONLY the iPad just to see how feasible it is.  That said, my initial impression is that the iPad can’t be any IT professional’s ONLY computing device.

Lastly I need to comment on the "keyboard".  I typed this entire post using the landscape mode keyboard on the iPad.  I know there are pepos who can’t stand the thought of typing and not feeling a button get pressed with every keystroke.  I apparently am not one of them.  It took a few minutes to get used to, but when "special" characters aren’t involved, i do not exaggerate when I say that I can type just as fast on the iPad as i can with a "real" keyboard.

That’s all for now.  Real work beckons! 

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