Hands On With iPad

Film, Observatory

I braved the crowds at the Apple store, Regent Street, to fiddle about with a gadget today when I could have been at any one of a dozen or so new cultural events in London. Apart from the fact that the iPad is weirdly slippery and awkward to put on your lap, costs 600 quid and needs a 15 quid a month contract to do something a laptop already does much better, there have also been reports mentioning that it’s much harder to read a novel on than the Kindle’s ‘liquid paper’ (LED) system. And yet…

And yet it’s gorgeous. And this gorgeousity is the real selling point. It’s unquestionably sexy, but all you’re really going to do is sit with it on your lap and noodle around while you watch telly. You might tell yourself you need it for when you’re travelling, but unless you’re an itinerant salesman or George Clooney in ‘Up In The Air’, you really don’t. 3G data roaming is so expensive from abroad that the network warns me to deactivate it whenever I take my iPhone overseas, so I would imagine the best way to use the iPad for travel is to pay as you go.

Interestingly, many purchases in the UK have been by Windows users, who must feel as if they’ve finally been propelled into the 21st century. But to really make it work, you need a Mac to synch it with.

I was hoping to buy one and use it for watching movies, as I get sent quite a few that I’d like to catch up on away from the TV. But I can’t, because of the regional encryption – half of my discs are US or from European countries. The absurdity is that I buy them – I’m allowed to, after all – but I’m not allowed to play them back. And I can’t even look at my own website on it because Apple doesn’t allow Flash (although we’re currently updating the site so that iPad users will be able to see it). Then there’s the issue of the screen ratio that leaves black bars at the top and bottom and the mono sound coming out of one side of the device because you have to turn it around.

So, my decision, for what it’s worth, is to wait for the market to shake out and new designs and upgrades to crack the issues I have. They may not, in which case, this will be the first time I haven’t been an early Mac adopter. I don’t want an expensive gadget that basically operates like playing with your iPhone when you’re waiting for a friend. Other thoughts encouraged here…

6 comments on “Hands On With iPad”

  1. Steve says:

    I’m a very LATE “Mac adopter”. First Mack-ish experience is with the iPhone, and I’ve only had it for a few months now. It’s turned me into a cyborg – as if I’ve grown an i-limb! I don’t see a lot of difference between the iPhone and the iPad – at least, not enough to justify the $800.00 + price tag. I have a Kindle, and I’m happy with it for reading. Of course, who knows what cool stuff they may add to the iPad between now and Christmas?

  2. Mary says:

    These gadgets are really cool. I’m definitely not clever enough to master them, but I’ve treated myself to a new…slightly expensive fountain pen. Never the less, I thank goodness for modern technology, especially in medicine and crime detection.

  3. Cat Eldridge says:

    You don’t need a Mac to sync it as a PC with iTunes serves the same purpose.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    What make of fountain pen, Mary? I’m starting to collect Lamys, I think, because I have three now with different nibs and different ink colours (Private Reserve).

  5. Mike Cane says:

    Bah! But you have a Macbook Air, so…

    Don’t get me started on the DVD region codes. And did you know Apple will only allow you to modify the Mac region code X times to play foreign DVDs, then it will disallow that?

    I still want an iPad. But I also want an Archos 7 Home tablet to play my video — most of which is DiVX/XViD AVI, not damned MP4. And I hope for a webOS tablet later this year too.

  6. Helen Martin says:

    I have some Aquarelle Arches ( 20 sheets of 140lb. 100% cold pressed cotton water colour paper)made by a firm founded in 1492. I’m happy.

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