I finally got my hands on everyone’s latest religious experience.
I’ll be road-testing it over the next few days. So let’s start right in, shall we?
Here’s the first truth about the iPad:
It’s too heavy.
Seriously. It is. Just admit it.
Yes, I know, it’s heavy because of that amazing battery that lasts 10X as long as the godawful battery in my iPhone.
And I’m in awe of that battery. I really am. But the iPad’s too heavy.
And here’s another truth: Typing isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
It’s bad when the iPad is out of its sheath, because then the iPad wobbles. It’s also bad when the iPad is in its sheath but the little stand-thing isn’t set up–because it wobbles even more. But when the little stand thing on the sheath is actually set up, tilting the screen a few degrees toward you, it’s actually surprisingly easy to type on.
True, the decision to put the apostrophe on the second screen of keys was ridiculous. But other than that I can see getting used to typing pretty quickly.
That stand that tilts the iPad toward you is an unexpected positive surprise. That was one thing I was having conceptual trouble with–the idea that, to read it, I had to hold it or lean over it. It seemed to be a step backwards from a laptop, which has a built-in screen stand. Compared to a big screen on a desk, or compared to the mobility of the iPhone, it still is a step back. But it’s better than having it flat on the table on the far side of your plate.
And another: The fingerprints all over the screen are pretty gross. I know that’s not Apple’s fault, and I know there’s nothing to be done about it. But when I was handed the iPad, it had been fondled by everyone in the newsroom, and, well, it looked like it had been fondled by everyone in the newsroom. So much so that I didn’t want to just polish it up on my pants, the way I do with the iPhone.
And another: The thing really is slick. Way slick. Uber-slick. I have a MacBook, and I have an iPhone, so I don’t know that I’ll want to use it much, but I can understand why Walt Mossberg slobbered his way through his entire review.
Alas, in the time it has taken me to write this, someone else in the newsroom has run off with the iPad, so that’s all for now.
OK. I just got it back. And I tried an app–the GQ app. The GQ app is horrible. I realise that magazines are just desperate to have the iPad save their butts, but is this really the best they can do? Clip on the app and you get the cover of the magazine. There are lots of interesting-sounding headlines on that cover. Click one… and what guess what happens? The cover zooms in to make the headline bigger. But I can already read the headline (that’s why I clicked on it). I don’t need the headline to be made bigger. What I need it to do is take me to the story. But of course GQ doesn’t want me to go to the story (I now see.) It wants me to click through the pages one by one, as I might with a paper magazine. Well, screw that. I already read about how John Edwards jumped his mistress the moment he saw her. I don’t need to click through dozens of pages of ads to read about that again.
I tried the WSJ app next. It blew, too. Specifically, it showed me pretty pictures of the paper, organised by date. I don’t particularly care about reading newspapers organised by date (I’d rather just read articles), but if that’s the way the WSJ people want me to think about it, fine. I tried to read one of the papers. All I got was a pop-up screen telling me to subscribe. Screw that.
I tried the Kindle app. Someone had loaded it up with War And Peace. That looked cool. I’ve always wanted to have read War And Peace. I read a page or two. But there were no page numbers. I really wanted page numbers. I flicked through a few pages and didn’t get that cool page-turning effect that all the reviewers creamed over (that’s the iBooks app, I guess). Still, it was readable. Which was cool. Now if only there were some way to just transfer the War And Peace file to me, so I could have read it without actually having to read it.
I tried the New York Times app. It had a different problem than the GQ and WSJ apps. Unlike those apps, it opened to real content, which appeared to be clickable. But the content was old–at least several hours old. Tiger Woods is not “beginning” a busy day at Augusta with a quiet practice round. He’s done. He just finished his press conference. So why is the New York Times app giving me stale content? Next…
The other apps look nice. Big versions of iPhone apps. They’ll make my iPhone seem small. Otherwise, they’re just the same, except bigger. I pressed the “where am I?” button and, bam, a nice huge map with a little icon showing me right where I am supposed to be.
The browser… oh, man, does Business Insider look great on the browser! This is why those big media companies really are hallucinating about how iPad apps are going to save their asses. Who wants an app when the browser works this well? I certainly don’t.
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