Yup I’m finally getting round to doing an iPad review, its actually come to that. I’m going to have to admit right from the get-go, I love the iPad. And yes, one day it will replace your laptop to be your main computer with your smart-phone being your pocketable device. Get used to it.
I say ‘one day’ because let me tell you something, as an iPad owner I can confirm that that day is not quite here. For someone like my Mum however, who has never owned a computer apart from her iPad, it is an ideal device as it’s simple and easy to use. It allows her to do things like email, catch up on TV using the iPlayer and surf the web to buy copious amounts of crap from online retailers with little to no fuss. But the very things that allow it to be the ideal computer for someone who has never used a conventional PC before are the very things that hold it back. It’s too simple.
You will often feel like the device is treating you like a child by either limiting or removing simple functions. Things like manually adding photos to ‘Photo Stream’, acquiring songs from sources other than iTunes and things like playing a YouTube video in one tab whilst looking at another tab in Safari just can’t be done without knowing the workarounds. These are things that if you’re used to either OS X or Windows you will feel extremely restrained and confined if you are planning on having this as your main machine.
However, and it’s a pretty full-on however, if you’re planning on having this as an addition to your main machine then you will absolutely not be disappointed. The main advantage of the iPad is that it is infinitely more portable than any laptop, and indeed any desktop. Even compared to my MacBook Pro (which for a laptop is pretty svelte) it feels so much lighter in the hand and can easily be slipped into a bag and forgotten about. Ever carried around a laptop? I have an arm strap on my bag and it isn’t quite in the same health as it was before I carried my laptop around in it.
The software is also quite nice. I honestly prefer editing photos on the iPad version of ‘iPhoto’ over its Mac counterpart (though when Photo Stream doesn’t want to play nice, I have no way of manually adding my photos like I would on the Mac, as mentioned previously) due to just being able to brush in enhancements with a few gentle swipes of my finger. Looking at photos and playing movies is by far and away better on the iPad than it is on any laptop. Email is also at its best when using the iPad, being able to flick through your messages, delete them with a swipe and quickly reply using the pop-up keyboard is an absolute breeze. Then there’s the killer app: Safari. On my Mac Safari feels like a well rounded web browser, but on the iPad it honestly feels like you are holding and flicking through the entire internet. Once you’ve used Safari for the iPad you really do see the whole point and purpose of these tablet devices.
As well as being able to read articles and ebooks on its gorgeous screen, when presented in the landscape orientation the virtual keyboard is incredibly easy to type away on, being nearly the same size as my Macs keyboard. The virtual keyboard is fast and responsive and great for writing quick articles or making edits, perfect for any budding young blogger. The auto-correct is sorely missed when going back on the Mac, largely because you never need to worry about manually adding in an apostrophe again. With that said you certainly wouldn’t want to write your 7,000 word dissertation on it, everything has its limit.
There’s also the wealth of Apps available from the App Store. Be honest, how many third-party apps do you own for the desktop? I can’t remember the last time I downloaded one for my Mac but with the iPad I’m constantly downloading new apps and seeing how they can improve my computing experience.
I haven’t even begun to dig deep into the wealth of content that the iPad provides but to be honest, there’s nothing I can add that you won’t have heard before. The iPad is far from replacing your main PC but as each new version of iOS brings new features that increase its functionality, that day is getting closer and closer. Plus it’s damn shiny!
Next time I’m going to talk about whether this and the iPhone are true gaming machines and whether they can take on the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. See you then.