This is an amazing little device, and I thought it might be beneficial to share my experience with my friends. After my mother-in-law bought one, Angela and I finally had the chance to play around with it and realize that it actually could be useful, both for entertainment as well as business purposes. My biggest fear was that it would be an expensive toy that we would only use for a couple of months, and then it would sit on its charger unless we wanted to play Solitaire or something. So far we have been able to integrate it so completely with our lives that I now want one for myself!
I have found a few things to complain about (not in any particular order), but please do not let this detract from the usefulness of the product!:
- Inability to install extra fonts – at first I thought I just didn’t know how to do it yet, as the IOS interface is not yet intuitive to me. To my shock, there simply is not a way to install additional fonts on the device, at least not without hacking into it (assuming this is possible).
- No flash support (This may be coming in the soon to be released IOS 4.2 update. Again, I make no claims to be an expert with the IOS platform (iPOD, iPhone, iTouch, etc.)
- Still awaiting the long-anticipated (at least for those people who have had their iPads for a while) upgrade to IOS 4. This is supposed to come out this month for the iPad, even though IOS 4 has been available for a while now for the iPhone, iTouch, etc. This is supposed to give you multi-tasking and have many other improvements, I’ll have to revisit this post once I know for certain whether it resolves any of the bulleted items or not.
- The apps can be very expensive (iWorks is misleading, it appears to be included, based on the commercials and videos but costs an extra $30 – $10.00 for each of the three iWorks applications)
- Mail (even when using Mobileme) doesn’t truly sync unless you are using IMAP. The Mobileme service at first glance syncs e-mail, but in reality it only syncs your e-mail configuration information from Outlook and not the actual messages.
- No true multi-tasking (although most people probably wouldn’t notice this)… should be resolved in the upcoming software upgrade.
- No hardware GPS – although the cellular solution seems extremely accurate so far… the Zillow app is very useful while driving (assuming you are just a passenger, of course) to judge the approximate home value of the houses you are driving past… in real time.
- No ability to repeat a slideshow in Keynote. We had to hack together a solution using exported powerpoint slides to JPG and then use the Picture slideshow so that Angela could use this at her booth at a recent business event. This missing feature seems so basic, I am baffled that it wasn’t included originally.
- CUMBERSOME 5 step process to transfer documents (Keynote, etc.) using iTunes (1. open iTunes on the computer, 2. attach document in iTunes on the computer, 3. sync iPad, 4. open Keynote on the iPad, 5. Import document from iTunes – plus a clunky document conversion each time to get it back and forth between Keynote and Powerpoint. Maybe this works better for people who have a MAC?
- No easy way to sort photos in “Photos” app without manually manipulating picture data. To get the previously mentioned slideshow to work, we actually had to alter the dates of the pictures in the slideshow so that they would appear in the correct order.
- You really need to charge it from a wall outlet due to the extra power requirements compared to an iPod, iPhone, iTouch, the computer cable is strictly for synching (however it does trickle charge VERY slowly) while connected to the computer, but it would take at least 24 hours to charge from what I have seen.
With that said, please keep in mind that my “real” job is to find the flaws in solutions and determine work-arounds or fixes for them, so my emphasis on the negative should in no way detract from the usefulness of the product. Also, I do believe these devices are overpriced, supposedly due to the advanced technology in the screen itself, but as long as it ends up actually being used as the tool it was meant to be, and not some toy sitting on a shelf, the cost can be justified. Please do not waste your time looking for a bargain, or fall for any scam e-mails on the internet. The price is the same everywhere you go, however, depending on where you work, you might be eligible for a corporate discount (check with your employer and/or the Apple store).
The data plan is surprisingly simple… if you get your WiFi set up properly at home, most people can get away with the $15.00 a month, 200 Meg plan, rather than the $25.00, 2 Gig plan (the plans mirror the regular AT&T data plans for smart phones). The beauty of the plan is that it does NOT tie to your cell phone bill, it is independent and requires no contract. In addition, when you use up your alloted minutes, it just shuts off so that you don’t go over, and you have the option to purchase another $15.00 plan at that time, or wait until your monthly cycle rolls around and it will recharge itself automatically, and you do not have to sign up for a data plan right away, you can activate it at any time (assuming you bought one of the 3G versions, of course).
For entertainment value, I’ve included the Visio diagram of how I have this configured for Angela’s business, which I created a few weeks ago sort of as a joke… however the information in the diagram is accurate.
If you do decide to purchase an iPad, enjoy it, and I hope that it increases your productivity, giving you more time to focus on the most important things in life, which of course is your family and friends and making memories together!