The last few days have been exhilarating for all of us new iPad owners. Apple has unleashed a new device on the world that is no less paradigm shifting than the original Mac was 25 years ago. There are more positive reviews of the device than you can swing a dead cat at. If I were to read just two, I would make them Jason’s and Andy’s.
I’m not going to do a thorough review. Instead, I plan on sharing just a few observations and then returning in a month to write about how the iPad fits into my life.*
I suspected it before. Now that I’ve used one a few days, I’m convinced. I’ve written before about my experience with tablet computers. Apple finally got it right. Others will catch on. The answer is not trying to bolt a mouse based operating system on a tablet. You have to start from scratch.
I’m already getting real work done on the iPad. I wrote a brief today (and this post) using Pages and a bluetooth keyboard. I see myself in the not so distant future without a laptop. I won’t be alone.
The iPhone App Myth
While Apple certainly gets marketing traction saying how many apps will run on the iPad, you will want to get iPad native apps whenever possible. The iPhone apps look remarkably Atari 800 on the iPad. I’ve only kept those few that I can’t live without (SimpleNote and OmniFocus). While you are waiting for your favorite apps to get an iPad makeover, don’t forget about Safari. Mint and Dropbox, for example, work just fine in Safari and both experiences are better than a pixelated iPhone application.
My most surprising observation of the iPad is how transparent it is. As transformative and revolutionary as this technology is, it gets out of the way extraordinarily fast. Flipping through RSS feeds, catching up on Instapaper (my own personal iPad killer app), or tweaking a Keynote presentation are so seamless that you forget about the iPad entirely. This isn’t just true for nerds like me. This was proven by my Mother.
My 80-year-old mother is amazing. She grew up in a small factory town in Massachusetts where they often caught dinner in a lake behind the house. During her lifetime she has seen the world go from buggy whips to the moon and from the radio to the internet. Nothing fazes her. I handed her my iPad and she started flipping through the pages of Winnie the Pooh. Even though she has never showed any interest in computers, she became absorbed with the content and forgot she was using something electronic. Then, as she was turning the page, she did something very natural. She licked her finger and turned the page. I grinned. This technology is so natural that you forget it exists. That is why the iPad is going to change everything.
- There may also be a Mac Power Users episode very soon where Katie and I address the iPad in detail.