Early Observations on the iPad

 Photo Credit: Johan Rooms

A lot of readers and friends have asked how I like the iPad, and whether it can replace a laptop. Here's what I wrote after my experience last weekend:

“I used the iPad with the BT keyboard exclusively during BarCamp Tokyo 2010. BarCamp was an extremely intense, day long (9 am to 9 pm) event with short (typically 15 minute) sessions packed back to back continuously with only short breaks for lunch and dinner.

People had to move from room to room to participate in the sessions they were interested in. With the iPad I was able to shift locations quickly without having to worry about cables, power, or weight. More important, with the keyboard and my ability to touch-type, I found it easy to take notes while keeping my eyes and attention on the discussion/presentation - often participating in the debate without getting distracted by a computer.

The normal laptop is a distraction, and forms a 'wall' between the participants. The iPad is non-obtrusive. And I was able to use it all day without being plugged in, carrying spare batteries, recharging. The instant-on feature made using it a pleasure instead of the frustration I've experienced with WinDoze laptops.

I also used the Camera app for the iPad that allowed me to take photos with my iPhone and have them automatically transferred to the iPad via BlueTooth. That worked well, basically *as advertised* by the app developer, and I was able to capture images during the sessions then create blog posts using them real time. The major drawback is that the iPhone camera currently doesn't allow you to change the image resolution when taking the shot. All the iPhone images are 2 megapixel, which can take a while to transfer using BlueTooth. Of course other iPhone camera apps allow you to take lower resolution shots, but the iPad Camera app doesn't support that feature yet. This would be especially helpful while blogging since blog post images can be just a fraction of a megabyte.”

Do I like the iPad? Well, in the four weeks or so that I've been using it I've only resorted to turning on my laptop about three times. That was to grab some files off it, and in one case to process a large batch of photos and videos.

Of course, your mileage may vary.


One thought on “Early Observations on the iPad

  1. I am a former teacher. Your insight into how the iPad can be used in the classroom is most constructive. Perhaps students who were hesitant to take notes will now enjoy the task.

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