Saturday, May 01, 2010

my iPad experience: non-techie impressions, apps and work, 3G+Wifi version thoughts (2 of 2)

wow, its been almost a month with my iPad Wifi.  So far I am impressed and in love with it. I've been traveling a bit recently and have found it perfect for such outings.  Today, I'll discuss my thoughts on the highs and lows of the iPad after a month of owning/using and also touch on my new iPad 3G+Wifi.  Keep reading for the full post (warning: long post)

The non-techie impression

I received my iPad on launch April 3, 2010 and have been using it since.  I opted for a 16GB version since I knew the 3G+Wifi was coming later.  The first thing about the iPad is that it is not just a larger/bigger iPhone/iPod Touch.  Interacting with apps built for the iPad is a breeze and if made well work beautifully. Most people fall in love with it the moment they touch it.  I picked up mine just a day before Easter.  At our family Easter gathering, all of my relatives were very eager to see what the iPad was about since they all had heard it in the news (good job Apple on the marketing, 60+ non-techie people knowing its out is pretty good).

However, my demo of the iPad to them was a bit 'stacked' since I had a portable Verizon MiFi (cellular data modem with wifi router, connects iPad to Verizon 3G via Wifi connection).  Without the internet the iPad is not as fun / amazing. Imo, Internet anywhere with an iPad is the killer app.  I can see my aunt and uncle buying a 3G to just use for internet and not have to worry about getting a cable modem and wireless network setup.  Cheers to Apple and AT&T on seeing this.  My parents could get one if they had data signal (they live in the valley-of-no-data-signals/tv/radio).  The Maps app impressed most of the older relatives the most.  Being able to see anywhere or map to any place was pretty amazing to them (and still is to me).  My younger cousins loved the Youtube player and browsing.  At this point I did not have many games on it so did not have many to try except Scrabble (which is fun if your into Scrabble).

So yes, the iPad is a success in both its marketing and delivery.  The Wifi version however does feel like its missing something (its internet!) but if you already have a MiFi or Overdrive (wifi mobile data router) for work or personal use, the Wifi may do.

HOWEVER, the 3G+WiFi version does have two things the WiFi version doesn't; 3G data and A-GPS (assisted gps, faster and more accurate locking of GPS).  Honestly, these two features are worth getting the 3G+WiFi version over just the WiFi only.  Imaging using this in a car on a road trip or just while traveling anywhere?  Which also leads us into Augmented reality applications. These apps can still exist on this device even though it does not have a camera. You have the GPS for coordinates, compass for direction, accelorameter for angle and 3G for data.  :)  give this one time, but imagine a virtual camera app that you hold up and see a high resolution photo of the same exact building/landmark/landscape at the angle your viewing? (hint, build this for me please, hehe)

I warned most of my relatives to wait for the 3G+WiFi version to come out since you could then buy internet for it on a monthly basis (yes, you do have to cancel since it does auto-renew). For most the 16GB version will be enough and the best price point however for the heavier users, I suggested a 32GB and for the media whores like me, well I got the 64GB.

Business / Work Use

This was an area I was very curious in seeing how the iPad could somehow fit in.  I am still struggling to get a good workflow going on the iPad and my work needs (project management, timeline layouts, notes, documentation, time tracking/project tracking, pim) however I am getting close.

Currently I need to keep track of projects I am working on, also keep track of time for such projects and then be able to access them across several different OS and computer/device types (iPad to Nexus One/Android to XP to Win7).  I also wanted to be able to try to replace my paper notebooks i bring to meetings (however this is nearly impossible w/o a good stylus which i have yet to find). Here's some apps I'm using and how I'm using them:

Evernote (free for basic membership, paid for premium)

Cloud based note taking/keeping software.  I've been using as a very basic way to keep track of time and view it on any computer.  Lets you snap notes if device has camera, an app for iPhone, Anroid, otherwise accessible via web browser.

Cube Time and Expense Tracker (free for individual user, paid for organization)

This app has tons of potential and I plan to use it for my next project since it does both calendar and task tracking, you can also assign time spent to tasks and access data via Google account too.  Free for the individual user and early user (may be paid in future).

1Password for iPad (free upgrade for iPhone  Pro users, paid otherwise)

Great password vault app; latest improvements to iPad version make it a very usable password vault.

PaperDesk and Penultimate (both paid apps)

Both are notepad type apps and each are decent.  the inherent problem with notepad/notetaking apps like these is the fact that we are not using a stylus but a finger. If one can find a decent stylus that does not grip the screen too much, these could replace my notepads i take to meetings.  Drop a line in the comments if you know of a good stylus (i've gotten 2 ebay ones and both grip the screen too much to be able to draw).

GoodReader (paid)

Reads most any text document type (pdf,doc,rtf,txt,pics,vids,audio) and can connect to Google Docs and other cloud servers. Ability to upload documents to iPad via iTunes, Wifi or USB.

Good for Enterprise (free, requires company server)

If your company uses Good for connecting mobiles to Exchange/Lotus/Groupwise, you can use the iPhone Good client on your iPad. I am a fan of the Good client for iPhone since it seperates one's work and personal email/contacts/data. You can also remote wipe app and enable password policies). Expect an iPad version within the next release cycle (prob in May).

So there you have it, my quick list of decent productivity apps.  I don't use my iPad as a word processing device and in turn have not really purchased any Pages type apps.

Final Thoughts

Am I happy with my iPad purchases? Sure am.  64GB is the ideal size for any traveler that does not opt for the 3G version.  16GB may be fine for those looking to just get online with the 3G version.

Any complaints?  Of course, nothings perfect. I wish there was more control over brightness settings; you can't even dim anywhere near the level you can in iBooks.  3G speeds are not that speedy, my nexus one on tmobile kills the iPad on AT&T at my apt.  We'll see when i get out on the road who wins though (T-Mobile has a strong footprint in minneapolis area).  Wish there were dock/widgets like on Android / SenseUI; miss those instant controls to wifi/bt/brightness/sync.

Whats next? Jailbreaking of course! Its been done and we'll prob start seeing more applications and a public release as OS 4 gets closer (fall i believe for us iPad users, iPhone/iPod get it this summer i believe).

Hopefully that didn't put you to sleep, coming up next week.  Nexus One with Desire Rom; thoughts and tips. :)