Sunday 2 May 2010

iPad - Review by @comedyfish

I had a BBQ on Saturday, as the delicious smell of sausages wandered in from the garden and I handed my first guest a beer, he glanced over to my cabinet and noticed the music playing through my iPad.. ‘so.. can I have a go???’ He asked smiling…..

I guess one of the biggest questions in relation to the iPad – why do you need it?  A question my wife was very quick to ask me . The simple answer is of course you don’t. You want it.

But why do you want it? What is Apple’s secret? I’m not a fanboy by any stretch, never owned a Mac, only ever owned an iPod or iPhone but as soon as I saw the iPad I knew I wanted it… just didn’t really know why!

Another common question I get asked when people find out I have one (by e.g. me telling everyone) is “Isn’t it just a big iTouch?” and essentially yes it is.

I will admit when I switch my computer on it normally is to do one of three things, surf the net, tweet or download and watch US TV shows. My PC is shit, it really is. It takes a long time to boot up and after it’s done that there are about 14 menus to close down of drivers it cant find etc. Having an iPhone/iTouch means that instantaneously you can wake it up and be surfing or Tweeting within 3 seconds.

And this for me is one of the key reasons why I love the iPad. Precisely because (like people say) it works just like an iTouch but it’s bigger. It looks lovely; it is fast and very very convenient for doing simple things on.

Its for surfing, its for Tweeting, its for playing games, Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t really want to write a 24 minute sitcom episode on it but then it’s not for that…yet. Who knows what apps are out there waiting for us. When the iPad App store opens it will drive this thing just like the iPhone App Store drove the phone. You’ve possibly already seen programmes and videos of the eBooks, the eComics the films etc on it.

At the minute I only have my UK iPhone apps on it, they are zoomed in so they lose a bit of resolution but its really not that bad at all.

Here is a snap shot of angry birds.

I also love the way I can use my Sky Sports App on it, here is a screen cap of that:

I don’t have Freeview upstairs in my house – I use TV Catchup – here is a screen cap of that.

It simply looks beautifully, and the way it handles.. wow, things sliding this way and that, expanding this etc I feel like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

iRonically (perhaps) the one thing I do least on it is listen to music. The music menu is very different to the iPhone, you don’t scroll through artwork (unless I have missed how to do that) its all menus, its easy to use don’t get me wrong but a bit less visually satisfying.

The screen seems massive, as I have mentioned, I watch football and TV on it sometimes, it’s like a mini version of my flat screen. It totally does the job for me in that respect. Essentially it is like a mini flat screen TV, which means there is no real way to prop this up but I have never found this to be a problem. It’s not like your typing masses on it, your flicking things, using fingers to expand etc… how often do you use two hands on your iPhone or iTouch? Anyway you can buy cases for it that flip over and can be used as a stand.

The speaker in it doesn’t really have a lot of umph – but it sounds great through headphones, I can’t compare this to the iTouch as I don’t have one but in that respect it is pretty similar to the iPhone.

After 3 weeks of owning the iPad I discovered by a friend who also has one – it also has a mike on it! So now it can be used for Skype too.

Overall I would definitely recommend this if you have a few hundred quid burning a hole in your pocket, do you remember that feeling when you first got your iPhone? Did you honestly really need it, wasn’t your old Nokia doing the job… but oh wasn’t it beautiful, oh didn’t people want to see it in action and hold it.

No doubt the iPhone has revolutionised the phone, allowing you to do so much more on it… does the iPad revolutionise anything? It plugs a gap that really no one thought needed plugging.. and that’s why Apple are where they are today, and that’s why everyone seems to want to play with one…

I guess for me the only downside I can think of (apart from the speaker) is that it’s a bit too trendy too have one at the moment. I’ll use it on a plane or a train but I can’t see me walking around with it to a café or anything… mainly because I don’t go to cafés.

Probably the biggest testimony to the iPad is that I’m not writing this on it – why? Because my wife is always on it.

EDIT: since this was written my iPad starred in a TV show: Embarrassing Bodies Live (it didn’t go to its head)

     (but I bet that will be 5 stars when the iPad Store opens)


  1. Every time I see a new Apple product I immediately treat it with suspicion because I'm never sure that it has *actual* functionality. A lot of people say that it's good for doing quick sketches on if you're an artist which you can then send to a Mac. That's a good point but pens, pencils, paper and a scanner combined cost about half that of an iPad and what artist who's using digital media doesn't have a scanner?
    I've heard about being able to read books online and was originally designed to go after Amazon's Kindle. Whilst I respect the fact that the iPad has a proper screen in colour and has multi-functionality it doesn't seem to be as good as the Kindle... and the Kindle is less than £20. The Kindle also allows you to flit between a word processor and your book so that you can write notes but the iPad is incapable of running 2 applications at the same time, making it slightly pointless as an e-reader.
    I've read that it's good for games but the DS, for me, has cornered the handheld games market and is actually portable.
    That's another thing as well, I don't "get" how it's portable. It seems to me to be a huge iPod touch that isn't portable due to its size, you can't put that in a coat pocket, let alone your jeans.
    One thing I have to credit it with is making the screen large enough to type on, which was one of my main criticisms of the iPhone.
    It's interesting you mentioned how the iPhone revolutionised the phone because as a phone it's... well it's bloody terrible. I don't want to say Blackberries are better than iPhone's, because they're vastly different in too many respects, but I have to credit the Blackberry with actually being a phone. The iPhone's text function is impossible to be quick with because of the touch sensitive screen and you have to click phone (IT IS A PHONE! Why do I need to engage "phone mode"?) then either scroll through (you don't have the option, straight away, of clicking a letter) or go to input number, if you're ringing a taxi number or a number you're only going to call once (or a number you're too ashamed to have on your phone... like the escort service which I wouldn't EVER save to mine). Whereas with a blackberry I click "phonebook" (which is on the front page) and then type who I want OR can type on the front screen without having to access a menu.
    I know that that relates to the iPhone not the iPad but interface one: "The less clicks the better".
    I'm not trying to say that the iPad is "bad" just that I use my laptop for pretty much the same as you: reading e-mails, checking twitter, downloading "home movies" and occasionally writing work on. My laptop still costs £60 less than an iPad and it has a keyboard which I can actually use (which doesn't come at any extra expense or deny it's functionality as portable).
    Basically, I can't see the point of one and for me owning an iPad would be like having an extra limb with no appendage. Yes, it would be pretty cool but would have no actual use except to bludgeon children to death which my actual hands could do better with attachable objects.
    (In short, I agree that it's pretty cool to have one but it's a £400. If you can afford that fair play to you)