One month with an iPad; some thoughts

I’m two days shy of my first month with my 32GB 3G/WiFi iPad, and it’s time that I take a moment and jot down my thoughts about it so far.

On bandwidth.
Frankly I’m rather surprised at my bandwidth usage. My iPad is with me everywhere, every day. I use it to keep in touch with my teammates at Empire Avenue, update personal email, and surf for content for my blogs.

Admittedly, I do try and find free WiFi spots first to connect to first, but failing that, I’ve switched to 3G  to hook up. And with this daily use, I’ve still only used 1/2 of my 250mb bandwidth allocation.

True, I’m not doing a lot of streaming video, nor using Skype to conduct VOIP calls (when I can avoid it), but still, I thought I was using more.

On usability.
One week after acquiring my iPad, I bought an Apple bluetooth keyboard. I do a lot of writing, and while the touch pad keyboard is functional, I find typing on it less preferable than using a real keyboard that provides tactile feedback, is not physically attached to the screen, doesn’t take up screen realestate, and is a bit larger than the onscreen keyboard.

When writing, I often use my Gorilla Pod tripod as an iPad stand. Since the tripod is always with me anyway, it seems redundant to get a ‘special stand’. This also lets me adjust the angle to avoid glare, and adjust the distance from the keyboard — something Apple’s iPad keyboard dock doesn’t allow.

Battery life is great. I rarely get below 50%, and have to make a conscious effort to get it below 20%. It does take a while to fully charge back up — I usually leave it overnight.

On functionality I.
The iPad doesn’t replace a computer, not even a netbook. It comes close in many ways, but for me, it can’t. This has to do with the iPad’s inability to multi-task (currently, though I believe there’s an update in the pipe that may enable multi-tasking).

For many things this isn’t a problem, until I need to switch out of one application into to collect new data, look up a reference, or do a bit of research. Closing out of the app. and launching the new one is oldschool, and slow. Much prefer the ability to just switch to the other app, and back again.

And, since I do a lot of my work online, having multiple online applications running at once is my normal state of operation.

I *want* the iPad to replace my laptop/netbook, but so far, it can’t.

On Functionality II.
iPad is really a whole new class of device, one that’s geared for casual content creation and media consumption. With a real keyboard, it’s great for taking notes in meetings. With the large bright screen, it’s also great to display photos / videos and presentations in small groups. It’s also an awesome personal media centre; much better to watch a movie on than an iPhone 🙂

On applications
Actually, I’m not going to write about apps today. There are so many good ones out there, and so many different needs that a discussion of the apps I use is fodder for a future post. And I don’t think I’ve given the apps out there a fair chance yet. So, if there’s something you’d like me to take a look at on the iPad, let me know, and I’ll see if I can take a look at them. And yes, there will be a future post on my iPad apps. Stay tuned.

This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.