Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Actual iPad Review


Ok, so I got an iPad.  I didn't actually get one myself.  Since I work for a web company, and the iPad is supposed to change the way we use the web, I figured I would order one for my group to see what the hype was about.   I ordered the Wi-Fi only version, since I didn't plan on walking around town with the thing.  I ordered 32GB version, just one step up from the base version, for $599.  I posted previously about the iPad in my non-iPad post but now that I actually have iPad in hand, here are my thoughts.

It's smaller than I thought it would be (that's what she said).

It is heavier than I thought and this makes it less useful.  It is not comfortable to hold the device in one hand for very long.  Since this is going to be used by most as an e-reader, this makes the device impractical for its main use.   1.5 lbs. may not seem like very much, but try holding that up in the air with one had for more than five minutes.The screen is as gorgeous as people says it is.  OK, maybe it isn't that beautiful.

The web browser is not a full browser, or at least people aren't treating it that way.  I use Evernote to take notes down and I wanted to copy a URL for me to read later.  Safari refused to let me use Evernote through the web.  It kept insisting I download the app which I didn't want to do.

The web browser seems to adjust the page to fit the screen.  However it can do this randomly.  I will be reading a page every once in a while and it will change the page.  Very annoying. This is not the same as the screen rotating randomly.  That is a different problem.

The screen can rotate wildly at times.  While it has a screen rotation lock, I don't always have it enabled and thus the screen is likely to just rotate.

Streaming Netflix movies look pretty good.  I'm actually kind of impressed with this app and it is very easily the best app on the iPad.

The lack of any really good free apps is disappointing.  This is in direct contrast to the iPhone where I have found very many useful free apps.  I actually have only bought a handful of apps on the iPhone and I find it more useful than I could ever want.  The can't say the same thing about the iPad.

The lack of Flash support is annoying.  This has been talked about to death but I was one of those who didn't think this really mattered until I actually needed it.  I wanted to watch the masters over the web and couldn't because all the video is in flash.  My vet told me to go watch a video on Youtube and of course, I couldn't.

The battery life is probably better than advertised.  The device can go all day even with some heavy use. 

Final Verdict:

I've used the iPad for over a week now and I think it is a nice little device but would hold off buying one for myself.   I'm not sure it is worth the $500 bucks it takes to get it and I'm not sure it is as "magical" and "revolutionary" as Apple is trying to make it out to be.   It is definitely less useful than a laptop, less convenient than a smart phone, but it does serve nicely as a "niche" product.  I just don't think niche products are worth $500.The device is at its best doing light browsing sitting on the couch.   Since it is always on, it is very convenient to grab it to look something up quickly.  My wife particularly likes to use it to browse through various shopping websites.  She thinks it is very convenient because it is a good size for her and doesn't get hot like a laptop would on her lap.

Some people will love the device just because it is new, different, and of course, it is Apple.  But for those of you who hold no such loyalty I think it is best to wait on getting an iPad.  Several other hardware manufacturers like HP, Sony, and reportedly Google are getting ready to launch their own tablet devices.  They are bound to be cheaper since you won't be paying the Apple premium.  Since I have found the apps for the iPad less compelling Apple won't have this advantage over its competitors.  So as long as the competition make a solid web browsing device, then I think it best to take a wait and see approach.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Calculate Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security CardHow sad is it that when I saw this article on determining social security benefits I instantly thought to myself, "I know exactly how much I will make in Social Security, $0"

According to the Social Security administration, we will start running Social Security deficits in a little over 6 years.  It will go bankrupt in a little over 25.  Since I won't be eligible for Social Security for over 30 more years, I'm pretty sure there is not going to be anything left for me at that point.

What is the most sad is that I will have been earning the maximum amount for the maximum allowed time.  In other words, Out of all the people in the United States, I'm the biggest payer into Social Security.  Ironically, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to get a penny out of it.  What a scam.  If you ever wonder why I rant against government, this is just one other perfect example.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Non-Ipad post

I feel kind of left out not talking about the iPad when it seems like it is the only thing every other news source in the world is talking about. But since I don't have an iPad right now, I really have nothing to talk about. I actually meant to swing by the local Apple store today to check it out but I've been sidelined with a cold the last few days. I'm feeling so left out I was considering just holding my iPhone really really close to my face figuring it wouldn't be much different than actually having an iPad in the first place.

To be fair, I actually have an iPad on order. It is supposed to arrive in the next week or so. However, I'm not one of those early adopters that is Apple crazy. I ordered one because it has relevance to my work and so I wanted to have first hand experience using this device who others seem to think will save the world. My expectations are a little more modest. Now, I think the iPhone is great. It is very useful to me and I'm a proud owner. I've used Android based devices, both the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid, and have to say the iPhone wins by nose. I've been meaning to put up a comparison but like much of my blogging efforts these days I just haven't gotten around to it.

I'm sure the iPad will be a fantastic device. But let's get real here for a second. Apple did not invent the tablet. The tablet has been around for quite a while and it has never caught on. Maybe Apple has improved upon the idea. I'm willing to keep an open mind. But as someone who has used tablets in the past and found them a little wanting, I'm somewhat skeptical about it. I guess we will have to wait and see until I actually have one in hand.