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    Monday, June 14, 2010

    The Way-Over-Due iPad Review (it rhymes!)..


    It's always a bright day when you get something new in the mail.. Something that is not a credit card bill or a care package from that cousin of yours who loves to send oily food (North African desserts, mostly)..

    One week ago, i got the phone call i've been expecting for a long 5-day wait.. "Your Apple iBad is here" (Saudi Accent FTW).. Why am i writing this one week after? I had to subject the new iDevice to my own hands-on critique.. I know the web is over-flooded with a barrage of reviews, so this is my own two halalas into that big ocean..

    The iPad review is a bit late, i know (too late, maybe).. But what can a none-funded+newly married tech-addict do?

    If you haven't bought an iPad, and still need another review to either go for it (or run away from it), you might want to continue reading (after the jump)..
    First thing i noticed when i received the package is that it was almost empty.. Other than the iPad, the wall-charger and the short USB tangle-free cable and some flyer (it wasn't a booklet, just a piece of paper with an Apple sticker), there was nothing else.. Compared to the iPhone packages, the iPad didn't seem to take much thought.. Maybe it was for economic reasons, or maybe just another excuse on Apple's green policy, or just being cheap bastards to maximize profit, it didn't matter to me.. Or maybe because the iPad doesn't need a manual to use?

    Whatever the reason is, all i know is that my Glossy machine is finally here..

    Now, after getting my iPad all sync'd and ready, let me tell you this.. The machine is probably the most smoothest, fastest and responsive touch interface you can lay your greasy fingers on.. And if you ever used any iPhone or iPod Touch, you'll feel right at home.. There's absolutely no learning curve, which is why its really popular across a wide cross section of people.. The iPad is probably the best development of the existing iPhone SDK, with newly added potential because of the machine's capabilities.. The App store is almost flooded with native iPad apps (more like 10,000) and we're not even 6 months into the iPad's lifetime..

    The settings menu of the software shows the amount of thought that was previously taken into the regular iPhone OS to make it workable around any other supported platform, without the need to reinvent a new menu.. The simple touches in the way the software interacts with you, and the little details that i keep on coming across (a quick example is the dictionary and highlights feature in iBooks that made me grin), it seems that the iPhone software works perfectly and you should expect more with the next iOS release.. Multitasking on the iPad might be the laptop killer to many of you..

    Carrying it around, trying different sitting positions and postures to find the most suitable ergonomic way of using the iPad, i noticed 4 major things:
    • The machine was built with aesthetic design in mind.. Simplistic, minimalistic, rugged, and feels as strong and durable as you'd expect it to be.. The matt aluminum feel just gives that extra "Apple" flavor we all like about their iDevices.. However, It can feel even stronger and "heavier" than you think..
    • This might be an annoying factor to some, but the iPad is a bit heavier than it looks and should be (something you can bet to be reduced by the next iPad).. Of course, just using it for a while, you're bound to find a suitable sweet spot to use it for hours (longest duration i've used it was 5 straight hours).. So, before you go on and be annoyed by this, i suggest you see the weight for yourself.. One thing for sure, after one week, it doesn't annoy you as much.. Thanks Apple for flexing my muscles, now i can slap people with ease.. 
    • It's as flexibly-used as your body can get.. And with the rotation-lock, the postures you can be in (lazy laying around, or sturdy with your back straight) the iPad is easily used and can be simply managed with one hand (you'll notice in many apps that they will rely more on touch-input than text-input)..
    •  The glossy screen is very responsive to the slightest touch, and physical feels as smooth as the OS itself.. One thing, though, it's a finger-print magnet.. So, if your iPad is meant to be a living room feature, you might consider placing a silk cloth next to it, and maybe some Anti-Bacterial gel.. Since my wife and i are the only users, it wasn't annoying, unless you're sitting in a position where the glare GLORIFIES those greasy after-touches.. But i think it's my own mistake, for having greasy fingers, since Apple seems to be that utopia that don't have human grease.. (sarcasm)

    One of the major selling points of the iPad is that it lasts through any single-sitting usage you can think of.. If there's anything Apple is taking care of, this decade, is the extremely long battery life (compared to the competition, of course).. The machine usage (youtube, mail + push notification, safari) can range from 5 hours (high brightness, high volume of background iPod) to a solid 10 hours (mid-to-low brightness with same usage).. Of course, managing to recalibrate the battery twice, i was able to squeeze 12 hours in a single use (only mail and some random apps).. I didn't find time to test how long it lasts in stand-by, though, because i can't let go of the machine.. So, conclusion?
    • If you follow the expected usage of the iPad, you won't even notice any decrease in the battery life.. Which is, leaving it on the dock to act as a picture frame when you're not using it (or use the other soothing pond-like screen savers), or docking it before you go to sleep (it takes 3-5 hours to charge from an almost empty to full charge)..
    •  It can outlast any usage you ever had with your laptop (on battery), and its 20% warning lasted me almost 2:30 hours..
    • Always try to keep the brightness to the lowest bearable, turn off the auto-brightness, and if you're not using Bluetooth, turn it off.. You'll notice a sharp increase in battery life..


    My MBP 13" is probably thanking the iPad now that am not abusing it constantly.. Now, my laptop is set to be used for heavy text editing, blogging, graphic designing, my work, and downloads (and syncing).. And with Air Display (check my app list above), the iPad now is the exact size of an extra screen i need for my work..

    Another issue i noticed, the iPad almost eliminates the hassle and dedication anyone would have to casually check their online updates.. Instead of folding out your laptop, plugging the charger (most of the time), waiting the booting sequence, loading your web clients..etc, with the iPad you'll tap the home button, enter lock code, and you're set.. If anything, leaving the internet to actually talk with my wife or catch up on other house chores is becoming more convenient.. And, since my wife won't read my tech blogging, i can slip the iPad in the bedroom now without having the CPU fans blowing my cover.. There's even an App for offline reading that gives you a night-reading option, which just was more than awesome to get my tech news fix before i sleep..

    The iPad will easily grow on you, and it won't feel as an added gadget, more than an extension to your daily life.. It complements, it doesn't replace.. Going through the apps myself, i made sure to find the apps that gave me the best out of the machine.. And those apps enabled the iPad to integrate itself in almost every aspect of any activity i go through daily (even sketching, and after i make my magazine subscriptions, my toilet meditation sessions)..

    One piece of advice, if you already purchased (and expecting delivery of) an iPad anytime soon, you should probably stack up on the iPad apps from now.. So that when you first sync-to-activate your iDevice, you'll be all set.. If you want my take on what's worth getting for your new iPad, click here..

    And as a closing note.. Once you hold it in your hands, you'll know exactly what Steve was talking about.. An interface to use the web, simply put..





    Yours,
    Lou..

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