Is It Too Late to Post an iPad Review?

I figured since Apple announced there’s 2 Million iPads sold, perhaps it’s time to write a review.  Odd to admit…I now own my first Apple product ever – a 32 Gb iPad (non 3G version).

Yes, I’ve been affected by my iPad ownership.   (1) I’m no longer greeted with the usual “Hi Dad, how was your day”, when I get home from work.  It’s now “Hi Dad, where’s your iPad?”.  (2) I can leave my 6 lb laptop at my desk as I run off to back-to-back meetings.  I have quick access and ability to answer email, see my calendar, VPN, and jump on the internet – way better than having my 3G/WiFi mobile phone.  (3)  I temporarily look hip on BART – no very easy for me to do!  I say temporarily because they will become the norm for BART riders, particularly when the WiFi on BART improves.  (4) I’m no longer envious of Kindle owners as there’s an app for that.

Would the 3G option be nice to have?   Yea perhaps, but I have a 3G BlackBerry that’s of course way more portable and I don’t necessarily want to tow my iPad everywhere.  WiFi is becoming available pretty much everywhere you go, thus it’s totally sufficient.  Even better if you own (or able to obtain) one of the Verizon Broadband/WiFi Hubs.

WHAT I LIKE

Form factor.  It’s way better for after dinner, weekend breakfast table reading and in work meetings.  It’s simply a less intrusive internet appliance.  I predict v2.0 will have carve-outs on the sides for easier hand grip.

Educational programs for all aged kids.  The (free and purchasable) library of reading, spelling, math, science, music, and many other important learning aids makes the iPad an excellent home schooling center, particularly here as the kids start summer.  Set them up with 15 minutes of studying for every 15 minutes of game playing.   And, all aged kids including toddlers will be able to pickup games quickly with minimal instructions even if they are unable to read.  It’s amazing to watch kids figure out the games so easily.  I can’t even keep up with my son on the Snowboard game.

Power – battery consumption.  Very good.   It lasts all day.  Only downside is that based on the family usage, I do need to charge it daily.

200+ Free Applications.  Not all of them have annoying ads, but many do, which I subsequently delete after testing them out.

Newspaper and Media.   I have the free NY Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Mashable iPad applications and use SFGate.com from the Safari web browser.   This is plenty for me to read everyday.    While it’s excellent that so many magazines have made convenient iPad apps, it’s not necessary to buy them unless you already subscribe and you want another mode to read.  Go ahead and kill the home delivery service if you go that route.   Save the environment – the paper and the gas for the paper delivery to get to your house.   I don’t see this as a savior for the magazine and newspaper industry, although I would really like to know when ESPN The Magazine will be available on the iPad.

THE BAD AND UGLY

No Flash.  Come on…this is just silly.  Makes web browsing unbelievably painful.   No hulu.com – which would be an awesome app on the iPad.  Apple is unbelievably lucky that YouTube doesn’t use Flash.  It’s just the running failure of Apple to be so closed-minded about this, and also means it will never be as pervasive and accepted as Microsoft, Google and Linux are.

Price.  If only the iPad came with a quality case – currently a 3-4 week backorder on the Apple and BestBuy web sites and at $40.  I’ve tried the other covers and their strangely insufficient as compared to the Apple one.   If Apple include a quality cover and a $100 iStore gift card, there would probably be 4 million iPads in circulation — just sayin…

Internet Poker.  All of the top properties need a client app and use flash.  No way that iStore can have a gaming app for these offshore enterprises.   US Government is way too stupid to figure out how to manage and tax the online card gaming industry, so they are offshore rolling in un-taxed cash.   And, the iStore can’t facilitate an “illegal” operation.

Apps Store.  I certainly appreciate the fact that someone is building an app and they want to sell/license it.   But, what happens when you buy a $5 game and then stop playing it after a month.  It’s like burning money, and I don’t enjoy that.  Be great if there was a trade-in/trade-up policy.  Unlikely.

Keyboard.  Great for quick notes and entering your password.  Way too incomplete to use for constant typing.   The iPad docking station solves this problem – a mere $69.  Note that I’m wrote this blog from a laptop.

Screen.  You’ll see that after 30 minutes of activity, your fingerprints will be all over it.  After the kids use it, it take a good wipe to clean off.  Of course, screen covers and glare reduction films are now available, but it seems the only ones people like are $30.  I have to clean the screen about 5 or 6 times/day.

Fake Demand.  It’s amusing how Apple seems to act like they’re continually out of stock of everything.  With all the supply chain optimization techniques out there, there’s NO excuse for having a delay to purchase the iPad and a 3-4 week backorder on accessories.  Oh, sure it used to be a brilliant marketing scheme, but you ain’t foolin me.  It’s nothing but an old joke now.

Yes, this $600+ device has changed my outlook on internet appliances and convenience.  I really enjoy the iPad.   If you can spare the cash and keep your kids from fighting over it, you will enjoy it too.   And, you don’t mind dumping another $100 to $200 in accessories  and sought after apps.