48 hrs with an iPad

I commented on Friday  that the iPad would either become used almost as much as my laptop, or become a very expensive photo frame except when I’m travelling.   After the first 48 hours I think it’s going to be closer to the former.

For casual web surfing it’s a definite win, and when discussing something I wanted for my birthday it was nice to just put it on the table and look at together – it seems somehow less intrusive than sharing a PC screen.  Without a Bluetooth keyboard it’s a consumption device – it’s a TV not a Camcorder.  I wanted to send an email with three sentences in it, and I put the iPad down, when into the next room to get my laptop, and booted Windows to send them email because typing on screen is so painfully slow. I find the same with my phone – if you get an email reply from me from the phone it means there isn’t a real keyboard in reach.  And it’ll be terse.

I’ve got my entire music collection – 16 gigs – plus a handful of movies converted for playing on there, and I’ll convert some more as time goes on to get a reasonable collection before the next long trip.  Using CloneDVDMobile creates excellent results but does take time to do all the transcoding – about 2x the time needed to watch the video.

Installed Free Apps so far:

  • Evernote.  – I already have this on all my PCs, and my phone, so it was an obvious move to install it here.
  • Bloomberg.  – I’m not an avid stock/news watcher but this does present information in a useful format.
  • Amazon Kindle – More on eBooks below
  • Apple’s iBooks – More on eBooks below.
  • Epicurious – interesting recipe site, but haven’t seen their
  • GoSkyWatch – Free Planetarium app.  Great for skywatching as I always forget to take my sky maps on holiday.
  • WordPress – will probably use this once I get a keyboard!
  • The Weather Channel – free weather app – almost obligatory to have one of them.
  • AeroGuitar Free – demo of “Guitar Hero” type game.  Not that impressed – the whole point of guitar hero is mucking about with friends, not sitting alone!
  • Dictionary – again, almost obligatory.
  • Plane Flight HD Free – demo of plane tracking app.  Probably not used enough to buy the app when I get hit the websites that provide this information for free.
  • Adobe Ideas – not played with this yet, but seems interesting
  • Urbanspoon – restaurant search – have it on the phone as well and seems useful
  • IMDb – because I can.
  • Periodic Table – the £7.99 paid app is gorgeous but I’m not paying that much for “pretty”.
  • BBCiPlayer
  • eBay- Curious, but why do I need an app when the website works fine?
  • Google Earth – This has always struck me as “why do I need an app for that”, but it’s fun to play with.

Any other recommendations?

Paid Apps

  • FlightControl HD (£2.99)  Most used app so far.
  • Weather HD (£0.59)  This really should have been a free app.  Weather and pretty pictures.  Waste of 59p.
  • Real Racing HD (£5.99)  This’ll keep me amused on travel sometime.

I’ll probably – possibly – add the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps – Word, Excel and Powerpoint equivalents – once I have a BT keyboard which I have hinted will make a nice birthday present (and will be buying myself the day after if I don’t get it!)

On eBooks

I’ve got a whole bunch of reference PDFs downloaded, as well as the beginnings of a collection of Free eBooks.   These all open fine in the built in iBook application.  But since Amazon are promising a Kindle App for Android, and their whispersync technology means I can go to a book I started reading on the ipad, and carry on on the PC or the phone, that sounded a better deal.  Oh, and their eBooks are cheaper too.

Reading in the sun

Probably my biggest unknown was how well it would work in bright sunlight.  I intend to have it with me on vacation later in the year as my primary source of “entertainment”, and want to be able to watch videos and read books in the sun.  Watching video’s isn’t so good, but the “mostly white” screen of the book reader does an excellent job of hiding reflections off the screen, and after a while you start to focus on the screen, not the reflections, so it’s prefectly usable. If money really were no object, I’d probably get an eBook reader as well – which would also eliminate my minor concern about this being something of a single point of failure in amusing myself when travelling.

Essential Accessories I’d have bought at the time

Well, if I didn’t have a birthday in a few weeks and hence the opportunity to drop hints about presents.

1) Spare USB charger.  Nominally so I can leave one in my “travel” bag and one at home, but I’ll probably take both when travelling since I can (with the right leads) charge my phone and MiFi router off the USB port as well.

2) Case.  And the only reason I didn’t order this at the time was the quoted 3-4 week delivery.

3) Camera interface so I can download photos taken during the day to the iPad.  I really like the idea of being able to sit in the bar and look over the day’s photos.

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