APPLE IPAD Second Day Thoughts

Shortly after writing part one of the review, I headed to bed with Ipad in hand. I climbed into bed, turned out the lights and… tried Netflix streaming over the wifi network in the dark. I must say, I was impressed. Netflix streaming on my windows PCs has always been a chore filled with stops to buffer. While I only watched a minute or two of an episode of “Party Down,” I didn’t get the buffering pauses and the quality was on a par with the MPEG files I had converted to Ipod format. That was a huge surprise. If you close out of the window, you still have to find what you were watching in Netflix but it picks off where you left off once you get there.

Reading in bed was fairly comfortable. I am not one to read sitting up. I tend to lie on my side and on my back. Holding the Ipad was not as uncomfortable as holding my old tablet PC. My arm didn’t go numb from the weight of it, which is another great surprise. The screen was bright and crisp and my eyes didn’t hurt after several minutes of reading.

One of the biggest weaknesses of the I-platform (Iphone, Ipad, Ipod Touch) is the fact that it can’t multitask. Sure you can play music from itunes while you browse other applications, but the closest you get to “multitasking” comes with little pop up alerts from programs such as Facebook to tell you something is going on. For me, this is a real pain in the butt as I’m used to the tablet PC and running instant messages while surfing the web and reading a comic. While multitasking is going to be improved this fall with the new update to the operating system, it’s never going to be on the level of a Windows, MAC or Linux based “real” computer.

Why do I mention this? Because I think I have ADD and I hate it. I hate hate hate hate it. Thankfully, I downloaded a program called “IM+” which will let you use all the major instant message clients while surfing the web. I used it briefly at 4am but sadly, didn’t get to use it when anyone was actually on my friends list as of yet. But at least I’ll be able to keep up with while talking in IM and longing to read a comic.

Now I have to address the first 800 pound gorilla in the room. I call him Hank. Say hi to everyone, Hank.

Apple boasts that there are over 200,000 applications to use with this platform. Sadly, only a handful of them have been designed with the Ipad in mind. When you run a program that was not designed for the Ipad, it switches to portrait mode (even with screen lock on) and you’re presented with an Ipod/Iphone sized screen for said application. You can “zoom in” to make the screen fill your entire display, but it looks horrible and really ruins the otherwise pleasing Ipad experience. It feels like someone created this wonderful “magical” device and set up really great looking applications for it and went… “Oh. #$#$” when asked about backwards compatibility.

I may as well introduce Hank’s brother Fred. Say Hi, Fred. Fred’s slightly heavier, at 900 pounds. Sorry Fred but the girls have to know.

Steve Jobs is as war with Adobe over Flash. He’s made a ton of claims (most of them proven false) about Flash and why this closed system will never support it. This leaves web browsing pretty much crippled. On my own rinky dink website you cannot see the navigation system (ironically, I use an Ipod-themed flash application) nor can you see the feedback form. I’ve had to add code to accommodate people using Flash-banned devices, but really. For a device that claims to be the best way to web surf, it doesn’t make sense to cripple Flash when Flash was measured to be used on over 70% of the pages on the Internet. I had joked that they hate Flash because they’re coming out with I-Flash and it remained a joke for about 10 minutes until the rumors came out stating that they’re actually coming out with a Flash competitor.

I know that most phones and ipad-competitors do not support Flash as well (though the new Android updates for late this year are totally embracing Flash as a “F You” to Apple). I’m quite aware of that, but they’re not sold on the fact that they’re the “best” for web surfing. There’s absolutely no reason for this war with Adobe. It is stupid and the consumer gets the shaft for something that SHOULD be on a device like this.

Later in the day I tried the “3G” parts of the device. Sadly, I can’t give you a full update as we’re not in a 3G coverage area. Trying to surf the web on AT&T’s Edge network was horribly slow. I couldn’t get netflix to stream and even instant messaging was a slow process. I’ll have to do a part three of this whenever I can find actual 3G coverage.

So overall, I don’t regret the purchase though I’m not about to drink the Kool-Aid and proclaim it to be the best ever. The Ipad is just too limited with multitasking for me to switch to it full time. Working out with this on the treadmill will be good for single tasks (movie watching, music) but instant messaging at the same time will not be possible and that, to me, is the biggest flaw to the device. My five year old table PC was able to do this (with flying colors) and there’s no excuse at all that this feature is missing.

Stay tuned (one of these days) for a 3G review. But until then, I’ll return you to my normal bitching.