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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

finally there. the iPad at my desk.

07:02 Tuesday, April 27, 2010 Posted by Markus Eisele
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To be honest. I was very jealous as I heard, that the iPad will be available in germany months after the official start in the US. But for some reasons it's good to work in an international company and have some frequent travelers, who could bring over the needed stuff :)If you read the following, please remember, that I am one of those PC guys. Its years ago, that I worked with a MAC frequently and I am not owning one of those fancy iPhones. And sorry in advance for posting just another iPad review on a software developers blog. I promise, that I will write about programming for the iPad too ;)

Look and feel
Ok. Apple, you did a great job. Even for me. I love the simple design. The clear surfaces. The powerfull Apple logo. All looks perfect. Hardly any buttons to press. It was even hard for me to find the power switch :) But: Yes, it's great and I love it. Quick boot, simple navigation. Awesome gesture system. To make it short. This is the part I am mostly impressed about. Having some co-workers, who own an iPhone for some time now makes me believe, that this is not the fancy part for them. They have all this since some time and for them the iPad looks like a big iPhone without the calling capabilities.

Nothing without apps
Safari. Whom ever had the idea to call this crappy thing this way. Beside the standard email, calendar, photos and simple things it is the door to the internet. A very simple starter pack which has to be value added by apps. Some of them are free but for the majority you have to pay. I simply don't like it. I am one of the download for free (free as in beer) kids and will never ever pay some dollar for small apps. There is a bigger probability that I will spend some money for share- or donationware. But I prefer to pay to the authors directly. Knowing that Apple is taking xx% away for hosting the online shop simply does not work for me.

Fun and evenings
The ultimate test was taken by my little 2 year old yesterday. I started a racing game an gave it to her. Believe it. It worked. Somehow :) She is not realy experienced with computer games. In fact this was the first time she did one. But she seemed to like it and was able to drive the car. Most of the fun came from the graphics and the sounds. The iPad was very responsive and it was easy to realize, what actions to take. The ultimate killer app for us would be the video player. The sample pixar video "for the birds" was her and our favorite. This is a usecase for us. Very short videos and incidental browsing. That would work.
Using the iPad on the couch is not as simple and effective as expected. 600gr get heavy over time and if you do not lock the sreen it keeps flipping upside down with every move. And last but not least, you can not lower the display brightness enough. It's distracting if you are watching TV additionally. Not to mention the software keyboard. It's hardly usable enough for occasional 140 character tweets and will not work for longer emails or any other kind of writing.

If you do work for a software company and someone comes across and puts an iPad on your desk, you don't have to ask about the "why" but about the "what". Can't talk about this too much but I think it's not a big secret, that the modern companys out there are interested in having new gadgets and customers and they are willing to make life easier for their employees. This is probably not true for any bratwurst hut but for the ones we are working for ;)
Thank god, this will be closer to webdevelopment for me than to concrete SDK based apps. Therefore I have to make friends with Safari and all the glossy new standards out there. This is the point where I like to thank Apple for NOT providing the latest builds for Windows and for NOT supporting MacOSX on VMs. ..ooO(of the records: I know about some "solutions" to the last problem ;))

Love affair?
I was willing to buy an iPad until yesterday. Now I am shure: I will definitely not do this. It simply is not worth it for me. The small 16GB version will cost 499€ in germany. A lot for a display with some features.