I bought my very first iPad. Starting university again in a couple of weeks, I wanted something newer than my nearly five year old white MacBook to take with me. As you may know, I was planning on getting a MacBook Air. I decided against that (for now) for a couple of reasons though (this doesn’t mean I will never buy a new MacBook). An iPad and its newer kind of technology, the new way of interacting with the technology, the new possibilities just seemed so much more exciting, fresher, lighter and friendlier to me. Yes, it’s not all that new anymore since the iPad has been about for a couple of years now, but it’s constantly improving and iOS is definitely evolving super quickly. And the idea is unarguably newer than the one of a laptop. So here are a few of my thoughts and reasons on why I bought an iPad and what I think of it after using it for a few couple of hours over the last few days.
As an language student, most of my time will be related to either reading or writing. Research in books, magazines, journals, websites, databases, you name it, can all be done and done from the iPad. iBooks and the bookstore and its capabilities and catalogue are brilliant. Taking notes, highlighting, annotating, underlining, and bookmarking are easier than on any other device or platform. I always hated the complicated way to highlight stuff on my kindle.nand apps like GoodReader make these features available to PDF files as well. And let’s not forget about the ability to search all content within seconds. Priceless value for someone who works with words. Most of these feautres are simply not available on the Mac or exist rudimentarily. Yes, you can do them on a Mac, but a Mac is also twice the price, doesn’t have an iBooks app (which is totally stupid!), and doesn’t give you this super intuitive user experience. Highlighting text with a courser on the screen is just not the same as using your fingertip.
The second big part of my studie time will be creating words, writing essays, reports, assingments, projects, papers and whatnot. Also, the iPad is great for all of this. My writing workflow is usually very simple: current projects are written in Byword and synched across all of my devices (now including the iPad) via iCloud, finished projects get moved (archived, if you will) to my Dropbox, from where I can easily download them from all of my devices if needed. Having used Byword on my iPhone for a while now, I knew that I would not have any problems at all using it on my iPad (and I needn’t pay for the app again). The iPad’s keyboard is much bigger than the iPhone’s, and I never had a problem using that (except the new German keyboard on iOS 6, where the keys are smaller to make room for the Umlaut-keys. But that won’t be a probelem on the iPad). I’m already quite used to using the touchscreen keyboard and it’s perks and quirks, so I knew I would master the iPad’s version within a very short time. And writing this piece on my iPad right now, I have to say I’m getting really good at it already. Comfortably sitting on the sofa, cup of coffee next to me, iPad leaning on the folded Smart Cover in my lap beats a laptop anytime. Again, I know that this can all be done on a Mac, but I knew that I could easily do it on an iPad. So why not embrace the new, the change, the exciting?
But, as you can clearly see, I don’t and won’t only write for uin. I blog and write on nearly a daily basis, producing a lot if words all the time. Besides the fact that the Squarespace app doesn’t (and probably won’t for a while) support link-list posts and other types of blogging features I regularly use, I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to write blogposts, read RSS feeds and twitter, and browse the web on my iPad. Can you remember how Apple used to promote the white and black plastic MacBooks as the device to have for bloggers? Yea, that’s the iPad now. For me, at least, and many more, I’m sure.
And my interest in reading goes beyond the stuff I have to read for uni as well. As I mentioned above, reading books and magazines, RSS Feeds, websites, and my Instapaper pile on the iPad is just incomparable to reading it on my iPhone and/or kindle (like I used to until now) or a Mac. I guess the overall message here is yes, you can do all of these things on a Mac, but the iPad is perfectly capable of doing all these things as well, and does some of them even better.
Living in a different country than the rest of my family, iMessage and FaceTime quickly became the main communication channels between me and them. My parents don’t own a computer, not a tradiontal one anyway; they only have an iPad 2. It’s super easy for them to text of call me, free of any charge, whenever they want, just by tapping on my name on the screen. They are not very old people, but they never really had anything do to with computers in their lives, so this is just perfect for them. Want to see René? Just tap on his name and his ugly face will fill the screen within a few seconds.
Having that in mind, deciding to buy an iPad over a new MacBook became that much easier. I’ve never really used my Macs for messaging or FaceTime, mainly because my MacBook’s camera doesn’t work and the iMac is hooked up to the TV. So up until now, I used my iPhone only.
The iPad will make this experience much nicer for me as well. I can now enjoy my gorgeous family during special events without having to hold my phone in front of me the whole time. I just pop my iPad up and forget about it.
The only thing I was partially worried about, and to a certain extend still am, is if the iPad can hold up to everyday things I usually do on my laptop. I knew that there are tons of apps I already used on my iPhone also available for the iPad. So I didn’t worry about listening to podcasts (Instacast), organising tasks (Omnifocus), tweeting (tweetbot), listening to music or doing email. But maybe “worry” is the wrong word to use here. I kind of knew that the iPad can do a lot. Maybe I was merely wondering if I could do it?
After having spent only a few days with the device, I don’t really have much to write here. Everything, so far, has worked perfectly well and I haven’t started missing my MacBook the slightest bit yet. I’ve used my Macs for about two hours over the last four days, and 90% lof that time was exploring Mountain Lion on my iMac. But I know that there is nothing really to worry about. iCloud will push all my important settings, bookmarks, appointments, contacts and .pages-Documents between all my Apple devices. And because I did it this morning, I know that shopping can also be done on the iPad. I orderd new coffee beans and a new V60 filter cone online (which I will obviously write about as soon as I received and tested them), complete with checkout via PayPal and directly with my debit card. No problems at all.
The same is obviously true for all other kinds of media consumption. Vimeo, YouTube, BBC iPlayer and whatever else you can think of works on the iPad (yes, yes, flash doesn’t but that also doesn’t work on Macs so that argument is invalid).
All in all, for me, this was an easy and rewarding decision to make. I’m really enjoying my new gadget and can absolutely see it completely replacing my MacBook in the future. As this journey of mine goes on, I will keep blogging about my experiences, finds, and opinions along the way. So you and me will eventually see the whole picture of my first real steps in the post-PC era.
"Both Amazon and Google are pitching these devices not as computer-replacements, but content hubs. Apple, on the other hand, wants users to think of the iPad in both ways. In short, the Nexus 7 isn’t competing with the iPad directly. While the low price point may lure some customers, I think Amazon has more to be nervous about than Apple."
With that price point ($199 for the 8GB model) and the tight integration of Google’s ecosystem (Play, Google+, Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Cloud Storage), it is much more competetive to the iPad and Apple’s equivalents of those services than to the Fire and than the Fire is to the iPad. I assume that once you’ve set up your Google Account on your Nexus 7, all your stuff will be synched between your devices using that account, i.e. your Andriod phone(s) and your Chromebook and -box, and maybe eventually your Google Glasses. Much like iCloud does now. As far as I know, you don’t get anything like that experience with Amazon. At least not yet.
The new additions to the Andriod OS, Play, and Google+ make the Nexus 7 look very attractive to people who are already fond of Andriond and use/prefer it over iOS/Apple, or people who simply can’t afford an iPad and iPhone.
So to me, what Google presented at today’s keynote, not as individual news or products, but as a whole next step in the evolution of the Google ecosystem, is quite good and warmly welcomed comeptetion for Apple. Except the glasses thing maybe. I have no idea what that is all about.