It is time for me to bore you with Tales of the iPad! Are you prepared? The lovely wife picked one up for my birthday and I have spent a decent enough time with it to get a understanding of it's uses and I have to say it is a great little device. First off, it is not a computer, if you want a computer buy a damn computer and shut up. If you want a media device with internet this is for you. Do you want to replace the video card, hack it to run linux and make a remote controlled Cory Doctorow to fight for your copyleft and what the fuck is that waffle iron made into a composting toilet for your urban treehouse device? Well, fuck you. Really, just fuck you and your smug hair. Do I bitch because my can of coke is not a beer. Well yes, yes I do. But I digress. Let me break it down.
Magazines on this thing are awesome to read and look at. Time, Vanity Fair and Popular Mechanics are all awesome and look great. I wish I could subscribe intsead of paying out the nose for them though. Wall Street Journal and USA Today do a great job with the newspaper angle. WSJ even has videos embedded. Very cool. I find reading books on it to be quite nice as well. I hope art books get ported over to it sooner then later as I would love to look at some high quality art history books on it. I can only imagine if done right how good they could look.
This brings up what I think is the best part of it to me. I honestly think this device can be a bridge between what was good about old print media (depth of content, quality content) and what is good about new media (instant updates, all in one location, connected) while eliminating the bad of each. Old media was unconnected and a day late, slow sluggish and fat. New media is shallow, anything longer then 3 paragraphs is hard to read and most imagery is the size of a postage stamp with the quality of a disc camera. This device makes the cheap content look cheap and the great content shine. Reading a well laid out newspaper (Wall Street Journal knocked it out of the park) or magazine is amazing. And instant updates to WSJ and Reuters make both very new media.
This brings up another interesting point about the iPad that has been written about but is hard to explain. It becomes what you use it for as it does not feel like a specific thing. When using a computer you are aware of the computer no matter what you are doing. You are reading on the computer, watching a movie on the computer etc… Same with a Nintendo DS or other such devices. You are always aware of the device. On the iPad, when you play a game, you are playing a game. Reading a book or magazine just feels like reading from a dead tree. The device becomes what you are using it for. And that is what is important about it. This could usher in a new wave of similar devices that we did not have a use for until now. I could see laptops becoming a thing of the past as people keep a desktop / office system for bills, accounting backups and use a iPad device around the house all day long. The computer being almost more like a appliance that they use for specific high intensity tasks.
Some quick fire style points about it:
I can remote desktop to my server and see what is going on from my couch. I used remote desktop to control a camera tethered to my computer on a shoot yesterday as well.
Photographs on this thing look amazing, hands down jaw dropingly awesome. It is like holding a old 8x10 Cibachrome. How long till the rich ass photographers in the world start mailing these around as a portfolios instead? I wonder?
Games are a hoot. Prepare to lose a few days to Plants vs. Zombies. Hell, I even got the wife to play some of that. The HDR driving game is stupid fun. It's not a console killer but Nintendo has called Apple enemy number one.
Drum machines work like drum machines did in 1986. Yes, that is a good thing.
I can use it no problem for email. Almost prefer it for email over my work station but can not blog worth a damn on it.
The Art Authority app is hours of art history browsing.
Wall Street Journal beats out the New York Times for best newspaper.
Epicurious is awesome in the kitchen.
All in all I would say it's a device worth having. I could see my mom using one more then she does her laptop honestly. It would be nice if it was more open and computer like but that limitation, like in a haiku, could be what makes it so interesting.