Damn you, Indecision!

Initial iPad impressions

I took a bunch of notes the first day and a half that I used my iPad
(using Simplenote on my iPhone). I’ll present the list below with
additional comments for clarification, if necessary.

> – love that home screens are landscape

It was always a little annoying that when I used an iPhone app in
landscape and went back to the home screen, I had to rotate the screen
back to portrait. It’s a little thing, but being able to use the iPad
in landscape for most things, including the home screens is a lot more
convenient.

> – can tell which apps have been updated for iPad by their icons

Another little detail. Apps that have been updated for the iPad have
higher-res icons as well. It’s pretty obvious seeing the several apps
I synced over that are not yet optimized for the larger screen.
Incidentally, I don’t use many of those iPhone-only apps. I’m
impatiently waiting for updates for apps like Tweetie 2, MobileRSS,
Reeder, and several others. Let’s go!

> – speaker is definitely loud, but wish it were stereo

I am not sure if they didn’t put in stereo speakers because of space
constraints or what, but it really would’ve been nice. Also, the older
iPod speaker dock I was trying to reuse for my iPhone is still not
loud enough to hear over the shower. I thought maybe the newer sound
equipment in the iPad would somehow be more amplified by my dock, but
unfortunately that isn’t the case. The long-overdue hunt for a
speaker dock begins.

> – home button feels sturdier, nicer than iPhone’s

I’m not sure how to explain it. I was going to say tighter, but
that’s not quite right. I guess the only way I can describe it is
“smoother”. Just feels better, and less likely to crap out after
repeated use?

> – typing w/2 thumbs on kb in portrait is doable

It’s not super comfortable to do that, but it works, and I have small
hands. I’m even able to use a similar technique to thumb type in
landscape mode, but in that orientation I prefer just setting the iPad
on my lap and either doing a fast hunt-and-peck, or a pseudo
touch-typing action like I’m doing right now… I make quite a few
mistakes trying to do touch typing on the keyboard like this, but it’s
still fast to go back and fix typos on-the-fly in this mode. The main
thing that slows me down in touch-type mode is switching to the
number/punctuation keys, but I’m sure that with more practice I could
make even doing that inconsequential.

> – scrolling a long page with text makes my head hurt a little

This was kind of surprising to me. I guess there’s a kind of
motion-blur or delayed effect when scrolling up and down on the iPad
that slows the scrolling down enough that my eyes are able to focus
more on reading the text while I’m scrolling, thus making my head hurt
a bit. It isn’t that the iPad’s screen is bad or jerky at scrolling;
there’s just a different behavior than when scrolling a page on a
laptop/desktop or the iPhone. Not too big a deal; just noticeable to
me.

> – wish that iPad App Store would auto-detect some apps installed have iPad versions and ask to replace the iPhone versions

I had to search for the iPad versions of a fair number of apps I
synced over. I just wish there would’ve been a more automatic
handling of upgrading apps to their iPad counterparts, whether or not
they were free upgrades. A few well-placed dialog boxes would’ve done
the job.

> – I feel more comfortable holding the iPad in landscape; I’m worried I’ll drop it when holding in portrait

This isn’t really the case anymore. I mean, it feels better most of
the time to use the iPad in landscape mode, but I no longer have this
uneasy feeling that I’m about to drop the thing any second. While the
weight of the device isn’t too bad, it is a new form-factor to get
used to. But I’ll feel even better once I have a case on the thing to
help protect it from accidental slips.

> – ABC video app looks great but doesn’t have landscape mode when browsing

Not that big a deal. I had just read that Apple was trying to get
everybody to make their apps as orientation-agnostic as possible so
the user has flexibility in how to hold the iPad, so this surprised
me. I haven’t played a whole lot with the ABC video player yet. Just
watched the “iPad episode” of Modern Family as one of the first real
things I did after syncing over apps and upgrading them. The large
screen on the iPad has made me want to watch a lot more video on it
than I normally would on my iPhone.

> – wary about buying e-books from iBookstore since can’t read them on other devices, even iPhone! :-/

Yep, still waiting to see how things shake out with the iBookstore.
Basically, unless the e-book in the iBookstore has a lot of extra,
enhanced content, I’ll likely just buy the book for the Kindle app. I
have invested a lot in that e-book store, and the hubby and I are
sharing books through my Amazon account.

> – now that iPad has iPhone-style auto-correction, will be even more likely to want it on MacBook

This is a little silly. 🙂 I would notice sometimes when I used my
MacBook that I’d be waiting for my spelling to be corrected
automatically, or for a period to be inserted automatically when I tap
the space bar twice. Now that the iPad has this and I can
pseudo-touch-type on it, the lack of auto-correction on my MacBook
might become more noticeable when switching back and forth.

> – Twitterrific doesn’t have Instapaper support? Quote tweets instead of straight RT?

So far, among the Twitter clients that I’ve tried on the iPad,
Twitterrific has kind of won. However, I didn’t use it on my iPhone
after a while because I realized it didn’t support Twitlonger.
Sometimes I need to say something in more than 140 characters!
However, the other Twitter apps I’ve tried — TweetDeck and
Twittelator — aren’t really catching my eye. Actually, TweetDeck
isn’t too bad, but I am kind of irritated I bought Twittelator for the
iPad. It’s a decent app on the iPhone, but the UI and layout for the
iPad is pretty wasteful, IMO. By wasteful, I mean that there is a lot
of screen real-estate that the UI doesn’t use, and the general layout
is not as useful as the other two apps. I’m really waiting for
Tweetie 2 to come out of the iPad, but I’m feeling quite impatient
about it. :-/

> – CameraBag for iPad? Yes, please!

I bought this app as soon as I saw it. I love using this app on the
iPhone, and even before the iPad came out, I was thinking about how
awesome it would be to use it on non-iPhone photos. Yes, there is a
version of CameraBag for OS X, but since there’s an iPad version, and
I am considering how feasible it would be to use the iPad as a photo
bin to offload memory cards to while out on a photo shoot, having apps
like CameraBag would be a great enhancement to the photo bin concept.
I haven’t synced photos over to the iPad yet, but I am excited to try
out CameraBag, especially since it seems that additional features are
in the iPad version. I hope they get ported back to the iPhone
version because I still use my iPhone a lot as my ultimate “toy
camera”. 🙂

> – as an aside, it is super-annoying for App Store to exit and show me an icon for the app I installed. Who cares?

This is incredibly annoying when you’re browsing the App Store and
download several apps to try. What is the point of handling app
installation this way? Ugh.

> – Netflix app is not native app, just website rejiggered to stream vids. Controls are touchy, navigating the queue and movies kept launching a movie when I was just trying to add it to the queue or see more info. The control that supposedly changes aspect ratio kicks me out and I can’t get back to the playing video.

I recently saw an article praising the Netflix streaming app for
looking just like the website. I actually really dislike that it looks
like the website and wasn’t made to have a native iPad interface.
Since it didmlook like the website, there were some website features
that I thought got translated over, but didnt quite work the same way,
like tapping the add button on an item and having a secondary set of
buttons show up to allow adding to the disc or instant queue. All of
the other devices that can do Netflix streaming — TiVo, PS3, Xbox
360, and Wii have different interfaces from the website. Why doesn’t
the iPad app? Seems a little lazy on Netflix’s part. While it’s very
cool that Netflix can stream on the iPad now, I am generally
disappointed by this app. Needs more polish.

> – Can’t seem to double-tap on vid to zoom aspect ratio in and out.

This is another Netflix-related comment. Video playback seems a bit
wonky. As I mentioned above, when I tap on the icon that would
normally toggle between letterbox and fullscreen, I instead get kicked
out of the video playback, even though I can still hear the video
playing, and couldn’t find a way to get back to the video playback. So
I basically had to either try going back to my queue, try opening the
video again, and have it resume a little after the point I got kicked
out of the playback, or just quit the app entirely. I hope fixes for
this wonkiness are forthcoming.

> – no landscape mode in Words w/Friends HD

Again, not a big deal, just noticed this. BTW, I love Words With
Friends. I am “jezlyn” there, if you want to strike up a game. 🙂

> – like that GReader loads as full page, but can’t scroll through items! Must use next/prev buttons at bottom

Actually, I found out from Steve Rubel on Twitter (IIRC) that if you
use a two-finger swipe, you can scroll through the subscription and
feed items lists. Though I’ve been really bad about keeping up with my
feeds in GReader, I am trying to figure out a better solution for both
iPhone and iPad so that I can get back into the swing of things.
NetNewsWire seems like a good app, but at $9.99 I have to think about
whether or not I’m going to get my money’s worth out of NNW. So the
GReader website is doing fine for now.

> – Safari still has random page reload issue

This is not iPad-specific. But it just seemed more apparent on the
iPad since you’re more likely to open multiple windows when browsing
with it than on the iPhone. Apple, please fix this.

> – why are there little marks on the f and g keys? Useless without tactile feel, duh.

The way I wrote this note, I seem a little more angry or irritated
about this very minor detail, but I’m not. I am a little mixed
because one the one hand, Apple is known for putting little touches
like this on their products, and I appreciate these little visual
details because it shows they care about aesthetics and making a
product that for lack of a froofy phrase, “delights the customer”,
whereas other companies just roll out assembly-line crap for a quick
money grab.

However, I just found it a little silly that these physical nubs are
meant to help a touch-typist find the home row, and obviously that
doesn’t make sense on a virtual keyboard. In general, I found this
little detail to be a little silly.

> – Gmail for iPad is okay, but I never liked how mobile Gmail kind of butchers HTML mail, so it’s a tad annoying; plus scrolling is not smooth as elsewhere.

There’s no smooth, kinetic scroll on Gmail’s mobile site. I guess
this is probably the case on the iPhone version, but the new two-pane
layout just seems to magnify this fact. Graphics in HTML mail are not
resized to fit within the frame of the message, so it looks messy in
either portrait or landscape.

I do like the updated iPad Mail app. Still wish there were a good
3rd-party app to handle Gmail more like the website, though.

> – transition from glass screen to edge is completely smooth
> – glass feels nicely slick when swiping, no excess friction

As expected, hardware design of the iPad is great. I don’t recall,
does the iPad have the same oleophobic coating as the iPhone 3GS? I
only have a 3G, so I don’t know what the oleophobic coating feels
like. I do notice that while the screen does get fingerprint-y, when
I’m using the device, it’s not really apparent, but the fingerprints
are visible when the screen is off. Either way, the slick feel of the
screen and very responsive touchscreen makes taps and swipes work very
well.

> – keep feeling like I can’t put my thumbs on the bezel because on iPhone bezel was too close to screen edge

I’m getting better about this. It’s just something to get used to in
comparison with the iPhone. Sometimes putting your fingers on the side
bezels of the iPhone would inadvertently tap something on the sides of
the screen. But obviously for the iPad you’re meant to hold the device
on the bezels.

Well, I probably have a few more notes but this post is long enough
for now. 🙂 I’ll be posting more as I try out more iPad-specific apps,
whether they’re new to the App Store, or updates to existing iPhone
apps. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or
suggestions of apps or accessories to try!

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