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Dave's iPad Review

May 4, 2010
Dave's iPad

Disclaimer: This review is my own personal opinion. It is my best effort to tell others how a particular product met my expectations. Comments and rebuttal are welcomed, but you will have to get your own web site to have them published. These comments are made without malice. I purchased this product at retail, just as most would do. No communication regarding this product has been made to the seller.


How did I end up with this?

I don't know! Since Ranger Bob moved and his alcohol treatment center & the Centre for Sauerkraut Studies (a.k.a. Bob's Garage) is now closed, there are no longer excuses for such behavior.

The impulse.

The coming arrival of the iPad in early April 2010 was well publicized, but to me it was a big ho-hum event. My opinion has been that Apple stuff is over priced and over controlled. Being a computer bottom price feeder (cheapskate), I felt that this was not for me!

However I do have a scapegoat for my actions. He is the famous radio podcaster Leo Laporte. Leo and Steve Gibson, the computer security expert were discussing their new iPads on a recent podcast.

When those two like something, it is time for me to take notice. Seeing the morning was still young (01:00), I waddled over to the Apple's iPad website for a look. An hour later I had plunked down my card and had one on order. This was April 9th. I ordered the wi-fi model with 16gb of memory.

When I woke up in the morning, I had a thought. It went something like this - "What the heck did I buy last night (morning)? I spent how much? Well, I will live with that and see what I get."

The journey and arrival of my iPad.

After a while, I got notice that my iPad was being shipped directly from China to my doorstep via FedEx. I spent some time tracking my package from there to here. From mainland China, it went to Hong Kong. Then on to Alaska and then down to Tennessee. The next day the fellow in the white truck was at my door with my gadget. It had arrived!

First Impressions

I quickly opened the box and took a whiff of that Chinese factory air that had been trapped inside. Those Chinese teenage slave labor workers sure did a nice job on my iPad. It has great curb appeal, just as all Apple products have.

The slightly bumpy setup.

The instructions were minimal. The screen told me that I should plug it in. I thought it was to charge the battery, but that wasn't it. It is like when a baby cries and you don't know at first which end needs attention.

I then plugged the USB cord into my computer and things started happening. I had to download iTunes, a program I really didn't want on my computer. This must be part of the well known Apple Control that I had feared. So after the 93 mb download and install (they must assume that if you are buying one of these, you have broadband), the iPad and iTunes began communicate. They wanted my Name, address, etc. Then they wanted my credit card info. Oh oh. What had gotten into? Crap!

But hey, if Steve Jobs wants it, there has to be a good reason. He is an honest person, and Apple a great company. Besides if I wanted to used my iPad, I would have to comply.

After that ordeal, all started turning brighter. I turned the iPad on and started nosing around. What a nice device! The touch screen is really great. Doing the "flick" moves the images and text on the screen. After only a short while, I became a master flicker.

Setting up the connection to my wi-fi was pretty easy. My network was seen and all I had to do was enter the router password. With the connection made, I was ready to go.

You most likely already know that there are two iPad models out now. The wi-fi only version and the one with 3G added. But since my retirement, I just sit around the house mostly. I also dislike all cell phone companies. I feel that they want to cheat you at every turn. So I will be happy using this around the house.

Did I just buy a $500 catalog?

This did hit me very early in the use of this beautiful tablet computer. While looking for apps in the app store, it seemed that at every flick and swipe, there was a pay wall. Do you want to buy a book? Do you want to buy music? Do you want to buy an app? Do you want to buy a magazine? I guess that is why they call it an App Store.

During most of the regular operation, I wasn't being asked to buy something , just at the app store. Of course, you can only add apps that are only in the app store. It is like being told you can shop anywhere you want, just so it is a Wal-Mart.

In my nearly two weeks of ownership, I have turned down all offers of Apple putting my wallet on a diet. Many items start at 99 cents, but it can all add up. I made the decision not to buy anything until at least a month had rolled by. Everything I have downloaded so far has been free.

The apps

One of my favorite places to touch on the screen is the App Store. I like seeing what is available. I now have several screens of added apps to play with. Here are some of them:

Bloomberg
CNBC rt
Skype
The Weather Channel
iBooks
Free Books
BBC News
My Congress
Morningstar
Accu-Weather
WeatherBug
The Onion
Yahoo! Entertainment
Deutsche Bahn Navigator
Deutsche Welle News Portal
Newsy
And more…

What I like about this product.

The look and feel is great. The screen flick, swipe and tap all work great. This computer seems to know what I want to do. The keyboard is nice too. I really don't like virtual keyboards, but it was required here and it works well.

The wi-fi distance is reasonably good. I can just about make it to my neighbors house before I lose the signal.

The battery life is very good per charge. A larger capacity battery does add weight to the iPad, but the right combination of weight, size and battery life were carefully chosen. Whether the battery is fully charged or only has 10% left, the weight of the iPad remains the same.

The closed system can go both ways. I like the idea of the closed system because the apps are vetted. Bad stuff isn't going to land on my iPad. I am tired of others ruining my pleasure. There is no maintenance such as anti virus scanners and malware software to run. I do feel secure.

What I don't like about this product.

Of course, the people during the old Soviet government times probably also felt very secure too. Sometimes too much nanny can be a bad thing. This is something that I will have to evaluate for myself and you for yourselves.

I can offer a tip: Don't buy their $40 case as I did. You will find cases that are better and cheaper coming out of the woodwork soon.

There isn't a lot that I dislike about the iPad. It is a tablet computer done right!

Anything Missing?

Yes, flash support is missing as well as the multitasking feature. However, it is agreed by the experts that flash is a security risk. Flash also discharges the battery quicker. Multitasking would be very nice. I could let Skype run in the background waiting for a call. But multitasking shortens the battery lifetime per charge too.

Conclusions

Is this for you? I wouldn't be for knowing. I am not sorry that I bought mine. Did I really need it? Heck no, but it is nice to sit on my couch flicking away the evening. I don't have much else to do besides write these web pages.

After many tries over the years, the iPad is the first success of the mobile tablet computing environment. The iPad is full featured and is not at all sluggish. Some reviewers have said that the iPad was able to replace their notebook computer.

There will no doubt be many more tablet computers made. The iPad has caused some makers to rethink their product that were slated to come to market soon. Apple has raised the bar.

We'll see what others decide to do. I'm sure there will be Windows, Linux and Android based tablet computers. The market place will be yours! So don't jump right away, but also don't stay too far behind. If you keep waiting for the newest model, you will never own anything.

Updates

To follow as needed.