I finally took a little time to try and put an Apple iPad through its paces.
There are a few things you notice in the first few hours of use:
- Strangely, the gesture-based interfaces are inconsistent within Apple software applications on the iPad. One simple example is scrolling right or left with the familiar drag of the finger across the screen. It works as expected in Photos but not at all in Calendar. (You have to actually click on the day, week or month desired.) In iTunes one has to click on the left or right arrow to scroll. At this point in time it’s just plain bizarre that the navigation, especially the calendar, would be so non-intuitive and not take advantage of the common touch and gesture interfaces.I’d say that these are relatively minor issues but they creepily remind me of the inconsistencies that became a standard feature of Microsoft products. Having three different interfaces for moving right or left in three common applications from the same software company on their own device, is not good.
- The lack of multi-tasking is much more noticeable on an iPad. Even though there is no technical reason for thinking this way, a larger device just feels like it should be able to do more. Some critics have pointed out that the iPad is just a “big iTouch,” which is not really accurate, but the lack of multi-tasking makes it feel clunky when doing multiple things at once – which is the norm these days. This should be addressed later in the year when the new OS comes to the iPad in Q3.
This testing is from the perspective of a casual user rather than a “toy geek’s” – we didn’t research each point to see if there might be tricks or workarounds because a consumer product experience should be based on casual rather than ninja user expertise.
These may be minor issues for now. I do find the software inconsistencies a little troubling though. For now let’s just say these will evolve in the right direction, especially with the OS release this year. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, the iPad appears to be crushing competition in tablet space as demand for the WiFi and 3G models remains strong and Windows-based systems look lame. The iPad adds to an already dominating franchise in the Mobile Internet space for Apple. It’s too early to say that models based on ChromeOS or Android won’t be serious competition. Haven’t seen them yet though…
[Disclosure: Apple is in the R2 Model Portfolio and the author also owns shares personally at the time of this writing.]