Saturday, May 15, 2010

iPad review

I have the good fortune of being in possession of one the first iPads in the UK, courtesy of EGM Films, with whom I am working (check out the new film due out in September - Little Town of Bethlehem). A great opportunity - I'm not sure I could have justified paying the £499 myself if it wasn't for this.

So - my device is the 32gb Wifi version and I will be mainly using it for email, productivity, some surfing but mainly as a presentation device in meetings. Setting it up in iTunes is a simple process, and I liked the fact that it DOESN'T automatically sync all the music, videos and pictures, but allows you to choose. Even with 32gb, this would fill it up before I even get chance to use it.

Setting up email accounts was incredibly simple, and I was able to set up an exchange account, two IMAP email accounts and my Mobile Me account, which immediately synchronized my calendar and contacts onto the iPad.

I have had the chance to use the device on the road and in the office over the last two weeks, and wanted to divide up how I have used it:

On the Road

I spent most of last week travelling around the UK and Ireland - at an exhibition, in meetings and in hotel rooms. I have all the trailers and various other photos and videos related to my work with EGM, and was delighted how easy it was to pop the iPad on a stand and play the video, slideshow or presentation and talk through it. One of the days I left my laptop in the hotel to see if I could cope with just the iPad and had no problems. Answering emails was simple - the on-screen keyboard was clean and responsive, and taking notes during the meeting on there was great - this was later sync'd through iTunes and I could access them on my MacBook.

Battery life was impressive - I can get two full days of working through one charge and yet it only took a few hours to charge up through the USB cable to the MacBook.

In the office and home

This week is a week at home, and I spent some time looking at productivity tools on the iPad. I have decided to implement some of the principles in Getting things Done, and decided to use the Taska app to help with this. I can link tasks not only by project, but by using tags they can be linked across projects. For example, all of my different proposals or events can be viewed at the same time even though they are listed under different projects.

I found myself working on the MacBook but using the iPad as an extension, with notes and tasks available to refer to quickly which I found helpful. When I went out, I took the iPad - I had a church meeting and a coffee with someone - made notes on it and kept up with email - which is much easier to carry.

I also downloaded the Kindle app which gives access to the whole Amazon Kindle list. I downloaded a few samples to look at and it seems a good way to read reference and non-fiction stuff, but I wouldn't use it for novels or extended reading of several hours - except perhaps when travelling.

I was expecting to be annoyed by the lack of multi-tasking - you can only have one programme open at a time. However, things such as the web browser and mail keep running in the background and you can quickly switch between them.


Great size and weight
Wonderful battery time
Efficient productivity tool
Clean interface
Good addition to a laptop
Useful Apps (recommend the iWork suite, Taska, Kindle as starters)


Expensive - the edition I have is £499 on release
Not many apps provided 'out of the box'
Not all apps available in the UK app store (I assume this will change upon UK release)
Is it just more stuff?

What are we here for?