07/05/2010

Initial iPad thoughts

The iPad eventually arrived and it was duly unboxed and charged. Of course it wont do anything until you've plugged it into a PC or Mac and linked it to iTunes. Once that's done you can decide what to copy across (address book, calendar, photos and all the normal iTunes music/videos etc).

Using the iPad wirelessly it wont connect to the UK app store (but you can purchase items from the UK store using iTunes on the desktop, unfortunately not all items are available yet such as Keynote, Pages etc).

The screen in incredibly crisp and bright. The default background has some streaks across the sky and they look like the glass is scratched (so much so I assumed it had been damaged in transit). However when the screen was rotated, the 'scratches' moved with the screen, which was a relief.

The iPad can also suck all your email settings from iTunes and it's all very intuitive to use. Reading HTML mail is a joy and being able to pinch and stretch the mail to look at a graphic and then flick it back to the original size or flicking your finger to scroll really works well. When eBooks are available in the UK they'll probably be just as easy and very readable.

The only major flaw with the iPad is the WiFi, it does seem to have problems maintaining a decent connection. Trying to use BT Openzone in a Starbucks failed completely. You can connect to BT Openzone, click on the Starbucks section, enter your login details and 'login' then nothing. It just hangs there with the browser frozen. Using the home button or cancel (if cancel works) jumps you back, but the WiFi disconnects. It seems this has been reported by others and no one has come up with a fix (maybe because iPads aren't meant to be officially in the UK yet, so BT are ignoring the issue?).

However there's one service that may genuinely be THE service which makes the iPad amazing and that's TVcatchup.com it's a free service which gives access to 40 channels of UK television (and lots of radio too). They'll be HD channels coming too soon. Suddenly the iPad is a great little TV that is usable anywhere and the quality is pretty astounding for something that's streamed. There's potential issue with respect to the legality of the service, but while it's there everyone should be using it.

Watching videos is also a joy (purchased or rented via the iTunes store or from elsewhere). Any airline not thinking of loaning iPads to business and first class passengers needs their heads examining, the quality is just so much better than the in-flight entertainment systems. It much be possible for them to locally have movies which passengers download to their iPads during the flight and can watch. Of course the iPad also is the Email client, word processor and whatever other functions business travellers want.

Apple need to fix the WiFi, but it's a great device. Just need to get a 3G version now (and do the downsizing of the 3G SIM card as has been done here.
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