Technically Geeking: This Was Written On My iPad Apr14

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Technically Geeking: This Was Written On My iPad

a blogumn by Justin Time

This is a test. I’m composing this from the BlogPress app for iPad. As someone who thought the iPad could potentially change the computer you put in your carry-on, the computer you buy for your grandma, and the computer you use when you are not working, I felt it necessary to give it a shot at writing an article. And you know what? It’s not half bad.*

So after about a week with the iPad, I have to say it’s not everything I’d hoped for, but I’m not about to return it either. Here’s the skinny on the “magical” device, and hopefully this will help you decide if the features available right now are worth it to you.


iBooks is awesome. I haven’t used a Kindle, but I have bought Kindle books for the iPhone, and the iBooks shopping experience is light years better. It’s like iTunes for Books, so of course it looks great, and you can download samples to read (about 60 pages worth). You can also download a fair amount of free books – public domain scans of classics from the likes of Henry James and friends. I bought Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and I’m enjoying it. The ability to search for anything within a book, define words on the spot, and highlight text for bookmarking mean this thing is going to be huge for students. I wish I was back in college with digital access to all the books in the library.

Games are amazing. There aren’t enough good options yet, but after spending many hours playing Real Racing HD, Flight Control HD, and CastleCraft, I have a feeling I will be using the iPad more for games than for books.

Typing in landscape is pretty decent. When in landscape mode, and if the device is tilted toward you, and if you modify your touch typing method so you keep a better eye on where you tap, it’s pretty fast. I’m more prone to make a mistake than on a real keyboard, but it’s way better than typing on an iPhone. It also has spell check, so incorrect words are underlined and tapping them gives you suggestions. That combined with the auto-correct functionality of the iPhone OS makes for a sophisticated word processor. I’m typing this right now on a an Apple bluetooth keyboard with the case upright so it almost looks like a weird two-piece laptop. This is better than using the keyboard dock, which I’ll talk about later.

It’s a great travel computer. The TSA ruled this week that iPads do not have to come out of your carryon for airport screening! It is lightweight, has incredible battery life, and fits nicely on the seat tray.


Slippery. I’m not a fan of cases for iPhones, as I like the device to slide out of my pocket easily, but the iPad is so large that its svelte-ness makes it hard to handle without a case. I like the Apple case, whose cover folds back to make it stand nicely in three useful positions. It’s well made, and it has the texture of a nice rubbery portfolio.

Keyboard Dock sucks. I was excited about the iPad as a laptop replacement when I travel, especially since my laptop is a 7-pound behemoth. So I pre-ordered the keyboard dock. Well, it arrived and a) it weighs a ton, b) it can only be used in portrait mode, and c) its a tight fit that doesn’t allow the iPad to be seated while wearing its case. This is a real problem because the case is really useful when not in the dock and it’s really inconvenient to get on and off. So save $70 and don’t get the keyboard dock. Get a bluetooth keyboard instead if you want – it’s lightweight, very portable, and allows you to use the iPad in landscape as well as portrait.

Missing Apps! Everyone is calling it a giant iPhone without a phone, and that is true (as well as irrelevant) except it’s missing more than that. I guess they just couldn’t get them ready for HD in time, but I hope they will return the missing built-in apps from iPhone like Clock, Weather, Stocks, Calculator and Voice Memos. You’d think an alarm clock would be useful to include on a device designed to sit on your bedside table!

Still want one? If so, there are 6 models to choose from – 16GB, 32GB or 64GB  for memory size – and – Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G for connectivity. Prices range from $499 (16GB Wi-Fi only) to $829 (64GB with Wi-Fi + 3G). I got and recommend getting the base model and here’s why:

1. This is the first generation. There will be a better and possibly cheaper version in about a year, and you will want that one even more. Remember the iPhone – $599 at launch, now it can be had for $99.

2. You don’t need all that disk space. Don’t put any music on the iPad – use Pandora instead. It has way more music than you ever will. Save the space for your applications and videos. 16GB will be enough.

3. You may not need the 3G. At first, I thought I wanted the 3G. The “breakthrough” pay-as-you go service allows you to turn it on when you are traveling and turn it off when you get home so you don’t pay all the time for a limited use feature. Seems great, but I realized that for most scenarios where I would use the iPad when travelling, I could buy Wi-Fi service for much less money. For example, Boing has a Wi-Fi Credits app that let’s you buy smaller increments of Wi-Fi service – just $1.99 per hour. That’s a lot cheaper than paying $12.99 for 24 hours of service of which I will use at most 2 hours. And they give you a free hour!

So the bottom line is… you don’t need an iPad. But you know you want one.

*Disclaimer: I wrote the whole thing on the iPad, but I finished it up on the laptop so I could add links and images. Also, I’m not sure if it was a bug or something I did wrong, but the BlogPress app only uploaded 2/3 of my text to the site, so I had to retype the end. And then I discovered that WordPress has their own app. I should have tried that!