By now, you’ve probably read glowing review after glowing review of the iPad by tech columnists, but I want to share my experiences with you when I get my iPad.
I will not have received an iPad for free, nor will I be testing it out as my job for a news outlet or tech blog. Rather I paid for my iPad, and I want to see how it can help me in my life and with my work.
Can I stop carrying my laptop every day? Was this worth how much it costs? How is it as a work tool? How is it at home after working at a computer all day long? Is it light enough that just about every time I leave the house I’ll want to bring it with me, just in case?
With that in mind, I’m devising a way to test the iPad and would appreciate your help.
Here are some things you need to know about me and my life
- I live in Maryland and work in Virginia. I do not own a car. You can guess how I spend a lot of my time. I’m often on trains, where I do work on my laptop.
- I spend a lot of time walking around, often with a Macbook. It’s heavy and it doesn’t startup that quickly (at least not quickly enough that I would consider using it without thinking about it first).
- My favorite past time is wasting time on the Internet. I often sit on my couch with my laptop or in a recliner.
- I work on the Web for a living. Specifically I spend a lot of time on social networks and on my company’s custom social network for conservationists, RarePlanet.Org.
- I receive a lot of e-mail.
- I like to go to coffee shops and just hang out around town.
- I like to blog in my spare time. I also blog for work, sometimes while riding on a train.
- I do a lot of reading, particularly of Web sites. I also read books and magazines.
- Netflix streaming, Hulu and TED more than make up for my lack of cable.
Why did I preorder an iPad?
I preorded the iPad before any reviews came out because I was not enjoying my current situation. My laptop weighs 5.2 pounds. The charger isn’s particularly light either. My Mifi is pretty light but with its charger and cable to hook it up to my laptop in case its battery dies, it starts to add to my already heavy pack. Then I bring a liter of water with me for my commute in an aluminum bottle. I also pack my lunch and usually have at least one book and one magazine with me.
I could replace all of that, except for the food and water, with the 1.6 pound 3G iPad. Instead of using a backpack, I could go back to using a messenger bag. And while my Macbook is fine for use on the larger Marc commuter train, it is too unwieldy to use on the metro.
And after lugging my laptop to and from work, I almost never want to take it to coffee shops or anywhere else. It is basically either used at home or on the way to work.
What do you want to know about the iPad?
- Is it a better day-to-day experience than my laptop? Can I do real work with it on my way to and from work?
- Can I unwind with it on my train ride home from work?
- How is reading books and other long form content on it? I’m skeptical about reading a book on an LCD screen.
- Is this a better pleasure device than a laptop or desktop? While I do enjoy reading Web sites and watching video with my laptop and desktop, neither is a great pleasure device. There is still a bit of a work feel to them.
- And, of course, was it worth how much money I spent on it?
How will I go about figuring this out?
I’m going to test the core components of the device and see how I like them separately. How is watching video on it? How about reading? How about sufring the video?
My rubric so far (and I want your help)
- Web sites — I frequent a lot of blogs and news Web sites (and I live in Google Reader). How is this experience? Is it a more immersive experience than sitting at a desk with a computer? How is it without Flash support? I’m going to try nytimes.com, bbcnews.com, nationalgeographic.com, economist.com, guardian.co.uk and maybe a few others. Those are my favorite news sites. I’ll also try blogs like TechCrunch and TreeHugger. Is the iPad better or worse for my favorite sites?
- Video — I’m going to download UP in HD. It’s one of my favorite movies ever, and I have seen it in theaters in 3D, on DVD and on Blu Ray. I know what it can look like. How is the experience on the iPad?
- Video games — I do play video games from time to time, and I do own a Nintendo DS. I haven’t really touched the DC since I purchased my iPhone about two years ago. I would imagine that the iPad is an even better portable gaming device than a smartphone. I want to test this hypothesis out. I don’t have any specific games in mind yet. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
- Book — I don’t read books as much as I read news, but I still read a bit. And I am quite skeptical about reading on an LCD screen for extended periods of time. And I know you can’t really read an LCD in direct sunlight. I believe I am going to read Food Rules as my first E-Book on the device. It’s a shorter, lighter book. If I can get through that, I’ll select a bigger, denser book. But if 112 pages of lighter reading is a chore, I’ll have a good gauge on the iPad’s capabilities as an E-Reader.
- iPad specific apps — I have no interest in putting the paces on iPhone apps on the iPad. I want to know how native apps behave. Are they materially better than iPhone apps? I’m eagerly awaiting OmniOutliner and OmniFocus for the iPad. Both are strong productivity apps. If they work well that will be big.
- On the go — I spend a lot of my life outside of my house. How is it at the coffee shop? On the train? In a park? In a car?
- At home — I have a desktop and a laptop at home. Will this make me want to use them less or will I want to put my iPad away when I am at home?
- Will I want to cancel my newspaper and magazine subscriptions — I hate the clutter of newspapers and magazines, but like the experience (at least on weekends). Can the iPad inspire me to go print-free?
- Can I sell an existing computer — Will the iPad allow me to get rid of my laptop? Or is this another device in my life?
What else would you like to see?
I want to put the iPad through every day use. Let me know what you’d like me to test, and I can let you know how that works.
Judging by the early reviews, I think I’m going to really like the iPad. But liking something and something being worth your money and time are two different things. Was this a wise purchase? Will I be able to leave my laptop at home? Will I be able to sell my laptop?
These are the real questions that need to be answered.