iPhone Life magazine

The skeptic's iPad review

I am on record as having some reservations about this new device so I am obliged to give credit where it is due.

This thing is fast... zippy even! I never would have said that about my netbooks, one of which I sold to make room for the iPad that I am typing this on. I am sure there will be frustrations, such as when I visit a website that requires Flash or if I have to type at length, but so far I do not feel as if I am missing out on anything, even as I type this on my iPad. I am getting faster at typing with this virtual keyboard. The trick is to make a leap of faith and trust the autocorrection. And find a comfortable way to hold the iPad.

The device is heavier than I expected. Heavy may not be the right word. It has more heft. It is substantial. My iPhone 3G makes me miss the metal back of my original iPhone. When Apple switched to a plastic back, the phone felt more disposable, like a toy. I hope Apple brings the iPad's aluminum back to the next iPhone.

Apple has removed screen protectors from their stores. Apparently they interfere with the new oleophobic covering. But it is clear (pun intended) to me that I will need a screen protector. This thing has my fingerprints all over it! I just want one that doesn't interfere with gestures as some screen protectors do.

I also need a case. Apple offers one and it's decent but I know a whole slew of vendors will be offering a variety of cases. I would like one with a built in handle so I can pickup and go. For now, I will use an old netbook sleeve. By the way, its interesting that the iPad's built-in dictionary doesn't recognize "netbook" as a word.

I am glad I got an iPad when I did, since I am a developer and I need to be able to test my apps. In fact, within an hour of owning the iPad, I had submitted an update to my AutoTTS app, based on my first chance at on-device testing! We all know that images can become jaggy when enlarged, but the iPad was actually rendering larger images (512x512) poorly when scaled down (100x100). If you notice fuzzy images in apps or icons, this is likely why. So, a few minutes with Photoshop, and all was resolved! But if I had waited for a 3G, I might not have noticed this, until the reviews poured in!

But it is becoming apparent that a 3G version will be desirable. As I type this, in my in-law's home, I have no WiFi access. I can use my iPhone to get my email and browse the web but I can see how this will be an issue. It would not surprise me if AT&T offers a subsidized 3G model, removing the $130 premium, if users sign up for a one year contract. That would make me upgrade. But for now, my iPhone is always with me.

After the iPad's announcement, I wrote about being disappointed that there was no camera in the iPad. I am confident there will be one in future models, but I am finding that there are so many other features and uses for this device that I will be happily entertained in the interim. For example, I hope to read more books thanks to the elegant Books app! But without a standard keyboard, I certainly won't be typing any books on this! I have an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard which I prefer to the keyboard dock which doesn't offer multiple angles or fold up for transport. Again, I expect third parties to fill in some of the gaps.

I also complained initially about the lack of full multitasking capabilities. But I started this by writing about how zippy the experience is. Perhaps that is the tradeoff and I don't want a slow gadget, so I will accept this limitation for now. I hope the A4 chip, found in the iPad, makes it's way into the next iPhone so that will be faster too!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is founder of No Tie Software, an app developer specializing in Ringtones and Sound FX including AutoRingtone.

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip, but over the years, Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62.

In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.