WiFi iPad – One Month In

I posted my initial impressions about the iPad a while back so I thought I’d take a minute to update my thoughts now that I’ve had it for exactly a month.

It’s safe to say that it’s my main Email/Twitter/News reader. Honestly, it’s my preferred method of reading just about anything. Yes, I would love to have a higher resolution screen (after reading several full books on it, the text isn’t quite a crisp as I’d like.) It’d also love for it to be about ½ of its current weight…maybe a little more. I’ve really enjoyed reading books on it – most have been programming titles from PragProg.com, but reading any kind of book should be just fine. The weight makes it a little harder to hold while you read it…at least for an extended period of time. I also end up hitting the “home” button quite a bit as I move my hand around to get a better grip. It’s not unbearably heavy, but 100 pages in or so and you’ll be getting a pretty good workout if you don’t prop it against something.

The rumors about WiFi reception are 100% true – my laptop gets a very strong signal from anywhere in my house. My iPhone gets a very good signal from anywhere – although not quite as good as the laptop. The iPad, however, has a hard time holding on to a signal when I’m in the front of the house (my main router is in the back). It usually connects, but it barely has a signal and it frequently drops out. I have a second router in the front of my house, so I can just switch to that one and things are ok – but I can see having issues in hotels or public areas where WiFi reception on laptops is less than stellar.

One of the areas the iPad really shines is photos. The LCD panel on this thing is fantastic. I didn’t think having an IPS panel would make that much difference, but it really does. I really, really enjoy looking at photos on this thing.

I bought a Pogo Stylus not too long ago. I thought it would help take notes. Technically, it does help, but it’s still nowhere close to a Wacom tablet or even a Tablet PC. Of course the iPad doesn’t support pressure sensitivity, so that’s out, but in order to minimize accidental touches, the iPad requires a pretty large area to be touched. The impact of this is that the Pogo Stylus is about as big around as the tip of my pinky…that’s not huge, but it’s large enough that it just doesn’t feel right to me. Without question, the stylus is much more accurate than a finger and drawing/writing is easier. I know a lot of people are really happy with the Pogo, but I still keep reaching for my pen & paper when I need to write something down or sketch out a quick design.

Otherwise, my initial impressions are still valid. Apps cost a lot (some are great, some not), battery life is excellent, TONS of fingerprints on the screen (only visible at an angle or while it’s off though), keyboard is serviceable to good, and the app store itself is still a bit of a jumbled mess (as far as finding apps outside the top 100 list).

I still this this device will open up a ton of new experiences and ways of interacting with a touch interface, but I’m really disappointed the Microsoft Courier and the HP Slate aren’t happening. Apple certainly has the lead on touch devices right now, but it’s always good if there is some real competition happening. Hopefully Google will come though with something slick. I really wish someone would make a tablet with capacitive multitouch + a real stylus (pressure sensitive Wacom style tech) – it just feels like the iPad would be so perfect if it had a real stylus. Oh well, maybe on version 2.0…