Apple’s iPad was released today in Canada an I gave the device some 20 minutes of my time at the local Apple store to convince me to buy one. All the hype during the last days had certainly done its part to get me into the store, so I was looking forward to give the iPad a try.
While there are a couple of things that stand out such as the screen quality and responsiveness to touch input in the preloaded demo photo gallery, there were many little issues that I felt would only get worse if I had used the device for a longer time:
- The photo gallery is only really responsive when images are pre-scaled to something close to the screen size. I had gotten suspicious after noticing that all preloaded demo photos get blurry quickly when zooming in. Going on the web and downloading two 8 megapixel sample photos from photography sites, I noticed a drastic reduction in performance of the photo gallery when switching between photos or zooming in. I assume this would be the same if I had loaded photos from my own camera onto the device. Not exactly worth $600+.
- I found the book reader to be much slower than expected. Flipping forward a couple of pages and the screen stayed empty for what felt like three seconds. In addition, typography folks are saying that Apple could have done a much better job at choosing fonts and at layouting the text. This was not an issue for me when reading a few paragraphs in the store but it sounds like it would become one after prolonged use.
- The go-to-homescreen-then-start-a-new-app metaphor of “multitasking” feels like a straightjacket to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it seemed like I was closing apps all the time.
- The device is way too heavy. It looks great and light but it is not. Think holding a department store catalog in one hand for 20 minutes.
- Except for photos and address book contacts, everything and anything on the device hints at further content that should be bought or purchased. Based on what I’ve seen, Apple is not matching my price expectations and it certainly doesn’t look like they will let any significant number of alternative content vendors make offers on the platform.
Finally, I decided to end my trial when I crashed the photo browser while scrolling and zooming around in one of the large photos I had downloaded and moments later the entire iPad rebooted when I did the same with two of the large photos.
Ergo, the iPad is not for me and especially not at this price. I will check again in half a year what the market has to offer.