Sunday, April 04, 2010

Consume Not Create - The iPad media device

People who know me know that I like screens. I have five screens at my desk at work and two in my home office. I learned a long time ago that I was more productive when everything is visible and I don't have to switch back and forth between applications. I often quote this Microsoft research that says you are 9 to 50 percent more effective with multiple screens so my IT department will let me have another display. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to buy an iPad, I thought of it as another way to make me more productive.

After an exciting morning at the Palo Alto Apple store, I fired up the iPad and began "being productive." I was truly amazed at the speed and sharpness of the images. Like the iPhone, I naturally knew how to move the screen, change pages and navigate. The biggest moment occurred Sunday morning when I opened up the New York Times on the iPad. I had the device in front of me as I ate, like the paper, and I was able to click through and quickly find stories, like the Web site. Consuming media was much easier and enjoyable from my couch without my fire-hot MacBook Pro on my legs. Facebook is a lot of fun when you are casually browsing it on the iPad. My iPhone screen is too small to navigate Facebook well (even with the app) and my laptop is awkward. I'm sure I'll consume a lot of media with the iPad and enjoy it more.

My experience with being productive went very differently. As soon as I started to write email messages, everything fell apart. I only have two days using the keyboard, but it is completely impossible to type on at a decent clip. I don't look at the keyboard when I type and I have to rest my fingers on the keys. With a touch-sensitive keyboard you can't do that. Your fingers have to hover above the keys and there are no physical cues to guide you. The keyboard experience is exactly like that of your phone - you can type if you watch the keys and you can only type short messages. The only answer is a physical keyboard. I'm happy to see that Apple has that coming soon.

The device is a brilliant work of art that I believe will set the bar for any company that wants to compete in the tablet space. I've had it for two days and it is already changing the way I consume media. Unfortunately, I'll have to do my content creation on the laptop. The good news is that now I have a sixth screen for my desk.


Louis Gray said...

That matches my thoughts from the end of January.

iPad Wins On Casual Computing, Content Consumption

I haven't written up my experiences yet. Too busy and using the other devices mostly so far. Soon.

Matthew said...

You know, from what you have said the iPad just sounds like an over sized iPod Touch. Its just a reader. I'm a big believer in integrated devices and all that jazz (I just got an android phone, and I'm loving it), but it would seem to me that the iPad is too underpowered to be a laptop and too big to be a phone/portable device. Not to tear you down... I'm just saying, in my opinion this is something that only members of the "Church of Apple" will really be interested in.

Travis said...

Matthew - I'd agree that it is a big iTouch. The differences is that it is really hard to watch, read and use an iTouch for media. You have to have a big screen to do those things. It isn't under powered. The iPad is much faster than my laptop at the things it is doing and the touch interface is very natural. The question in my mind is the price - is it worth the big price for the big (wonderful) screen?

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