Apple iPad Review Part 1 – The Ultimate Getting Things Done Efficiently Machine

What Tablet PC iPad Review

Apple have a tight control on what you can and can’t do with an iPad – I’m getting used to it and it actually makes it a better device for getting things done.

I’m over 6 months in to using the iPad now and it’s time to weigh up how I use it, what I like and don’t like. The first thing to address is the ongoing debate about how Apple sell you the iPad but then restrict what you can manipulate on it and the software you’re allowed to run on it without jail-breaking the device and voiding the warrantee.

I own an iPad because of the core tasks that it’s designed to do – email, stream and download video, read my news feeds, browse the web, keep up on twitter and facebook, download games and apps, and browse my photos. All of these it does without a hitch. The iPad does what it says it can do and does it well. For me it’s not a replacement for a laptop but I use it for consuming content. It doesn’t offer endless options but it’s not advertised in this way. I don’t want to be thinking about getting the device to work, I want that to be taken care of so I can think about the content I’m consuming.

Update 1st March 2011 – Check out the latest iPad 1 Review.

iPad displaying Guardian website

Why I like that the Apple iPad eco-system is closed and controlled

  1. I like tidy – the simple, clutter free interface doesn’t allow you to splatter your home screen with files of all different types like Windows traditionally does. I like this, although it may be a touch OCD, ultimately they’re forcing me to be organised and stay clutter free. Every icon on that interface has a use.
  2. I like knowing I’m using a device as well as the next person – other tablet PCs have more ‘open’ operating systems, the device is only limited by a users technical ability. What this means is that advanced users can do super-whizzy stuff that most average users wouldn’t be able to set-up. On the iPad, because of the restrictive nature of the eco-system, any user can download any of the Apple approved apps so as long as you take some time to work out how the app works then pretty much everyone can get the same out of it – a win for those non-techy people.
  3. I don’t want huge amounts of endless choice – lots of choice usually leads to procrastination on what option to choose, taking more time to choose and reducing efficiency. With the iPad, you’re largely restricted to music, video, podcasts and apps in iTunes. You can watch a few non-iTunes movies or tracks but ultimately these need to be played via another app so choice is still limited. This isn’t a bad thing. Reducing options allows quick decision making and given most of the reduced options cover the average correct decision – you get to where you would have got anyway.
  4. I want everything on one device – I have much of my music, video, podcasts, apps linked into iTunes anyway due to owning an iPhone. Having one eco-system avoids having to get hold of lots of different formats.
  5. I don’t want buggy software – Apple check what they’re running through the App Store so you know it’s going to work well. If you download an application directly off the internet on Windows then you have no idea if that software will work well, that the user interface has been thought through and you won’t end up with something that conflicts with another piece of software and falls over.
  6. I don’t want virus and firewall headaches – Running everything through iTunes means Apple have run checks and managed the vast majority of malware out of the process. I’m sure it’s still possible for some underhand tactics but these risks are greatly reduced. Windows bears the brunt of most viruses and so your forced to load virus and firewall software which often slows down the system.
  7. I just want it to be intuitive and easy to use – Apple’s trademark focus on usability is obvious in the iPad. I have a short attention span for instructions – Once you get the hang of the iPad you pretty much can work out how to do most things it’s capable of without digging into lots of instructions.
  8. I don’t want a wait to boot up – most times you just want to jump on the internet to look something up or check email or facebook. I don’t want to have to wait a few minutes for my laptop to boot up. The iPad solves this problem – it’s always on.
  9. I am time starved – I just want something that works and does what it says it will – I don’t want to spend hours trying to work out how to fix things or work out how to do things.

Ultimately, I just want a tablet PC that works, I don’t want bells and whistles that I may use once a year. The iPad fills this requirement, it does what it says it will and does it very well.

iPad 2 Wish List – Coming next week

Next week we’ll look at what’s missing on the iPad and what my wish-list would be for the 2nd generation iPad. If you have anything to add to this debate, let me know in the comments.

For more information and user reviews on the iPad check out the full US Apple iPad specs and reviews or the UK Apple iPad reviews.

Image source: Apple

Update 1st March 2011 – Check out the latest iPad 1 Review.


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