My iPad is now a fortnight old. Having taken it to a few meetings with electronic notes or with agenda and reference documents, it does make finding things a lot easier. Its also works for handing meeting notes or reference material. Where someone is talking about a document they don’t have in front of them, it can be found, displayed, and the iPad handed to them as if it were a piece of paper. While this seems like a good idea, if that person has never used an iPad before, they will immediately get distracted as they start playing with it, and derail the meeting for around 5 minutes. Per person. At a seminar a few days ago, I was asked 7 times if that was an iPad, in probably around 7 minutes. It gets old.
One thing I would really like is a google docs for iPad either app or html5 site, which would get round the irritating problem of transferring documents. As long as it cached, the fact that theres sometimes not an Internet connection – and I’ve been in places where there was neither. I’ve used about 2mb in data, in about half a weeks work. But I suspect this week isn’t enough to tell you anything about the usage levels, because I was in heavy-wifi areas more, and used the iPad less, than I’d expect to in future. Somewhere, I have turned something on which is using battery life at about 4% per day even if its just in my bag. It’s not the 3G, as that’s been off for the last week; I wonder if it’s the push notifications for MobileMe (needed for “where’s my iPad?”, so I’m hesitant to turn that off). Although, I think the lowest battery I’ve ever had was about 30% after watching a couple of videos while crashed out on the sofa; a whole 3 feet from a power supply. Battery life is not an issue.
One thing that’s become more noticeable over the conversations over the last week is the mobile phone micro-SIM deals and impacts that might have on people who are non-technical, but are thinking of an iPad. Generally, they would all probably use the 3G. That includes professors who want tech to just work, and a colleagues mother who just wants something for email, a little bit of the web, and photos from her digital camera. As many of my colleagues spend a lot of time on trains to and from meetings in London, the thing that is currently missing is a T-Mobile microsim, the data plans for which will hopefully also give access to the t-mobile hotspots on every virgin train to and from London – and probably save money in the process. I can see that would actually both save money and increase benefit to those who spend as much time on trains with those hotspots as we do. Both on the iPad, and also when people are taking their laptops. Work ditching oracle calendar and moving to outlook, while likely to be less reliable for email, will also let people sync calendars to iPad. With the VPN as well, that should make things work pretty well wherever people are.
But, typing this on the iPad keyboard, the one thing that is starting to feel out of place in the. iPad is the on screen keyboard. Its the only bit of the UI that hasn’t been redone for the ipad, and is the same keyboard there has always been. I wonder if there’s anything coming from apple that revolutionised is that interaction method. While my typing speed on the iPad has increased, the error rate has remained rather unhelpfully high, as getting fingers slightly out of alignment and autocorrect means that there are random words appearing that then need significant retyping to correct, rather than just bits.
The most technically based user focused discussion on the
iPad is this from the Mac Power Users Podcast.