Its been a few months since i wrote a review of my iPad, so i though with light of Apple’s recent announcements of an 11” MacBook Air i would write a follow up with my thoughts on the iPad in the context of my usage patterns.
In short, i love my iPad but there are some issues with the form factor for my current use cases.
So, why the glum face?
So, you may be asking, if i loved the iPad so much a few months back, well what has changed? In truth, not that much, i suppose mostly my free time and my energy levels!
I have just restarted university studies ‘full time’ while also running + Lion (mostly also full time) so i am finding myself with less free time for the iPad. I have traditionally used my ‘free time’ two ways, once the housework and related tasks are out the way i use to have time online in a social context (MSN) often combined with research / news / buying presents etc, and then once this was done i had time that i could spend on myself, reading, watching films and the like. Its this last part of free time which i am currently lacking.
Thats the free time i was using the iPad in. I mostly used it for catching up on RSS for bed, general browsing (sofa surfing!) and for filling in dead time. I just don’t have that dead time anymore! To further compound matters, about 3 weeks ago i lost a wifi connection at home as well.
So with that explanation over, what have i learnt about the iPad? Well, primarily in its current guise (without 4.2 though i will get to that in a moment) and its current set up its not that suited to the way i use a lot of time spare time. For everything but MSN the iPad performs very very well, but for performing those tasks alongside MSN the iPad is outperformed by my old white MacBook even though the battery is long dead.
You didn’t use it for that before?
The lack of wifi has changed how i have used the iPad, i no longer have it set up to focus on ‘connected apps’ such a twitter, RSS and the like. For the little use i have had on it i have instead focused on device content which can be consumed quickly.
For example using it for background audio, for looking at photos (as a photo frame mostly) and watching short episodes of TV recording on eyeTV and streamed over my non web connected local network.
I have also been rereading articles in wired (10 mins before bed) and of course on a few occasions have used it for AAC.
So whats this about the MacBook Air?
Due to one thing or another, i ended up with the 64gb wifi ipad for the best part of £600. Apple do not offer educational pricing on the iPad. In many ways this was justifiable simply through work, as part of my work i need to be able to test on the iPad, not to mention the skills i have learnt developing for it. So the iPad, in my case, has paid for itself.
However, if it were today and i was in the same position, wanting to separate my work and home computing, i am unsure i would take the iPad route. Not with the new 11” MacBook Air.
For starters, the 11” MBA on education pricing is around £730. Which is only £130 more than the iPad. However, unlike the iPad i could have written this post using it. I could also use it for MSN and use it where i currently use my white MacBook.
However, the iPad does many things that i would not use the MBA for. For example, the deep chill out things (i hate laptops in bed), as a portable AAC, on trains and in cars, or for ebook reading.
Its a tough one.
You said about 4.2?
Ah, yes, earlier i said i would come back to iOS 4.2. this use due for the iPad in the next few months and brings with it multitasking and folders and a range of other improvements. I have high hopes for iOS 4.2 if it can solve the MSN problem and ability to do other things while waiting for responses then it could just make the iPad fit in a new a different way for me.