2 posts categorized "iPad"

06/15/2010 My First Week with the iPad

I've had my iPad for a week now and I'm surprised and delighted in how I'm using this new device.  Its very different from most of the other devices and machines I've used. However, it's not perfect and from a marketing standpoint, the iAd isn't quite revolutionizing the space.

A Sharing Device

I had read reports of how having an iPad caused people to gather around it. I wasn't sure whether that was due to its newness or its functionality.  One of the biggest differences between an iPad and either a smart phone or a computer is that I've been sharing my actual use and experience with it with others. I find that I don't do this once in a while; I do this for almost half the time I use it.

I'm watching movies with my kids (via the great NetFlix app), or reading news media with my wife, or playing games together with my kids. I've never experienced a "two-person" computer before. With the desktop or laptop, you can look together for a while, but it usually lasts only a short while. Togetherness on an iPhone usually means a glance.

On the iPad, however, we're sitting down together to read, look at pictures, watch and play. From a game standpoint, it's like a good mini board or video game, with your fingers as the controllers. From a movie or pictures standpoint, the quality on the screen is so much better than I expected (and photos on the iPad from a news standpoint blow away everything else). 

I usually hate sharing a magazine or newspaper with someone else (while I'm reading it). But not the iPad. It seems natural to do so.

Close Encounters

Another thing I'm noticing about the iPad is the closeness I feel when I use it. There's a physical distance between you and the computer. There's no distance between you and your mobile phone.

I like the distance between the iPad and me. It's at arms length, a very natural distance for me. Like most other media I've grown up using. It feels very close and personal for a device, much more so than the iPhone. Maybe it's wrong to compare it to a phone, but it's hard not to.

Compared with a computer it feels vastly more personal, like wise compared with a TV. Watching a film feels almost private. I watched "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" with my son on the bed this week and we both felt luxurious. Yes, the screen was smaller, but I think we both saw this as almost a private screening, rather than a matinee.

Maybe the feeling of closeness has to do with the fact that I'm not stuck in my computer chair when I'm watching something, nor tied down to one room. It is a very mobile device.

The iAd

When you start calling things "The Jesus Tablet" you build up expectations. I had/have big expectations for the iAd, especially after reading about the vision for what the format might do for online advertising. The media has these expectations as well as they try to figure out how to make more money through online advertising.

From a format perspective, it has some great promise. Look at this page from the New York Times app. We're not talking about an ignorable web ad in odd shapes, cluttering up a page. This looks much more like a magazine ad, with a great visual as part of the reading experience. It makes you want to do something with the ad. So far this is a vast improvement on the web from a layout standpoint.

However, the actual functionality of most of the iPad ads I played with was very disappointing. These banners in the New York Times allowed me to see different watches, albeit with a cool transition. I don't think this is much of an immersive experience or one that provides me with valuable information or interaction. Other ads were worse, on a variety of other media apps (Wall St. Journal, Time) as they simply launched a Web browser. 

Actually, that is worse than current online advertising. At least there I can close a tab and go back to browsing, but on the iPad I have to quit out of Safari and then relaunch my previous app.

Oh, and I was hoping so much that this would be better. Unfortunately, I think a multitasking feature is going to make this worse. I would rather see rich media, immersive experiences without leaving my app. I hope this gets better.

First Week Conclusion

As a media consumption device, the iPad is something new, just like the iPhone before it. It clearly shows that we're moving into an era of mobile computing where mobile does not just mean a phone. When you start to think about cloud computing and SaaS models, the iPad starts to give a meaning and structure to various trends; we can start to see how this may play out.

I'm taking the iPad out on the road over the next few weeks. I hope it is fairly functional as a working device. Otherwise, its usefulness might be limited to home entertainment.

01/29/2010 The iPad: We Hate it When We're Right

Apple finally announced the iPad and the frenzy leading up to the event was quickly replaced with people declaring it a disappointment or a success. There seems to be a lot of disappointment because everyone's expectations were sky high. When you've labeled something "the Jesus tablet" there's nowhere to go but down.

As I look, from afar without having even touched one, I think Apple has finally delivered a great mobile media device, one that us techies and experts have predicted would show up at one time or another. And now that it's here, just like we said, we don't know what to make of it.

Mobile Media
The fact that we can access and consume media from everywhere is great. The problem is that it's not much fun to watch a video, look at pictures or read an online newspaper on your phone. It works, but it's not great. You could do all of these things on your laptop, but it's big, somewhat cumbersome, and not always conducive for the media at hand.

The iPad fills the niche of performing all of those tasks neatly. The biggest piece might be the reading one: Reading a book, newspaper or Web site on your laptop or phone is sub-par at best. When you combine the capability of a Kindle with good video and key user functionality you have something you can't get anywhere else.

Will people buy this to consume media? I think they will because it looks like the iPad will make an easier and more comfortable consumption. I can even see reading or watching in bed, something I rarely do with my iPhone or laptop.

The promise of the iPad is that it will add a layer of interactivity onto content. We haven't seen in yet, but you can bet people will find a way to get creative on this one. It's the functionality and ease of use of the device that's key here. Interactive TV isn't coming soon because who the heck wants to play around with TV programs? Somehow TV is just not a Wii, even if it's the same screen.

The size and proximity of the user makes interactive content and advertising much more interesting. The closeness of the tablet with touch control might be the biggest advantage. Built in control of the media is another. Watch for this to explode. Just like we didn't see the App wave coming until it was upon us, I think the same thing will happen, in one way or another, with the iPad interactivity.

Just like the iPod, the iPad will be easy to move around. It'll be easy to carry on a plane or prop up in the kitchen (and remember those tiny TVs people used to have in their kitchens? Gone). Just wait for those cool iPad carriers too.

Most of the complaints have come from people who say the iPad didn't fill an expected need. But Apple and Steve Job's brilliance has always come by creating something we didn't yet know we needed.

Just remember, it took Jesus almost 300 years to become "successful." I'll bet in another three, at most, we'll look at the iPad as another winner.


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