I spent the weekend with the 3rd generation iPad. My tablet experience has been limited to limited exposures with other people’s iPad 2s and my brother’s HP Touch Pad running both Web OS and both Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich versions of Android.
With that in mind, I’m going to dedicate today’s post to run down some of my first impressions of Apple’s latest and greatest.
I chose white because I thought it would work better with my Macbook Air and its aluminum body. I also chose white because I will be spending more time browsing webpages than watching letter boxed movies.
Thin & Somewhat Light
I’m fine with the thickness of the device. It’s considerably thinner than the HP Touch Pad and it’s also lighter. However, it’s not the ideal weight yet. It could stand to lose a few more ounces and inch closer to the 1 pound mark.
I’m not suffering from an injury because of it, but it’s not a comfortable device to hold and type in portrait mode for a long period of time.
It’s Digital Paper
The highest praise I can give the display is that I didn’t notice how wonderful it was until I started using other devices like my Macbook Air. It wasn’t like I was oblivious to the benefits of a high dpi display, but I was still blown away with the how clear and crisp “Retina” enabled content is because of it.
Reading articles on Flipboard with the new iPad this morning felt more like reading a finely printed newspaper.
Where are the Basic Apps?
Weather, Calculator, Stocks and the Clock apps are all missing from the iPad version of iOS. I didn’t know this since I spent most of my iOS time with my brother’s iPhone 4S and iPod Touch. They’re weird omissions, but I’m sure Apple will supplement them in the future or I can find superior alternatives in the App Store.
Retina Enabled Apps?
One of the pitfalls of being on cutting edge hardware is the limited software choices available that will take advantage of the new fangled additions. Flipboard and Twitter have been the most impressive Retina enabled applications. If you notice, they’re both text heavy applications.
Games have been mostly misses. DiamondDash was the only game that can be called 100% Retina ready. Everything else that I tried including Infinity Blade II were a hybrid mix with the 3D models upconverted while 2D art assets remained their pre-Retina selves.
Consumption Not Production
As I alluded to late last month, the iPad isn’t a creation device. I’ve tried to compose a few things for GameDealsCanada on it, but it just takes too long and it remains quite uncomfortable compared to my MacBook Air.
Unfortunately getting access to my home server’s contents wasn’t as seamless as I would like. I could have used Dropbox or iCloud, but why waste bandwidth? I decided to get GoodReader, but it couldn’t connect via SMB. I had to resort to enabling Web Folders on my Windows Small Business Server 2011.
For movies, I decided to find a DLNA device that would stream from the PS3 Media Server install on the home server. I found 8player lite and while it works fine for standard definition videos, anything resembling 720p or higher chugs. Unfortunately ,as I understand it, it doesn’t matter what video streamer I use because all these apps do not have access to hardware acceleration so everything is shoved at the CPU.
So Far So Very Good
As splendid as everything is now, things can only get better for this tablet. I cannot wait until this year’s WWDC arrives where a new iOS release could bring more functionality. More Retina enabled apps will also be nice.
But most importantly I need to spend more time with it and get the right apps to flesh out what this device can do.
18+ hours into Mass Effect 3 and I’m still enjoying it immensely. The new Mass Effect 3 datapad app is exactly what I was hoping for — it’s the Mass Effect codex with narrated entires. They could have added more entries, diagrams and art assets, but for the price of free? It’s more than sufficient.