When Apple’s iPad was first launched I was openly skeptical about it. What was the point of this device? It wasn’t as mobile as my phone, or as powerful as my trusty laptop. A satirical video spoof of a man out jogging with an iPad strapped to his arm, and of course all the gaffes about the name better representing a sanitary towel amused me greatly.
A colleague (and long established Apple fan) was quick to snap one up, so it wasn’t long before I got to see an iPad in the flesh. Then, still, I mocked the device, and (carefully!) used it as a iBeerMat.
However, last Christmas I was fortunate enough to be gifted an original 32GB wireless iPad. Given my previous iPhone experience it didn’t take me long to get everything set up. After an initial period of fascination with what is certainly a very interesting gadget, its real benefits started to show.
A year on, this device (yes, this post has been written on my iPad) is used far more than the workstation, laptop or my mobile while I’m in the house. It doesn’t do any single thing well enough to warrant its price tag, but it does so many things that I’d now swiftly replace it if it ever broke.
On that topic, the screen is (understandably) fragile. I managed to crack mine during a spectacularly malcoordinated mishap. Fortunately I sourced a replacement screen kit for around £40 (thanks, eBay!) and while the outer edges of the device show the signs of my rudimentary intrusion, it’s all working okay.
The various catch up TV apps mean I can watch television no matter where I am in the house, from the bedroom to the bathroom and of course the kitchen. On the subject of the kitchen, the web browser there is incredibly useful for recipes, and while the iPad is mounted on the wall the touch screen means the talented among us can even navigate the web with our noses while our hands are covered in sticky ingredients.
An iPad is substantially easier to take on holiday than a laptop, and is just as good if like me your only needs are to stay on top of email and social media while you’re away. Oh, and for taking your own films to watch (try CineXPlayer) on the plane or in the hotel room.
I’ve used the notepad feature a great deal, while studying or taking measurements etc. When our daughter came along, the iPad became an essential part of the baby feeding kit during the early days when it was important to note down all her intake – we still know the details of every feed she had during her first month at home!
While watching TV I’m often distracted by questions such as “what other film have I seen this guy in?” or “surely that’s not factually correct!” – well, the IMDB and Wikipanion apps come straight to the rescue there. Sure, I could look this up on the phone or the laptop, but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this now) the laptop is too big and slow to get going, and the mobile does have a rather poky screen.
The battery life is good too – the iPad craps all over both the iPhone and my laptop in that department.
I use the reminders application a lot to keep on top of my domestic to-do list. If I think of something while I’m out and about I can add the task from my phone and it’ll be waiting for me on the iPad when I’ve got time to crack on with things.
It’s also my home device of choice for staying up to date with Twitter and Facebook, although the lack of synchronisation between Twitter apps gets quite tedious (ooh I’ve got a new mention; oh no, I saw that hours ago on my phone). Some web sites are better to read on their free iPad app than the original web version due to fewer adverts – Mashable is a good example here.
Finally (for now!), it’s a great portable radio which I use a lot for radio 4 and cricket commentary.
Overall then, I can’t believe what a fan-boy I’ve become. The iPad is a great device. There, I said it.