When I first saw the announcements of the iPad I kind of dismissed it as an oversized iPod but after seeing reports from other bloggers and looking at the brilliant F1 app for the iPad I could resist no more. Being an iPhone user was expecting the iPad just to be more of the same just with a bigger screen but I have been really surprised how useful it has become.
I have used Tablet PCs and UMPCs for years, in fact I wanted a Microsoft Smart Display at one stage(remember them?), I love the idea of a small lightweight slate device. I tried using my Samsung Q1 as a companion device but it’s the resistive touch screen and under-powered CPU meant it was too slow and too unresponsive. Until getting the iPad I used a netbook in the evening to surf the web and write blog posts but since I got the iPad have the way I work has changed.
First off the iPad hardware is excellent, the build quality is superb, it’s solid and feels great in the hand and with 10 hour battery life there is no need to be paranoid about charging it.. The iPad OS is pretty good, lack of multi-tasking and flash support is a pain but the browser is great and of course there is the massive selection of applications. I purchased an RDP app (Remote Desktop Protocol) so I can remote control my PCs, so from home I can VPN in to my work network and manage the servers without having to boot up a PC. I do like to frequently check our servers are all ticking away nicely and this makes it so much easier
From the media side there are good and bad points. I really want to be able to watch recorded TV from my Media Center system on the iPad and out of the box this is not possible, the iPad will not play WTV Files or stream them with a DLNA app so it looks like I am going to have to investigate transcoding apps to get that working. I love being able to sync a recorded TV show with my Zune HD for watching while I am travelling and I want that simplicity for the iPad (the Zune software is much better than iTunes)
There are some DLNA apps available for the iPad, I got MLPlayer to stream music and pictures from my PC to the iPad and that worked great but had no luck with videos. So far I haven’t found any remote control apps other than the ones available for the iPhone but I am sure they will come.
It’s very hard to explain why I like the iPad so much, I now use iPad for surfing the web from the sofa, there are twitter apps and some great magazine type apps that make surfing very enjoyable and the instant on/off make it much more accessible than a PC. There are some things I have to get a PC out for mainly Windows Live Writer (which I am writing this post with) and watching flash videos. The iPad is not great for creating content but for consuming it its really good.
I really wish I was writing about a Microsoft slate either Windows Phone 7 powered or some other version of Windows but there is nothing available and the iPad is here now and its changed my computing habits. I am not saying it can replace a PC but I use a PC less and the iPad compliments my home setup really well. I want Microsoft to make me change my mind and use a Windows powered device but there is nothing on the horizon yet…