Monday, May 10, 2010

Blogging at 31000ft: an iPad after 90 days

I started writing this from somewhere above North Carolina, where I have in flight wifi and get a few strange looks as I download a book, read, check news, email and even remote desktop into my SharePoint farm. All from a device I've cleverly concealed in what formerly held a paper notepad. In my last post, I wondered if my purchase was worth sacrificing my next birthday, fathers day, and maybe even on into Christmas. It was. Both the Courier and Hp slate device I had my eyes on got nixed - leaving the Windows tablet market empty for a while. A few me-to Linux and Android offerings grace engadget, but none with the functionality or battery life of the iPad. To be sure, this gadget has made itself at home in the Root house. It turns out there is a whole class of use case for which a phone is too small and a laptop too big and slow. We regularly watch tv on it - only needing a laptop for our weekly Jack Bauer fix, since Hulu doesn't have an app out yet. I paint in Brushes, check email and news, and read books on it. I hardly ever open my laptop at home, except to code. There are a few drawbacks. This thing needs a stylus and handwriting support. One or two apps support it, but my fave, Evernote, is slow to the gate with support for natural note taking. The keyboard still lists as an awkward point for me, though I've gotten better at it. And, yes, it is a "walled garden": Apple and ATT have a choke-hold on the entire experience, occasionally reminding customers with data plan changes or app store rejections. So, my recommendation: if you read, check email, social networks and news, and/or watch netflix every day, then get one of these.

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