Apple iPad: Pros and Cons


Image via CrunchBase

I picked up my first iPad a couple of days ago. Even though I felt I knew what it was, what it could do, and how it was different from a regular Apple computer, I still needed to learn a few things.

For instance . . . when you first turn it on, you need to connect it to iTunes, just like you do with any type of Apple mobile or multimedia device, such as the iPhone and various iPods. I was thinking it would just turn on and start up. However, when you first turn it on, there is an image showing to connect it to iTunes, so that first step was pretty easy. And remember, you will NOT need an Apple computer to do this–any computer with iTunes installed on it will set up your new iPad for you. You can register it and of course, name it. On to more interesting stuff . . .

What did I do first? I checked out the App store, trying to find stuff to download. When you browse the App store, iPad applications show up at the top, separate from iPhone apps. It took me a couple of mistakes (downloading an iPhone app for instance) before I figured this out. I installed the free eBook app and looked a the free book installed (Winnie the Pooh.) Wow–the images are crystal-clear and beautiful. I could imagine children really enjoying reading a book in this format. Teachers could easily hook the book up to a projector and read it along with the children. The eBook program automatically remembers where you stopped reading, so the next time you open it, it’s right where you left off.

Next, I browsed the Internet, checking out how some of my favorite websites show up, such as the Cool Teachers (http://coolteachers.org) and my blog (http://itcboisestate.wordpress.com). So far, so good. The quality of the images is stunning and the ease of using the touch screen makes this device very user-friendly. I even found I could type pretty well using the built-in keyboard, especially when the device is turned horizontally.

Speaking of keyboards, I also purchased a regular keyboard for the unit, which hooks up easily using the Bluetooth connection. All you need to do is enter in a passkey once and the computer connects with the keyboard. I also ordered the charging dock/stand, which makes the iPad sit upright, enabling a very easy use of the keyboard with it. However, I need to get a stand that will also enable it to stand horizontally. I think you need to disable the Bluetooth in order to use the built-in keyboard, but I’ve not played with it enough to be sure about this.

The iPad is lightweight, the battery lasts for a solid 10 hours, it stays cool to the touch (something that the MacBook Pro does not do), and of course boots up immediately, since it’s a solid-state drive. You can have it with you almost as much as you have your mobile device, slip it in your purse or briefcase, and then use it wherever there is a wireless Internet connection. (And, of course, the 3G model is coming out soon, so you will have more flexibility in accessing the Internet then.) It’s not a phone, but it can enable much more reading and writing than a mobile device due to the size of the screen. Remember, it is not going to be as robust or useful as your computer, but it sure can do a lot for such a portable device.

This blog post is titled “Pros and Cons,” so what are the cons? There aren’t many. I would like to have a camera feature, but I hear that is coming. The only other con I have right now is not due to Apple, but myself–fingerprints on the screen. Yeah, you need to keep a cleaning cloth with you if you don’t like seeing fingerprints.

I like having the iPad with me, so I can use it whenever I need it. When you have it and it’s handy, you will use it.

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