I was finally able to obtain an iPad this week, and already I am in love with it. I’ll try not to overlap too much with comments from my colleagues Jeff Swain, Cole Camplese and other satisfied users.
My main comment is that the bigger screen makes a huge difference in how you function with it in comparison to the iPhone/iTouch. I have been very happy with the iTouch but never felt I could take it it to a meeting instead of a laptop. The iPad is a whole different story.
The larger screen allows me to view a larger list of e-mail, read larger paragraphs, zoom in on tiny logins and type more quickly. Today I was able to look at a Google Doc, then book an appointment on my calendar. I could have done it on my iTouch, but it would have involved a lot more squinting. Yesterday, I was able to quickly check e-mail from my couch and even forward a video link to a friend – much more relaxing than the iTouch squint or the laptop shuffle. And I can look up a table of codes and scan it much more efficiently. Very handy.
A bigger screen also means better photo viewing and video watching. If you have a Flickr set for a class, the students will see much more detail on an iPad than an iTouch. The bigger screen also means that working on a spreadsheet or long text is plausible – assuming you can get the synch to work (coming soon).
And then there are the apps and games. They generally benefit greatly from a larger screen also. With the iTouch, I favored casual games with simpler interfaces, but with iPad I was able to dabble in games with more complex RPGs and shoot-em-ups like Plants vs. Zombies.
The great news is that you don’t need to have an iPad version of the game or app to get the benefit of the bigger screen – there’s a handy 2x button on the lower right that will let you zoom in on any app. There’s some slight pixellation, but I’m not going to complain. A graphing calculator is even better with bigger buttons and larger display screen. So is solitaire.
The iPad isn’t going to replace my laptop or even my iTouch. I still need the iTouch for the gym, and I still need the latop for my power apps (Photoshop, Dreamweaver,…) with a physical keyboard for power typing, especially if includes a lot of exotic characters. But it’s nice to not have to move the laptop except when I really need the power app. Disconnecting and reconnecting is fairly complex, particularly if a 2nd monitor is involved. Plus, the iPad is much lighter. I can literally stick it into my Vera Bradley bag and take it to a meeting where all I have to do is take notes and look up a Web site. This is the killer app that may finally replace my notepad!