Apple iPad Review for Canada and U.S.A

Apple iPad Report Card – applications I can live with and without

Twitteriffic on the iPad

The big question remains – is the Apple iPad worth $800? It doesn’t hit my $400 sweet spot for a “computer as toaster oven” but I won’t give up mine. Around this house people are always taking it which is a vote for fun and usability.
Until the competition ships something at 60% of the iPads price with an identical feature set, the iPad will outsell sellout any tablet.
It’s just so handy to check Twitter, Facebook and surf the web on the little thing. It turns on instantly and you can pretty well do what you want where ever you are. Instant on is so handy that I can forget to turn on my desktop computer and still feel connected.  The iPad is not meant to replace computers since it’s a device to consume not create content

The same bugs are still here – lack of Flash video means there are plenty of dead-end experiences when the video on a site won’t play or when email contains Flash.

Today I’m going to cover a few of the “can’t live with can’t live without” iPad applications.
Most of the applications Apple touts for the iPad are warmed over iPhone apps which are a waste of time. The iPhone has a tiny screen. Why use only a part of the screen real estate? The number of real iPad apps is growing weekly but for the most part all I have found are iPhone upgrades.
At least NJN Network’s iPhone app is smart enough to fill the screen.

Twitterrific
This app gets my vote for best Twitter client. The layout is clean. Twitterrific remembers where you stopped last. You can see the latest tweets and decide which ones to read or just wipe the screen to preview another page.
You can link through to the browser story with ease and touching “Done” takes you back to where you were in Twitterrific. I’ve thrown TweetDeck out after using this free app for a few weeks. Only regret – I can’t get Twitterrific on my Windows desktop or laptop which means I rarely check Twitter on the computer anymore. It’s so much more convenient to to it on the iPad.

Facebook

Facebook app is weak just browse and forget watching videos

The Facebook app is the old iPhone app expanded to double the size which is pretty lame. It’s easier to use Facebook on the iPad using the Safari browser but here’s where Apple kicks you in the shins. If you use the browser, the Facebook Flash videos don’t work. If you use the Facebook app you can see the videos in tiny window. Thanks Apple for making life simpler.

Mail
The iPad Mail app is decent except your mail comes twice. Once to your desktop and once to the iPad. I’m not storing email on the server but even after it arrives on my desktop, it shows up on the iPad. Reading mail is an exercise in – “read that – delete”, “read that – delete”, etc. That’s a time waster. Otherwise, it’s a decent mail client.

iBooks
I’m not a big fan of e-books. I had a Kindle for 6 month and the novelty wore off within a few weeks. You just can’t replace books with one of these things. That being said, Amazon beats the iPad hands-down for selection and ease of use.  There are so few decent titles on iBooks, it feels like signing up for “100 best books of all time.”

WordPress
Handy for approving comments but otherwise lame. Editing posts is only in HTML mode. WordPress knows it’s lame. I can approve or delete your comments but not check for spam.

AccuWeather
This has a cool graphic interface for determining if you’ll need a sweater tonight. It’s easy to use and free.

Battery life
This is one area that Apple has beaten the up-and-coming competition. The battery lasts for days unless you watch videos, in which case it lasts about one day. The battery cannot be charged on the USB port of a computer but has to be plugged into the wall adapter, a minor annoyance.
The iPad has a larger battery is the reason given. Upside with the bigger battery is that the iPad will power real headphones for decent sound.

iPod
I often use the iPad as an iPod to listen to music in shuffle mode. It’s music where I’m at. There is a nuisance feature that stops the play when it shuffles to a video. Videos can only be played one at a time for some bizarre reason. There is no video shuffle despite having the feature on the iPhone.

Virtuoso
This free keyboard app gives you two 21-key piano keyboards – left and right hand. It’s a fun little app to play simple melodies and a bit of fun.
Most of the iPad apps cost less than a McDonald’s hamburger so trying something isn’t that risky. Experimenting is half the fun they say.
All in all, if you want an anywhere, anytime computer to browse the web, check Twitter and email, and enjoy videos and music you bought from Apple, the iPad is the answer.

Related articles: 

Apple iPhone 4 vs. Android review, no clear winner but you decide
Steve Jobs can’t get Apple iPhone 4 to work
Apple iPad fails to deliver great video experience
Apple iPad review watching videos

Click HERE to read more columns by Stephan Pate

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