Main | iLeaf '10 - Apple Tablet Docs for the Rest of Us? »
Friday
Apr092010

The iPad Mystique

Since Apple's iPad was released last Saturday, reviewers have been applying lots of metaphors to the multitouch tablet. It's been called a Swiss Army knife, an oversized iPad and a netbook with the keyboard torn off. I'd like to add another to the pile. The iPad is like Rebecca Romijn. Well at least it's like Ms Romijn when she plays Mystique in the X-Men movies.

Mystique is a beautiful, mutant shapeshifter. She can appear to be anyone she choses, altering her natural blue skin and yellow eyes to match the task at hand. She's a Senator, no she's a hot bar babe, no she's the Iceman. She can switch her identities like TV channels.

The iPad, turned off, is a graceful slab of aluminum and glass. There is no keyboard and only one recessed button on its front surface. It looks like a trivet designed by someone in Sweden who wears interesting glasses. But turn it on, and its inner Mystique emerges. It's a word processor; no, it's an e-book; no it's a piano keyboard; no it's a talking child's book; no it's a photo frame; no it's a video player. The iPad, by being nothing, can be anything. That is its mutant superpower.

Well, that and super speed. I now own an iPad, and travelled to Buffalo to get one, sight unseen. Why? Because earlier reviewers used one adjective over and over - fast. They were right. The iPad is so responsive to touch that it's practically pre-cognitive (like the super-fast arachnid in the first Spiderman movie, to continue this leitmotif). You press its on button, and a blink later, it's on. No waiting for a hard drive to spin up (it has none). No waiting for an operating system to shake itself out of slumber. No nothing. On. Launch an application and it's there. Shut it down. Gone. No hourglass, no spinning beach ball of limbo, nothing.

Yes, it is true that the iPad has limited multitasking abilities (that is, the ability to run more than one program at the same time). But, all of Apple's own applications can take advantage of multitasking so I can listen to music while I type this, for example. And, in practise, the apps launch so quickly (and many remember their state) it is not that much of an issue. Come the fall, with the 4.0 of the operating system, a more robust multitasking will be available to third-party apps as well.

The other thing that made me lay down $600 for the device was the early reports of battery life - better than the 10 hours Apple promised. First off, it is unheard of that reviewers actually get better battery life than a manufacturer proffers. Second, 10 hours is remarkable. What was more remarkable was my own experience. Yesterday, an early day for me, I turned on my iPad at 4:30 a.m. At 10:30 in the evening I still had 15% of the battery to spare and I had been using it heavily, and demoing it to strangers for a good part of the day.

How well does it assume its multiple identities? Like Mystique, flawlessly. It is not just an information appliance, it's like the appliance section at Sears. As a book reader, it puts the Kindle to shame. First, books can have colour illustrations (and they are vibrant and crisp on the gorgeous iPad screen). Except for second-hand books, I will probably never buy a physical book again. Right now I'm reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and it's a pleasure. Second, unlike the Kindle, the iPad can display books from not just the Amazon store, but from Kobo, it's own iBook library and other vendors as well.

I've also downloaded The Cat in the Hat. It too is an electronic book, but, it will read itself to me, the words highlighted as the narration rolls on, the illustrations zoom in and out and I can touch the screen to hear the names of the objects my finger falls out read out loud. Try that on an e-ink device.

A moment later I can be playing (really badly) a near full-sized row of piano keys, on which I can ham-fist out chords. Then, a map of how the night sky looks above me, right now, appears. I can touch a star and learn all about it. I can then fire up The Elements, a wonderful coffee table book about the periodic table - samples of gold, mercury or uranium spin to my touch, slowly when I release them.

The Marvel comic book reader presents the bright panels of Spiderman in full-screen or, as I move through the comic, zooms in on one speech balloon at a time.

Right now I'm writing this review using Evernote. I could stop, save and synchronize this document and then pick up my iPhone (or laptop) and continue writing on that device right where I left off. I can browse the web, check my email or use one a a handful of Twitter applications to stay abreast of social media happenings. I can also read a growing number of magazines on the iPad including Time, Men's Health and Popular Science. The pricing of these publications needs to come down, but they hold promise. And photos? This is a photo frame that MOMA would be happy to use.

In short, since I got the iPad, my Macbook Pro, which I use for heavylifting like video editing, has not moved from my desk. I will use my iPad for writing, presenting (it has a version of Keynote and can plug into a laptop projector) and web browsing. It has no built-in camera. But, using a piece of software on the iPad and another on my iPhone I can use the iPad as a big screen for my iPhone's camera and take pictures with it, the images relayed from one to the other using Bluetooth. I can also use Bluetooth to connect a wireless keyboard, though the virtual one on the iPad is very serviceable. 

A lot of people dismissed the iPad as just a big iPod Touch. That was a misguided and narrow view. It really is a new, elegant and simple computing paradigm. When you actually hold, touch and use one, you realize that, starting with the iPad, tablet computing is going to shape shift the future. I welcome our mutant overlords.

References (6)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Football is actually a single of the greatest sports in America. It has a significant following.
  • Response
    Response: long beach seo
    w8nc inc. - w8nc Blog - The iPad Mystique
  • Response
    Response: chiroractic
    w8nc inc. - w8nc Blog - The iPad Mystique
  • Response
    w8nc inc. - w8nc Blog - The iPad Mystique
  • Response
    w8nc inc. - w8nc Blog - The iPad Mystique
  • Response
    w8nc inc. - w8nc Blog - The iPad Mystique

Reader Comments (8)

I love the idea of the iPad as Mystique - it certainly is an incredible device. Actually I'm very jealous, I can't wait to get my hands on one.

I can completely see it changing the way I use my existing computer when I get one, just like you have. For me I think the most exciting prospect is being able to regain a little sanity and separate my consumption of Internet media from my everyday work. I think the iPad's just one of a whole new class of devices that will redefine how we absorb digital media - I wrote a bit about this on our new Human 2.0 site.

Regards,
Alex

April 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Bowyer

These jerseys men football jerseys which are interestingly termed retro basketball jerseys sports jerseys store are old school. Here is an example,football jerseys for youth men football jerseys, Brazil Team World Cup Soccer Jersey Kobe’s jersey at the present time, but the Lakers look 20 years ago. That would be an example of the throwback kind. Sports stars put them on now and again during games also.

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternfljerseyonline

Most of these jerseys NBA basketball jerseys state they’re replicas,Designer Handbags sports jerseys store, yet in fact aren’t. They are the cheapest ones cheap nike shoxmen basketball jerseysout there. They’ve screen imprinted lettering, Women's Handbags additionally are made of the least expensive fabrics availableNike Nike Air Max Shoes.

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternfljerseyonline

Cheap football jerseys,youth basketball jerseys NBA jerseys nfl Jerseys Wholesale advertising the position is strictly prohibited to relax! sports jerseysIn the current economic downturn, nfl Jerseys sale spending, such as general as the United States Football League NBA way. nfl Jerseys Cheap Recently, NBA jerseys advertising the position is strictly prohibited loose, will allow the Union to sell the team next season sportswear chest ads. mlb Jerseys But today, the Orlando Magic. Orlando Magic Chief Operating Officer Eric Martins, local time Wednesday, said the team will the players to a pre-job training per week, the ads. Martins train service, nba Jerseys advertising on the major sources of income group, while over time, cheap football jerseys are the most valuable in the game, nhl Jerseysalso on the shirt will no longer be a dream, but do not make a decision.

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternfljerseyonline

Attention!Kinds of jerseys,nba Jerseys beautiful bags and shoes provided for you online. sports jerseys With extremely competitive prices,nfl Jerseys Wholesale we sell only quality products.We bring you the best quality products in the market today.wholesale handbags And our prices are the best in this industry,discount handbags we welcome our customers to look around and compare our prices with local dealers and other online vendors.Nike shox r4 Shopping with us can save you a lot of money, and we offer great discounts on multiple item purchase,women’s shox you will save even more.

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternfljerseyonline

When we talked about href="http://www.discoutedoakleysunglasses.net">oakley sunglasses

cheap price store,we always considered it as

href="http://www.discoutedoakleysunglasses.net">fake oakley sunglasses.
But it is hardly to find out the difference from the original one,cause it has the same look and quality.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteroakley sunglasses cheap

Perhaps you would choose, and we will take it into consideration
ferragamo bags
salvatore ferragamo bags
ferragamo bag

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterferragamo womens shoes

But it is hardly to find out the difference from the original one,cause it has the same look and quality.

north face jackets

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternorth face jackets

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>