T + 620 iPad Pride

Those of you who know me in person or follow my Twitter/Facebook feeds will probably be aware that I have recently taken delivery of an iPad. So it would hardly come as a surprise to them that I should write a blog about my experiences with it.

Equally it is not a surprise that I have chosen to write this blog entry on said device and I'm doing that in what is probably the natural habitat for an iPad namely a trendy independent coffee shop. In this case it is The Urban Coffee Company in Birmingham.

So what's the big deal about the iPad? Just a big iPod touch, surely. Or just a tablet PC, they've been around for ages. Well to the first point I'd say yes the iPod touch was a great product imagine how much better it would be with a 10inch screen with full crisp graphics. To the second point, well saying it is just a tablet PC is like saying an iMac is just a PC or more specifically just a desktop computer. Technically true but it misses so much of the point.

Say what you like about Apple, and there are many valid criticisms that can be laid at their door, but they care about the design of their products and the end user experience and at the end of the day that is what makes their products so successful. The experience. This isn't just marketing hype, as Stephen Fry has expressed far more eloquently than I can, using an Apple product brings a smile to your face. Things "just work" and using them is much more intuitive than many other computing platforms. The slightly sad thing is that you only seem to get this with Apple products. They shouldn't be the exception it should be the norm to have a piece of technology that feels good to use. To quote St. Stephen again, people shouldn't have to become computer literate, computers should be human literate.

Ok enough of my soapbox. Many people have been asking what is the iPad for? Well for me it represents a convergence of devices. It is for me a portable but highly usable Internet enabled multimedia appliance. What does that mean? Well it is an Internet browser, music player, video player, ebook reader and games platform. With an iPad I don't need to have an iPod, a Sony ebook reader and a net book computer (the fact that I already have all three of those devices says more about my gadget fetish than anything. Hey I don't smoke or drink so allow me this one vice.) As many people have said you prolly won't really understand or "get" what the ipad is about until you have spent half an hour using one.

Other people have asked me do they need an iPad to which my initial flippant reply is that the iPad is not about need it is about desire, passion, lust even. More honestly the answer is prolly no, you don't need an iPad any more than I really "need" an iPod or iPhone but once you have one you will find more and more uses for it and enjoy it more and more. True they are expensive and If I hadn't recently had a windfall from a pension fund being wound up I may not have got one. (Ok that is a lie I would almost definitely have bought one I would just have felt a bit more guilty about spending the money). I just hope that when I retire and am destitute with no pension I can look back on the happy memories I had using my iPad. ;0)

This has been the largest piece of text I have typed on the iPad and it has worked out really well. The touch screen keyboard does feel a little strange at first. One person described it as like typing with frostbite but the autocorrection works really well and I haven't had to correct many typos. The only thing is at present I tend to type looking more at the keypad than at the screen where as normally though not a true touch typist I can look at the screen and not the keys.

Now I am off to the the parade to start this year's Birmingham Pride. It's the first one I have been able to attend for a couple of years thanks to medical stuff so I am looking forward to it even though the weather looks pretty dismal.


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