iPad, Early Impressions

Updated on 10 April 2010 by

Portable, not Mobile

The iPad is slim and sexy and you’d think that it would be a great mobile device, but it is proving to be much better at sofa surfing than mobile maneuverability. The iPad is portable, but not mobile. It is undeniably and awesomely easy to be browsing your favorite site, then hit the hold button and slip the iPad in your bag to take with you. It’s quite thin and sturdy and will fit perfectly into any compartment that can house a small notebook, but it isn’t exactly the best device to pull out while you are on the go.

The size and weight of the iPad really makes it best fit for lap based use. While the iPhone and other MIDs/smartphones of that size can be easily held in one hand, the iPad nearly always requires two. Despite the large bezel for gripping, the iPad is not ideal for being held in one hand, especially if you are lying in bed.

l grip.jpg The iPhone has been an awesome morning companion for me. Checking mail, social networks, feeds, etc. in the morning couldn’t be any easier. Just grab the phone and lie back with one hand holding the phone and one navigating. I thought that the iPad would function wonderfully in this ‘morning companion’ scenario, but unfortunately it doesn’t. The iPad is so heavy that you really need two hands to hold it if you don’t have a lap to set it on. I can lay on my back and hold the iPad above me to read content, but if I want to hit anything on-screen, I have to take one hand away from supporting the weight and try to tap something on the screen. All the while I have to support the iPad’s 1.5 pound (680g) weight with a single hand. I’ve adapted this uncomfortable but necessary “L inch grip which can be used to a certain extent, but as I lay there I’m constantly wishing that the thing was much lighter. After a short time holding the iPad above you with the aforementioned L-grip, it becomes uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve scarcely been able to find a comfortable position for using the iPad in bed. Most recently I’ve opted to lean over and use it while it rests on the bed-side table — myself on my side and propped up by an elbow.

I don’t know that even Apple knew exactly where or how the iPad would be used, but it’s starting to look like a really awesome sofa surfing device; a digital coffee-table book, if you will. I think that we’ll see Apple start to refine their marketing and push it in a direction that’s in line with the ways that the majority of early adopters find to fit the iPad into their daily routines.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. gmich says:

    I can see your points, Ben, and I’d love to see a 5-6″ iPad as Jenn on Pocketables has talked about. But I’m still finding the iPad immensely useful–not as a smartphone replacement, but as a netbook replacement. It’s about half the weight, it’s pretty much instant on, and I’m getting 11-12 hours of battery life. It does a lot, and does most of it extremely well. Sure, it’s not the best for heavy duty content creation, but the OS keyboard is pretty darn good, and with a Bluetooth keyboard (I have an old Palm mode) it’s even better. I’m still not completely sold on it, but I guess I’m finding good in far more scenarios than you. And just to be clear, I have avoided Apple products in the past and don’t have an iPhone, so I consider myself a fairly objective user.

  2. george says:

    “And just to be clear, I have avoided Apple products in the past and don’t have an iPhone, so I consider myself a fairly objective user.”

    Are the haters silly arguments so mighty for you, that you feel you have to add this disclaimer so that they take you for serious? Or, other way: you seem to have used the actual product and find some good points in using it; do you think that the haters will believe you?


  3. jjsjjsva says:

    If it had a 5-6 inch (semi pocketable) screen, had a web cam, could mutli-task, could play Flash, had a 128 GB storage, had one USB 3 port, SDHC card reader, and had a HDMI output, then I’d seriously consider buying my first Apple product.

    I beleive having to constantly hold this device to use this it is a mjor draw back and will wear out it’s welcome very quickly. You can’t set it down on a coffe shop table, kick back, and view an internet web page as you drink your coffee as you can with an equally carriable net book that does the same with more capacity at half the price.

    ASUS new pad to be released this summer is rumored to be 5-7 inches and maybe the perfect device. Microsoft’s Digital Journal which is truly a next generation device at 5 x 7 inches and is usable for work and home is a strong posibility.

    But buying Apple’s I-touch on steriods is not going to happen.

  4. george says:

    “If it had…”

    Relax, Dude. You never have to think about purchasing an Apple-product again, then. In case you haven’t realized so far: they just don’t care about feature masterbaiters, they care about the user experience.

    Further thoughts: “the perfect device” just doesn’t exist and never will. How can you judge the “insert Microsoft vaporware here” without even knowing if it will be delivered as rendered in those videos, ever?


  5. tmarks11 says:

    “What is surprising me most about the iPad so far is how little I’ve been using it”

    I have been holding out for the 3G ipad. But I don’t know if I will buy it. My thoughts mirror your comment above.

    I have owned a dozen or so PDAs in my life. They always end up frustrating me because in the end they can’t stand on their own; they are just accessories for a computer. That was what made me buy the Everun tablet, which was a wonderful device. After it broke, I bought a HTC TP2, a return to winmo and the frustrating aspect of having to tailor all media, books, files to fit with its required formats, and having to funnel such data through a computer.

    I am afraid, in the end, that this will be also the frustrating part of the iPad. And I won’t end up using it as much as I envision. Viliv X70 is looking better all the time, even if it is “old technology” now.

  6. dstrauss says:

    I’m still trying to make up my mind about whether to take teh leap, but I have to say one thing to the “It doesn’t have X” crowd – I believe that is the sole reason for 10 hour plus battery performance. Obviously they were going for a fast, responsive, all day user experience, and nailed it according to every reviewer I saw on battery life. Flash, web cam, USB 3, larger SSD (not so much), SDHC, HDMI out…the HP Slate will have all of these, but at best it advertises “approximately 5 hour” battery life. If all of these add-ons cut your battery performance in half, then the trade-off wars begin.

  7. Jenise Warmka says:

    Thanks for sharing this article.Good to know some fresh insight about ipad.

  8. zisel says:

    Thanks for sharing this article.You should be greatly appreciated. I think all things are surprised you about the iPad. I enjoy the newly ipad. and here, I’ll share “Top 10 Best Free iPad Apps”from the iFunia iPad Column. Some of the top 10 best applications for Apple iPad with cost nothing.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. The GBM iPad Series: Review and InkShow | GottaBeMobile says:

    […] vs Portability Ben on Carrypad said this: The iPad is portable, but not mobile. I think in my early usage I would have to agree […]

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