Initial Impressions Of The iPad

Picture of IPadMy (long awaited) iPad arrived last Friday, and I’ve had a few days to start my relationship with it. I have the wireless plus 3G version. Here are my initial impressions, from a user experience point of view:

Fingerprints, fingerprints, fingerprints — I am beginning to understand the use of fingerprints in forensic science… certainly they are all over my iPad! Luckily they are easy to clean off with a little windex and a soft cloth.

It doesn’t replace anything — I’ve read some critiques of the iPad saying it can’t replace your iphone (doesn’t have a phone) and it can’t replace your laptop (not enough storage space etc.) My take is that it isn’t meant to replace anything… it is its own device in its own right. I don’t think that is a bad thing. The iPad is different.

The iPad apps are what it’s all about — As soon as I got the iPad I started downloading apps. Most of them are free, a few cost from .99 to 9.99. The apps are great, and I find myself scanning my 3 news sources more than I do on my laptop. I’ve started reading books. I know, it’s not a Kindle, but I like reading books on the iPad. Apps for the iPhone “work” but essentially are useless… they look bad and show up tiny on the screen.

Small differences have huge results — The user interface for calendar, and email (both ical and gmail) is subtly different than on a laptop, but the difference in the interface makes a huge difference in the experience. Although a keyboard is important for composing an email, perusing emails, reading them, deleting them, looking at your calendar is all much more intuitive on an iPad than on any other device I’ve used. Having said that, you need to add the keyboard (I got the wireless one) if you are really going to type anything. I find I use my laptop when I really need to type, and the iPad when I don’t. I am going to experiment with using the iPad and the keyboard while travelling in place of my laptop.

The iPad is my new pet — Maybe I’ll be able to articulate this better as time goes on, but in the few days I’ve had the iPad I’ve become attached to it. It’s something about the size, the shape, the speed of response, and the user experience of using your fingers to navigate rather than a mouse and keyboard… all of these things make me feel attached to the iPad. It’s like a pet. I want it near me, I reach for it first thing in the morning and often during the day.

It’s not perfect, and I’m sure the whole concept will evolve over time, but there’s a new device in town that I believe is here to stay. Maybe I’ve just got the glow of a new relationship. I’ll let you know if it lasts!

Do you have an iPad? Want one? Don’t want one? Write a comment with your opinion.


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4 Replies to “Initial Impressions Of The iPad”

  1. Susan, I think you should check out the comic book readers, especially the one by Marvel Comics. The Spider-man comics almost read like a storyboard. Plus, the interactions on the newpaper applications are very close to the look and feel of an actual paper.

    Check out the comics, though. You will like them — colors are sharp — and the storyboard feel is awesome.

  2. Hi Susan: Great post about the iPad. Bunch of articles flying around debating whether the iPad will be the ultimate mouse killer.

    So far, however, I’ve found little on point about what the iPad may portend for UX practitioners. Sure, we must continue to focus on PET and provide innovative design, but I’m seeking something beyond “we must strive to engage our users and continue to pursue interactive design.” I want to read something more substantive.


  3. Hi Susan, I like your intuitive analysis first. The feelings you initially experience are most important, aren’t they? Then we can look forward to your brainy analysis later. And I think it sounds like a great pet … no walking in cold weather, no litter box.
    .-= Connie Malamed´s last blog ..5 Myths Of Visual Communication =-.

  4. While I don’t want an iPad (I’ve been wanting to buy one of Fujitsu’s tablets for years, but they’re too pricey for me right now) I’ll probably get something similar when the price point + OS appeals to me. But I totally understand the pet feeling. I feel that way about my Nintendo DS Lite, which is what I use to relax myself in the evening before bed (it works wonders). The small form factor with the touch interface makes it a more personal device.

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