Tuesday, 1 June 2010

iPad Spotted In The Wild!

This morning on the train I saw the first iPad in the wild, as it were. A youngish guy - let's say late 20s to early 30s - was cradling it on his lap apparently reading The Times newspaper. I don't know if he shares Ewan's opinion on the fact that The Sunday Times is not a part of the package - which by the way costs £9.99 a month - but the article I saw looked rather good.

By now you probably already know my previous opinions on this particular Jesus gadget. Has my view changed in any way now that I've seen it in vivo? Actually, no - not at all. Even if I also saw it on BBC Formula 1 coverage, and even before Ewan twigged to it.

Admittedly, it looks rather good as a presenter prop - certainly better, or at least cooler, than the venerable cards usually sported on British television. Also, the guy on the train seemed to be quite immersed in his reading, and the screen did look very bright, and clear. But then so was mine on a Sony PRS-600 e-book reader a couple of seats away.

The differences?

My battery will last for 3 weeks. His will need a re-charge in 6 hours. When it comes to recharging mine it will take a couple of hours connected to my laptop at work or at home - even shorter if I plug in the AC adapter. It may even be impossible to charge an iPad off a laptop, and it will take a very long time anyway.

And then, there's the comfort factor. Even on the train that was not busy, in his own seat, the guy with the iPad looked suspiciously uncomfortable balancing it on his knees, clutching it with both hands, bent over it with a quite intense expression. My Sony reader, even in its leather cover can be comfortably held in one hand, and that's including being able to flip pages.

Having seen how poorly it fits in the lap on the train I have to wonder how an iPad would fare if one wanted to type a quick e-mail on it while on the move. With the evidence I saw I'd confidently say: not very well. It obviously does not lie very well on the knees to provide two handed typing, and it seems too big and heavy if held in one hand, the other to be used for typing, or rather pecking. A similar short e-mail is much better composed on a mobile phone, probably even one with no physical keyboard (think Jesus Phone).

In summary, I think I have to agree with this analysis of the Jesus Pad. I think it squares quite well with my second opinion of the gadget, too. A promise, not yet fulfilled...