I’ve always been skeptical, ever since its launch, of the iPad. That said it appears to be proving to be popular and so when the opportunity came to give one a roadtest, I decided to give it an open mind.

It is, a stylish device, extremely capable of doing what it does. But it does have limitations. In no particular order…

  • It doesn’t play Flash, so many facebook games, BBC news videos are inaccessible (I know this is just a local difficulty that will be resolved, but still…
  • The keyboard is poorly laid out. There are no cursors, or none that I could find, so you can’t easily go back and edit what you type without deleting and retyping
  • Might be me, and I’m sure there are other alternatives, but I downloaded Tweetdeck to acccess twitter. It has an annoying habit of closing after it receives new tweets but before you can read them
  • I tried accessing my webmail via two different routes, and both would allow me to see I had mail but not to actually read it. Weird?
  • Gaming is good, the touch naigation and motion censors are impressive, but annoyingly addictive. A very good way to waste lots and lots of time
  • There is no USB port or card reader for transferring photos/documents

On a course I attended earlier this month there lots of people with iPads, but they also had their iPhones and their laptops (often the ultra slim MacBook Air) and this neatly sums up the usefulness of the device. It is handy, and the advantages of the larger screen is useful but all this can be achieved with a modern iPhone (or similar) and the latter can also make and receive calls(!!), whilst, after limited investigations, your web journey will invariably demand that you need to get onto the computer.

I would conclude that the iPad is brilliant at wasting time. Looks nice; feels nice; but still not sure of it’s purpose. It’s quite a cool thing and I wouldn’t say no to one as a gift but if I was buying I think I’d choose a zoom lens any day…