iPad Thoughts for Artists

April 19, 2010

iPad front and back.

Apple has always been the producer of the computers made for artists.  They have always had a great interface that is light years ahead of their competitors.  My first computer was an Amiga – a very Mac-like interface with a few upgrade twists.  Yes, remember when there used to be THREE primary computer platforms?  I do.  In fact, we still own our Amiga 2000, upgrades and all.

Back to the topic though.   Okay, so Apple has always had the upper hand on their interface technology (aside from the Amiga).  The iPhone and iPod Touch harkened back to Apple’s heyday by showing the world a super cool interface on these new devices.  Now comes the iPad or as many have labeled it: the large iPod Touch Next Generation (I admit, I’m writing and watching Star Trek Next Generation, sorry, I couldn’t help but throw that in).  After watching Hanson Hosein, Director of the Master of Communication in Digital Media at the University of Washington, review the iPad on a local station this week I had to go see for myself.   He said that the iPad was extremely fast (good!), a little heavy (HUH?), and not going to function as a replacement for a laptop.   Huh.  Hanson Hosein also said that surfing on the iPad was less than satisfactory and people looking for a secondary computer would be better of buying a netbook.  Okay, all of these statements baited me to learn for myself consequently, on a Friday evening you could find me walking an iPad through it’s paces at the Apple store at the mall (go figure, I’m never at the mall).

My primary computer has been a 2.9 lb., 1.4 GHz laptop for quite a few years now.  When my first one started getting tired and I began flipping the keys off when typing, I went and found the very same machine with some minor improvements (Woo 1.6GHZ!) to replace it with.  I need a light weight machine and I don’t mind small since I have small hands.   A 1.5 lb. tablet is very enticing IF it does what I need and I can replace my laptop with it.

So, my thoughts on the iPad:  it’s super cool and I want one more than I did before.  It is fast, surfed just fine (in the store) quickly loading pages and doing searches nicely.  I read the NY Times article on the volcano in Iceland comfortably and found the experience enjoyable despite standing in a brightly lit store.  The software ‘Pages’ is a beautifully intuitive WISYWIG page layout program and  something I would use a lot of for my business as an artist to create marketing pieces much like I use Publisher.  There is also Office 2 Pro, a program where you can view, create, and edit Word and Excel documents.  It costs a whopping $7.99 so there is good potential there.

Of course, the iPad is set up to do email so what about that virtual keyboard?  Well, considering I was standing up so it was awkward to type I found the typing experience okay.  The surface is slick and it was easy to barely touch a key and end up typing it so there’s that.  I have to give it a thumbs up though since part of the issue was my position.   Once I got the touch of it I didn’t have many problems so I think just getting used to it is a big part of that equation.

In summary, email is clean and easy; Word and Excel document sharing, creating and editing exists; there is a WISYWIG program that fits the wonderful interface well; watching a movie on the device is amazing; surfing was fantastic;  I didn’t find the device uncomfortable to hold or the weight an issue.  Bottom line:  I would buy an iPad except for one issue:

Since owning my iPod Touch I have come to realize that Apple has made a point of not compromising their quality even for price point.  That’s cool. You get what you pay for holds true with Apple.  I think the iPhone was the only thing they have released that wasn’t quite ready and it wasn’t the phone that was the issue, it was the network system that the phone uses, so a second party issue.  However, what holds me back from buying the iPad is the storage amount for the price.  When gigabytes of storage in a jump drive is so cheap how could a 32GB iPad cost so much more than the 16GB iPad?  It isn’t like major interior revisions are required, is it?  Heck the Archos devices come with 250 GB which by Apple’s standards would make the iPad about $2000???   Hmmm, what’s up with that?  Okay, love the machine but wish for a full computing device at the current price points.


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