The iPad review to end all iPad reviews, plus the curse and infinity of digital overload

I may have indulged in a bit of false advertising there, I’m afraid.

Really, I’m just going to list a few quick points, and frankly, that’s probably all that matters.

It’s been a month or so since I was issued an iPad for work (an old model – it doesn’t even have a camera). I’ve long been a tablet holdout and  am vehemently personally opposed to e-readers. I don’t care what you say; you’ll never convert me to e-books. I do see the appeal of the iPad for media consumption, but not for anything beyond that.

I’m still of that opinion, though I’ve warmed to the iPad somewhat. I took it on my work trip to Sydney, which was a good choice. It’s a less obtrusive way to keep up with emails and it was easy to check in on my Google Reader while waiting for presentations to start and whatnot. I can even get close to touch typing on it now, though it’s still a pain to comment on blogs this way, which I would much rather do on a proper computer. Nonetheless, it’s handy for pre-bed online tinkering (compared to my laptop) and T uses it just as much as I do, albeit for playing games and watching Naruto. Obviously the gaming monitor back home is the king of video games, every other screen just seems tired.

Big is beautiful when it comes to the screen, which renders content beautifully and responds instantly to gestures. My early-gen model is probably about twice the size of the current version, but I’m not opposed to a bit of comfortably solid heft – while reviewing the super lightweight Samsung Galaxy S3 a while back, I couldn’t get over the flimsy feeling.

But in order to squeeze more out of it, accessories are where it’s at. Special stands to place the iPad at the right angle, so it’s not sitting awkwardly in your lap, on a table, or being propped up either by your hands or something else close to hand. Keyboards enabling you to type out lengthy emails and documents without your hands cramping up. Or, my favourite to date, a combination keyboard/cover – the former works over Bluetooth, the latter through a combination of a physical slot combined with magnetic wizardry. Get that going and you have a pretty neat setup to take anywhere – it’s just as easy as sliding out and unfolding a laptop.

I do feel that a tablet could eventually make up my entire workstation, and sooner rather than later. When I’m at the office, I hook up my laptop to a larger keyboard and extra-large second monitor; it’s not a huge leap to think the laptop could be replaced by a tablet as technology improves. I firmly believe that it’s all about going for what’s closest at hand, mixed in with choosing the right device for the job (I am a guilty second-screener as charged), but maybe when it comes time to buy my next laptop, perhaps I won’t be replacing it with a laptop at all.

The good

  • Well, it all comes down to one thing, really, doesn’t it? The iPad is all about reading and viewing content, be it through a browser or via an app. And it does that brilliantly (I love the Twitter app, for one). Beats browsing on your phone any day. Of course the toss-up is that the best gaming monitors are ridiculously more powerful and enjoyable but you can’t bring them to bed, can you?

The bad

  • A lot of sites (cough *Flash* cough) don’t play nicely with the iPad. For example, I can’t watch iSky content on it, and when I tried to pay our Northern Gateway toll online on the iPad, the fields for inputting my Visa details weren’t working.
  • I can almost touchtype on it … but not quite.
  • I can’t plug my phone into it to charge like I can with my laptop.

While I’m on this topic, is anyone else out there totally drowning in digital overload? I know a lot of you take online sabbatical from time to time, and occasionally I’ll more or less unplug for a weekend.

Flipboard helps, of course, as does following good curators who filter content for you. For example, there’s Jason Hirschorn’s media/tech/digital roundup, the new Evening Edition, and new attempts at delivering stringently curated and targeted stories popping up frequently, like Launchticket. I was gutted when Summify was sold, though Twitter now uses that technology to send out its own daily summaries.

Yet I often feel that reading news and blogs and keeping up with industry happenings is itself a fulltime job. While I do that for fun sometimes, more often than not I actually can’t be bothered. Heck, the majority of the time I just skim over or delete the Hirschorn roundups because I’m short on time, though it’s a valuable digest. Attention and time is finite, which as a content creator, I am also well aware of, treading both sides of the line.

Keeping on top of the digital world is tough. It takes so much time and effort, and increasingly I’m torn by my love for the web and my desire to unplug from it all.

3 thoughts on “The iPad review to end all iPad reviews, plus the curse and infinity of digital overload

  • Reply myjampackedlife July 31, 2012 at 06:26

    i love my ipad so much. it goes everywhere with me and i use it to search the web, blogging, i have tons of apps ranging from tv, money, blogging, music…
    it took a long time for me to get used to the touch type as well and even now when i use it i have to be sure to proof read as there are always mistakes.
    for all its downsides, there are so many more positives for me.

  • Reply mochiandmacarons July 31, 2012 at 12:53

    I hate surfing on the iPad because of the lack of FLASH. GAH!!!!

    As for ebooks and emagazines it is not as good as the real thing but I’ll be damned if I carry 100+ pounds of books around with me every time I move.

    I’ve even gotten into e-sheet music for the piano.

  • Reply Jen (@MasterTAOSaving) August 1, 2012 at 18:19

    I actually bought the new iPad to help me get organized and free up my time with blogging and other tasks. Sadly, I haven’t had the time to get it all set-up and find apps and all that stuff.

    I’ve been experience the digital overload for months and my head feels like it’s going to explode. Typing on the iPad is still not feeling right to me, maybe one day…when I have more time. 🙂

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