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Hands-on with the Apple iPad - it does make sense

January 28, 2010 By ANDY IHNATKO


I have to say that it's more touch-tappable than touch-typeable. Typing at my normal speed was ... unproductive. But if I slowed down, I could type very fast using both hands. It's fine for writing emails, but probably poor for writing an essay or a column. Nonetheless I'm certain that I could do a whole 800-word column on the virtual keyboard without suffering too much.

The virtual keyboard doesn't have to be as good as a real one, anyway. There are two options for mechanical keyboards: a keyboard dock that holds the iPad like an easel and incorporates a notebook-sized keyboard, and Apple's standard wireless Bluetooth keyboard.

Months ago, I installed a browser plugin for Safari called "ClickToFlash." It blocks all Flash content. You'll see a placeholder image in the webpage and if you want to view the content, give it a click and it'll load in. I have not noticed any drop in my ability to enjoy the Web. What I have noticed is that my browser is faster and more responsive, and that I can leave a couple of dozen tabs and windows up for weeks without having to force-restart my Mac.

the iPad (like the iPhone) doesn't multitask third-party apps. You can listen to music from the iPod app while you work on your mail, but you can't listen to music streaming from a Pandora client. But on an iPad, switching between two apps is lightning-fast and intuitive, and if it's anything like an iPhone, this "one third-party app at a time" policy will result in a far more stable computer.
An Android tablet does true multitasking. But this feature makes Android devices a little crashy, it slows down performance (sometimes to the point where you need to restart the device), and it really demands that you download and use a special app that does nothing but help you manage this herd of skittish and sometimes quite angry sheep.
These differences don't mean that the iPad is under-featured or that an Android-based tablet is so backward that it might as well have been made from sticks and dried animal skins. It's a difference in philosophy.
Most of my admiration for the iPad comes from the fact that I left that demo room with absolutely no complaints about the speed, comfort, or simplicity of my user experience.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 05:26:39 PM EST
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