Entering the 21st century

It had to happen at some point. After jumping on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons a bit late (and, admittedly, only to promote san mateo pete), I’m finally a full-fledged participant of the 21st century: I have a touchscreen device. This morning, my wife and daughter thoroughly surprised me with an iPad, which I’m using to write this very post. It’s a very impressive device on many fronts, especially for someone like me, whose first email application was Pine 18 years ago. Good Lord, we’ve come a long way in 18 years. Before I start sounding too much like Grumpy Old Man, let me move on to my initial thoughts about the iPad…

  • The fact that something as powerful and diversely useful as an iPad comes with instructions consisting of (1) a single diagram and (2) a four-item list of steps, speaks volumes about how intuitive and well-designed the iPad is from a usability standpoint. It really is amazing that an iPad’s instruction postcard contains about 75 fewer steps than it takes to assemble an Ikea bookcase.
  • Set-up and synch with iTunes is super simple…nicely done.
  • Typing is somewhat awkward. While the keypad is significantly larger than an iPhone’s, I still can’t quite type with normal keyboard form and fluidity (a lot of two-finger typing). I’m sure I’ll get better with more use, but even then, the ergonomics are terrible. I wonder if someone’s created an app with a split, slanted keypad layout that’s more ergonomic? At any rate, until I get the real keyboard accessory, I won’t be writing too many (any?) more posts on this thing.
  • There aren’t enough iPad apps, considering it’s been around for nine months. The iPhone apps look ridiculously small on an iPad screen.
  • Moving the cursor around can be very difficult and cumbersome. Having to use that little magnifying glass thing to get into the middle of a word or to move forward is lame. And for God’s sake, Apple, why can’t you give us a delete key?
  • Stop asking me if I want to set up a cellular data account! You’ve asked me three times in three hours! Haven’t you already made enough money on the sale of this thing?

It’s late and I’m tired of typing on this thing. Final assessment: awesome consumption device, sub-optimal input device. And I love it. Thanks, Molly and Piper! Can’t wait to get a jetpack next Christmas!

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5 Comments

Filed under Technology

5 responses to “Entering the 21st century

  1. Tam

    What a great present! Piper & Molly did good! Welcome to the 21st century … you’ve finally caught up with your nephews . I hear your frustrations but your blog is much better looking  And besides, if you just use your iPad for Buzz Lightyear movies & for playing Angry Birds like your tech-savvy nephews, you’ll be plenty satisfied . Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Loved Piper’s pics on your card! 

  2. Jim

    Lol – if you feel *really* old, you can probably get an app that will remind you of your meds schedule. I hope you’re not there just yet. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Tom

    I feel the same way about my iPad. It’s great for consuming content, particularly around the house. I haven’t taken it anywhere yet, and I doubt I will, because I’d need to take it in my backpack which is also where my laptop goes, and laptop trumps iPad for typing emails and whatnot.

    • Yeah, if you have a really slim/light laptop that boots up really quickly, then there’s no point in lugging the iPad along, as well. And I’d imagine that MacBooks with touchscreens aren’t too far off…

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