October 26, 2010


incase Convertible Book Jacket for iPad
I visited an Apple store for the first time and wrote about the experience. I returned a week later to buy an iPad for business.

The second visit was not as good. The store was even more crowded and noisy. Products aren't on the shelves. This creates more retail space, reduces theft but slows down purchasing. The checkout line wasn't clearly marked. All this caused delays.

I eventually bought the base iPad (16 GB storage and Wi-Fi). Why not a fancier one with 3G and more storage? Three friends with the same model are satisfied. I have MiFi (the topic for another post) for anywhere Internet access to files stored in the cloud.

Why Now?

I'm not a gadget freak, though I upgrade my equipment regularly. I never bought an Apple product before. So this purchase took special consideration since this could be the first step into the sphere of Steve Jobs.

I got the iPad for business. My goal is to quickly show relevant nonlinear content. This could take the form of webpages, snippets from PowerPoints, tables showing tax rates, photos and video.

A notebook computer is too obtrusive and slow to get ready. Carrying paper isn't practical since I don't know what I'll need.The iPad has a WOW factor which helps with marketing.


There's much to like about the iPad
  • instant on: like a smartphone
  • vibrant screen
  • very fast: seems faster than my netbook and notebook
  • intuitive navigation with your fingers
  • long life battery: easily lasts all day
  • reasonable volume and sound quality
  • apps are very easy to install
  • reasonable pricing for the hardware, accessories and apps
  • much better for email than a smartphone


The iPad isn't perfect
  • installation requires a computer and an iTunes account (the process also installed QuickTime and the Safari web browser)
  • much heavier than it looks (but much lighter than a notebook)
  • no ideal solution for playing PowerPoint presentations (see below)
  • designed for the out-dated 4:3 aspect ratio (1024x768) but my content is designed for 16:10 widescreen (1280x800)
  • lack of Adobe Flash limits (see below)
  • No try-before-you buy option for apps
  • no multitasking (coming soon)

No Adobe Flash Support

On my notebook computer, Flash crashes often or slows down web browsing. Maybe Apple is wise to dispense with Flash but you'll find online content you can't play. You see empty gaps on the web pages, which is annoying. At least there's a player for YouTube.

No PowerPoint Support

Most of my content requires PowerPoint 2010 and there's no iPad player. I can manage without editing, though some basic abilities are nice to have. However, I do need a player. Apple sells Keynote ($10 US) but reviews are negative even from Mac users. I've heard that Docs To Go Premium ($17) is a great choice with support for Word and Excel too. There's the innovative Nonlinear ($10), which is part of the TalkingPad project started by Seth Godin. Unfortunately, you must buy before you can try and there are no refunds.

For now, I've converted slides into pictures using the Save As option in PowerPoint. Each slide is numbered and the collection is stored as an album. This removes animation but that's okay for my purposes.

I have no intention of presenting the content using a projector or external screen. I'd used my usual ThinkPad X200 tablet with a remote control instead.

Why Not Wait?

Buying version 1 technology has drawbacks. This time I'm not concerned because Apple is building on past experience. The iPad is like a big iPod. Millions of iPads have been sold, which makes this tablet the clear market leader. The current model does what I want and can be used for years. New apps are being released daily. There are no imminent competitors — certainly none with an app store.

While there's still plenty for an Apple newbie like me to learn, I'm extremely satisfied with the iPad and the new capabilities it provides for business (and fun).


PS Since the iPad is slippery, be sure to get a nice case. I chose the incase Convertible Book Jacket (see review). It grips surfaces well, protects the iPad, gives three viewing angles and has a tilted position for typing.

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