iPad initial impressions

There are enough other reviews on the web about the iPad, so I’m going
to focus on my experiences and how I’ve begun to use the iPad in my home
life and how it may be used in education.

The purchase:
I reserved my ipad the day they opened reservations on line so I would
be guaranteed to pick one up on April 3rd. I didn’t trust Saturday
delivery, so I headed to Columbus to the Easton Apple Store to stand in
the “privileged line”, the one which had the others who had also
reserved their iPad. When we arrived at 7:30am, there were approximately
40 people in the reserved line and about twice that many in the
“unreserved” line, those that were hoping to still pick one up.

Anyway, I bought mine and while my brother and sister played with iPads
in the store, I pulled out my Macbook and setup my iPad. Some reviews
talk about the iPad ready for use right out of the box, but mine popped
up the “connect to iTunes” symbol. The initial sync didn’t take long,
but I really wasn’t syncing up too much.

Initial Impressions:
Fast! It is probably the fastest browsing experience that I’ve ever
experienced. For the first time it was the speed of the network and not
the hardware slowing me down. The onscreen keyboard isn’t that bad, I’m
typing this article on it, but it does take some getting used to. The
biggest problem is keeping your fingers up off the glass so it doesn’t
register additional “key” presses. The other issue is that it is
practically impossible to type without looking at the keyboard, so if
you are typing in information that is on paper, it will be a lot slower.
Im debating whether to buy the bluetooth keyboard. I paired it with my
old Think Outside keyboard, which was a piece of cake, but that keyboard
is getting old and the k and l keys do not work the best. I also bought
the Apple case for it, which helps put the iPad at a good angle to use
or type on.

Longer term impressions:
There are more situations where a tablet can be used than a laptop, and
the additional screen space makes the iPad a lot more useful than the
iPod Touch. For example, at a meeting I can have the iPad in my lap or
on the table. Where the iPad shines is when I want to show others
information or something on the screen. I can just hold up the iPad or
hand it to them without the awkwardness one would experience with a
laptop. Maybe it’s just the websites I visit, but lack of Flash has not
really been an issue. A lot of the video sites already support HTML 5,
which works flawlessly on the iPad.

I’ve been impressed with the number of iPad ready apps already in the
app store. Some of my favorite apps, such as Evernote, WordPress, and
iSSH are already available.

Educational implications:
That being said about Flash above, students would notice the inability
to use some of there favorite sites. Sites such as Starfall, which would
be amazing on the iPad, fail from lack of Flash. The availability of
Pages and Keynote bring some productivity to the iPad, but the clumsy
method of using iTunes to transfer files would hinder their use in the
classroom.

Closing thoughts:
I’m going to be posting more as I work with the device longer. I’m
excited to use it to teach a lesson in a kindergarten class to see how
well it will work as a teacher device. Some accessories will probably
end of purchasing include the camera connection kit and the Bluetooth
keyboard. The big unanswered question is “who is the iPad for?”, and,
unfortunately I can’t answer that yet.

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