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26 January 2011 @ 01:33 am
Electronics report: iPad  
Beth's had an iPod touch for a while now, and when the 4th generation (with cameras! and high-res screen!) came out, we both got those. Given my usage habits, I was also tempted by the larger screen of an iPad.

So, after a chance to see my cousin's iPad up close at Thanksgiving, I bought one the day after thanksgiving. The timing turned out to be fortuitous: Both the devices and cases had significant discounts. I wound up getting the cheapest iPad (wifi-only, 16 GB storage), and an Incase case.

It's serving it's intended role as a bigger iPod touch fairly well: As I now have 2 such devices, the children don't fight over them (much). They each get one, at least on those occasions (movies during car trips, etc.) where that makes sense. It's also quite handy as a portable web browser, with the excuse being that I'd use it for that with students.

It turns out that there are a number of differences between the iPod and iPad, some of them kind of bizarre. Some of the apps that are preinstalled on the iPod are absent on the iPad: The weather, stock and calculator apps are missing. The "Music" app is renamed to "iPod", as well. Within some of the apps, the UI has been reworked for the larger screen, which is usually welcome. In general the larger screen just feels bigger: It'll run iPod apps in a smaller rectangle, with the option of running them either at original size, or magnified 2x. Some apps are coded to take proper advantage of the larger screen.

From a usage perspective, some of the change is a simple, if nonobvious, consequence of the device just being bigger and heavier. Things like touching the intended spot on the display is easier, as the spot is bigger. Accelerometer-based games are slightly harder, because it takes more to move a bigger device. The bit which surprised me most is that I use the rotation lock (don't let the screen auto-rotate) a fair amount on the iPad, but almost never on the iPod touch. It's enough heavier that I set it down, and that's a more likely to rotate in a way that I don't want.

The larger battery is a mixed blessing: A full charge lasts noticeably longer than on the iPod, but it's enough hungrier that I more or less need to use the wall-charger that came with it, instead of charging through the computer's USB port. The bigger speaker is nice: The iPad sounds better than the iPod, though it's still clearly limited by size. (I should really get my external speakers set up with it.)

Overall I'm pretty happy with it. Like many pieces of modern electronics, it's mostly a matter of what you'd use it for. Beth wouldn't use one, but mine gets a fair amount of use.
Kirinkirinn on January 26th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
The music app is also called "iPod" on the iPhone; presumably that's their preferred name for it but it looks weird to have an iPod app on an iPod.

Seems odd that they would include maps and leave out weather.
Christopher Avery Sherwinnemene on January 26th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
What I find odd is having two seperate apps for "iPod" and "iTunes".
jon_leonardjon_leonard on January 27th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
That's probably it on the naming: I haven't played with an iPhone, so I'm inappropriately using the iPod touch as my baseline.

I suspect that the maps thing is about the data source: It's pretty clear that they're getting the stock and weather feeds through Yahoo!, and the maps data from Google. I suspect that Yahoo's contract fees were enough to get the "Well, you can just use the web browser..." response.

The calculator thing escapes me, though.
Kirinkirinn on January 27th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
That halfway makes sense... but Google has stock feeds. And in general I'm surprised if there's not various smaller companies that would jump at the chance to have Apple use their feeds in an app for a smaller fee.
Christopher Avery Sherwinnemene on January 26th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
I got an iPad for Christmas and have had a similar experience. I find myself looking for new uses for it (new apps etc), because I enjoy using it so much. I also got the base model, but for most purposes that is sufficient, I probably wouldn't want to pay for the 3G service anyway; besides now that we have a Clear 4G+ mobile hot spot for our van, wifi is usually enough...