iPad Review Summary

There’s a ton of reviews being generated for the iPad right now, a lot of which is fluff; using words like magical, amazing and revolutionary.  I tried to cut out most of these distracting adjectives and distill it down to what’s important.  I copy and pasted quotes from review sites.  Feel free to check the sites for the entire article.

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GENERAL
“From opening and rendering webpages to playing the most graphically intensive games (including scaled iPhone versions, of course), it didn’t miss a beat. The photo app was particularly impressive, allowing for fast scrolling through high resolution pictures without a hiccup, and handling rotation and zooming with no resistance or hesitation. Applications themselves opened quickly — not instantly. Of course, as many detractors have noted (Engadget included), there’s no true multitasking here, so seeing a system with this much power perform admirably one app at a time wasn’t a huge surprise”(Engadget)

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WEB BROWSING
the browsing experience… is smooth, fast, and fluid.
additions to the app like a proper bookmarks bar, use of toolbar drop downs, and an improved tab grid make it a pleasure to use. It is without question one of the best browsing experiences we’ve encountered. But is it
the best? Well, not really.

Currently, there is a web standard called Flash which allows for streaming video and audio files, online gaming, to entire websites made using its broad and deep development tools. The penetration percentage for Flash on PCs around the world is something like 98 — that’s almost everyone — and many, many sites employ the standard on their pages. When we say many, we mean most if not all of the pages you typically visit use Flash to display some of their content. The iPad browser doesn’t support Flash, and won’t support Flash, perhaps ever. Apple has not only turned away from what is the industry standard for rich media in webpages, but it instead is pushing a newer standard called HTML5. Apple has been very successful thus far in moving its agenda forward and bringing websites into the fold of HTML5, but we’re talking maybe, say, one percent of websites on the internet. Probably way less.

So what does this mean for an end user? Well it means that when you visit a site like Hulu, HBO, NBC, Lala (which ironically, Apple just purchased), Engadget, Gizmodo, or many, many others, you will have a broken experience. That means there will be certain elements of these sites (in the case of HBO, the entire site itself) that simply won’t work.  We’ve been surprised other iPad reviews have not been more forthcoming in pointing this problem out — this is not a small thing; it’s is a major deficit in the iPad’s browser. Now keep in mind we’re not saying we love Flash and want to marry it — in fact, we’d love to see a less CPU intensive format take its place — but HTML5 isn’t that format, at least not yet.” (Engadget)

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E-READER
“To say Apple is about to put a major dent in Kindleworld is an understatement. The iBooks app is one of the most beautiful and thoughtful uses of the iPad screen real estate on the device.  Besides the incredibly sexy page turning animations — useless but gorgeous nonetheless — the entire package is just so airtight. It’s the first e-book reading experience we’ve seen that seems to truly understand the visceral, sensual enjoyment of holding an actual volume in your hand. (Engadget)

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IPHONE APPS
“It’s nice that Apple has included the functionality, but keep in mind that you are locked into what is essentially an iPhone simulator, complete with an iPhone keyboard (scaled up if you’re using the pixel doubling, which doesn’t look that great). It’s tremendous because you have access to applications you may need to use, but it’s not something you’re probably going to spend a lot of time with.” (Engadget)

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BATTERY LIFE

“using the iPad pretty heavily, downloading and using lots of new apps, doing some 3D gaming, watching HD video, all the while getting email downloaded in the background, we got just about what Apple claims this device will do. In fact, it went a little better — we managed to get 10 hours and 43 minutes of life out of the iPad before we had to plug it in again in our first run through.” (Engadget)

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3RD PARTY APPS
“For many of the applications — especially some of the third party titles starting to trickle out — the stuff people are coming up with is insanely clever, just plain cool, or both.” (Engadget)

ABC video player: Even though it feels like a sidestep around the Flash issue, this iPad app does a perfect job of managing the network’s online video assets. We can only imagine Hulu will stir things up in a similar manner.

Netflix: It’s Netflix. On the iPad. And now apparently it’s headed to the iPhone and iPod touch as well.

Yahoo! Entertainment: This one was an honest surprise. We didn’t expect Yahoo!’s first iPad product to be either handsome or useful… and it’s both. The TV schedule and news presentation is top notch, though we’re hoping they take things a little deeper in future updates. And when it comes to entertainment gossip, we won’t really be satisfied till an US Weekly app appears.

Mixr DJ turntable – Though the jury’s out on whether iPad-toting disc jockeys will make it past a club bouncer — much less be allowed to spin — Mixr sounds like the app they’d want to use. The program’s creators say multitouch will allow prospective DJs to simply reach out and touch the virtual tables to manipulate knobs, faders, transitions and digital vinyl, and turn the iPad on its side to flip through their “record crate” library of ready albums.

Photogene, SketchBook Pro, and Brushes: Three apps that show the iPad can and will be a content creation tool as well as a content consuming tool. We used and loved all of them, and think they show amazing potential for this platform.

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