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Author Topic: iPad 3 and me  (Read 4568 times)
elvisbrown
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« on: July 15, 2012, 12:45:04 AM »

I came to this by way of a gift. I could have bought yet another camera or another watch that I wouldn't wear but I took the plunge and went for the ipad 3 with a smart cover and the wireless keyboard.

My computing background has been with windows since forever as both a user, fixer and programmer. I'd be less than honest if I said that I hadn't always viewed Apple products as best suited to the mindless and inept. Sorry but that's honesty for you :-)

I have always been a tinkerer and as we all know, with earlier versions of windows you had to tinker to get it to work the way you wanted. By with XP, and later Win7, I freely admit that tinkering became something to do for its own sake. I will also add that there are now more useful apps around than ever in the past. Like Dropbox, Phrase Express and Notepad++ to name but a few.

About 18 months ago I bought an iPod and was extremely disappointed that it didn't work straight out the box, in fact it took a few hours on the internet to find out that iTunes didn't like Win7 64 bit. Anyway, long story short, iTunes was a nightmare to use, the device was not "user friendly", so I sold in pretty quick. Bad experience all round.

So I came to the iPad with mixed feelings and tried not to let my previous experience with Apple pre-determine the outcome.

My initial experience of unpacking it was interesting, instead of the huge pile of polystyrene, plastic bags, cable ties, cardboard, CDs/DVDs, leaflets in various language that are left over after unwrapping a new laptop, the iPad was both simple, elegant and enviro friendly. Turning it on and within minutes it is working, simple, elegant and easy.

But then I tried to load some of my photos on to it. And there the problems started. I once again discovered that iTunes it still the biggest deterrent for a Windows person when confronting an Apple device. It is buggy, badly designed, bloated, etc etc. I did eventually manage to get a folder synced to the iPad but when I sync'd another the previous ones disappeared. Like a fool I was expecting the ease of copying stuff to non-Apple devices. Bad right there.

I ended up frustrated and cursing and revisiting the 1984 Apple Superbowl ad and marveling at the irony of it, for if ever there was a "Big Brother" approach to anything in this life it is Apple's view of their customers. "We know best and you will do things the way we want you to do them". I could go on.

But I persevered and soon realised that I had brought to this the expectation that the iPad was a laptop substitute. It isn't, end of story. So I had to shift my pre-conception around to accepting this device for what it was. So what was it? It was an iPad, duh!

So my frustration abounded around how locked down it is, no USB, SD or other open ports. Nada. I then found Dropbox and a text editor that would open and save files in Dropbox folders. I freely admit that the frustrations were greater than any perceived benefit at this point in my journey to the Apple World of the Brainless. But then....we had a 5 year old come to stay with us and we bought "The Wonky Donkey" a kids book for iPad. Wow, we laughed and sang and painted with our fingers and when you poked the donkey he farted!

This was my first realisation of just how good this was. There was no loading CDs or DVDs or waiting for it to load, you just click the icon and away you go. It invites participation in a way that no Windows program had ever done, at least for me, and apart from porn LOL.

I am now at the end of my second week and am starting to explore the many apps that are available. I am writing this with an app called "ia Writer" and apart from the fact that it wants to correct my spelling to US English instead of UK English, even though I have set the keyboard to UK English, it is bloody good.

I have come to appreciate one thing above all else, stuff just works here. You click and it works, it all seems to work the same way too. When it comes to usability this thing beats the rest hands down. I can appreciate why this is locked down, even though I resent it. 

I did consider getting an Android tablet instead of the iPad but in some ways I think Android is worse. It is owned by Google and I don't trust them. On my smart phone I have seen the move to the next version of Android completely change the Contacts app to the point that it was almost unrecognisable as a Contacts app. It was that kind of arrogance that deterred me from an Android device, And sure Apple are just the same but they seems to go for consistency instead of novelty. I admit that this may seem unfair.

So what are my conclusions, if any? Well not having made the entire journey to the Apple World of the Brainless I still have some views of my own. On the iPad I can do most of what I previously did on my laptop. I can do it easier and for longer, the 10+ hour battery life is really good. I cannot do any programming and editing photos is unbelievably difficult and time consuming compared to my laptop. I think that Apple claims that you can multi-task on the iPad but either I haven't found the equivalent of CRTL + TAB or that is just more bollocks.

Would I recommend anyone getting one? Yes, with no hesitation. I have a Kindle and it cannot be beaten when it comes to reading books, sure, you can do that on a laptop or iPad but you really wouldn't want to if you have a Kindle. Likewise the iPad, it becomes a device in its own right with its own uses and limitations. It has a place in the stable. It is beautiful, elegant and every windows person should see what this is about. Am I giving up my laptop? no way, am I buying a Macbook, no way, am I getting an iPhone, no way. Do I appreciate the Apple consistency across devices, I sure do.

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superboyac
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 01:15:10 AM »

Very nice writeup, it was a joy to read!  Such honesty.

I got the ipad 1 a couple of years ago and my assessment was very similar, I'd say.  The ipad is really the perfect coffee shop device, for exactly the reasons you mention: it's easy to just do the little thing you're going to do for the next 15-30 minutes.  No grabbing your power cord and setting it on your lap, etc.  For me, I found 90% of the time I was using it to check email and read things.  The rest of the time I used it as a brilliantly capable gps.  I have an android tablet also, and they can both do the same things, but the android will have more bugs, and a couple of more difficulties here and there.  What separates the ipad is the screen quality and the impeccable touch responsiveness.

The biggest problem with the ipad for use real computer users is that our brains don't cooperate with the device.  Unlike most i-fans, we know way too much about computers to be comfortable on the i-devices.  As soon as you start thinking about files and folders in your mind, you will immediately sense the frustrations.  All those "why can't i..." "how do I..." questions come up and the simple answer is "you can't".  Even with it jailbroken and getting access to the hidden filesystem doesn't make things much easier.  I know also have a Sony Z ultrabook, and other than the coffee shop stuff, I know am primarily using the laptop (full pc computer) once again.  It's the power.  It doesn't seem like Apple will ever allow the power that pc users are used to.  They really are meant for a different crowd.  A far dumber crowd when it comes to computers.  And I know those people are not really all dumb, they just "want it to work".  But at this point, I'm going to risk offering a little judgement and criticize them for being a little dumber than they have to be.  I'm done arguing this point with them.  it's just not that hard to install drivers and download freeware.  You learn how to do it in 10-15 minutes, and that's it for life.  If you don't want to learn, that's cool, but realize that you are then at the mercy of the companies and waiting for them to create technology that you can use like an appliance.  With a little education, you can do a lot of really cool things with these computers.

I've been trying to find the proper analogy for the whole pc vs. apple debate, and the closest I've come is this:  it's like the vegans vs. the carnivores.  Whenever the two parties mix, who wins?  The vegan.  he has to, there's no other way.  Because the vegan is the one that has the restriction.  The carnivore has no restriction.  They are not on equal terms.  So any "compromise" is not a compromise at all, it's just the vegan winning.  Either the carnivore has to eat vegan food (which is already within his diet), or the vegan gets his own food separately from the carnivore.  What NEVER happens is the vegan saying "ok, this time I'll eat meat, and next time we eat vegan stuff."

And that's like Apple and pc.  The pc can do everything the apple can, but not vice versa.  So the argument is ridiculous, as far as who is better.  The apple is easier for people who are not going to do much more than whatever the device comes with.  The pc user is going to use it as a foundation to build a whole bunch of other things on.  The pc has NO restrictions, the apple does.  Any compromise will result in a victory for apple because it means SOME restrictions need to be in place where there weren't any before with the pc.  So it's a bit of a loaded debate, if that's the right word.  I know there must be some kind of legal term for this kind of situation (40?).

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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2012, 01:18:35 AM »

I still say this: if any android or windows device comes out that has awesome touch-responsiveness, that's going to be the ipad, iphone-killer.  They keep coming out with devices with improved hardware and improved specs, but the touch-responsiveness is still not as good.  I'm telling you, this is THE feature.  This is the money maker, for any of these comapnies that want to listen.  A smart company would right now take however long it needs and however much money it takes and make a phone or tablet that has the same touch-responsiveness as the iphone/ipad.  Once it is done, they will be the new kings, the new apple killers, i'd put money on it.  After that, just put on a great screen and you're good to go.  everything else is way secondary.
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elvisbrown
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 01:46:51 AM »

I think some of this is historical. In the bad old days you had to understand something of how Windows worked, or to be more correct didn't work, in order to have a computer that you could actually use. People found ways round the limitations and wrote programs to add missing functionality. For all of that, Microsoft never actively prevented anyone from doing that because the shortcomings in Windows was the result of corporate stupidity.

By contrast Apple's shortcomings appear to be calculated corporate policy.
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nosh
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 02:14:48 AM »

Nice write-up. I recently upgraded to one (my mother now has my older iPad) and absolutely love it. It's jaw-dropping beautiful.

iTunes hasn't been buggy for me but it's definitely badly designed. I've set a custom folder for my photos and it syncs those fine. The camera roll album is a different matter. Fortunately, the latest Dropbox has an option to automatically upload images/videos from there so that's one more (completely unnecessary) hurdle overcome.

Have you tried looking for a "select all" button in photo albums? There isn't any.Grin Apples' way of making users select a lot of photos on the quick is semi-retarded (and quite hilarious) - you put two fingers on the first image till it gets selected, then without lifting the fingers you start swiping up, down, left, right over other photos and watch them get selected... it boggles the mind why someone thought of this as the right way to go about things. Can it be they believe their average user is quite capable of (mistakenly) hitting select all and delete in quick succession?  Cry


I'm going to have to disagree with you on a few things. Editing photos comes far more naturally to me on a tablet and is one of its strengths.

And the battery life IMO, is not nearly as good as it was on my older iPad, I'd become accustomed to it lasting a very long time. Now I don't have the luxury of just clicking it off in bed and falling asleep. It takes a full five hours to charge and demands to be charged overnight. The device also gets nice and warm but that's merely an observation, not a problem. Some people in harsher climes may actually consider it a feature on cold days. tongue

Multitasking gestures are very useful, but they need to come up with a better way of switching apps. I'm not holding my breath.

There's a DC thread discussing iPad apps, do take a look if you haven't already.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 02:26:38 AM by nosh » Logged
elvisbrown
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 03:11:54 AM »

As it's my first I have nothing to compare it to except my Dell laptop. I am already in the habit of shutting apps down (2 clicks on the home button), to save battery. I have been using it for around 3-4 hours and it still shows 75%. Prior to this I'd be cooking my balls by now :-)
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 08:35:50 PM »

I've played with iPads and there is no question that they beat any Android tablet hands down when it comes to responsiveness.  But the iOS environment simply won't allow me to use a device the way I would like.

The problem is the same thing that kept the Macintosh from becoming a useful personal computer until the arrival of the *NIX based OS-X, and that is Steve Jobs' notion that users should not have to deal with files because data "belongs" to a specific application.   To my way of thinking, data is content and should exist independently of any application. I want to be able to choose the application I prefer in any particular situation to use on it.  Apple deliberately set out to prevent this by not providing a file system to organize data independently of applications.

I don't need to use anything like Dropbox on my Android tablet or phone. I can simply move anything I want to and from the device anytime I want to. I don't even need a USB connection. There are several excellent file managers for Android that allow me to browse my LAN for files over WiFi and even view many of them first. My current favorite is X-Plore, which has a great dual-pane interface, but ES File Explorer,  FX and Astro also make this easy. I can also use an FTP server on the devices that allows me to browse the file system from my PC, and even to manage or edit files from the PC with ftp aware programs like Beyond Compare.

I do have a Nook Simple Touch Reader, and I'd agree that e-Ink is far easier on the eyes than any LCD screen, but I find myself reading more and more on the tablet.  One reason is that I can pick among several excellent readers which have different strengths for different types of documents, or different devices.  With the Android file system, I can organize documents the way I want and use whatever program I want to view or edit them. In other words, I don't have to give up the benefits of the PC environment to  enjoy the advantages of a tablet.
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 09:03:27 PM »

Quote
The problem is the same thing that kept the Macintosh from becoming a useful personal computer until the arrival of the *NIX based OS-X, and that is Steve Jobs' notion that users should not have to deal with files because data "belongs" to a specific application.   To my way of thinking, data is content and should exist independently of any application. I want to be able to choose the application I prefer in any particular situation to use on it.  Apple deliberately set out to prevent this by not providing a file system to organize data independently of applications.

well said, though i don't think people who have't used the ipad for some time will be able to appreciate how awful this restriction is.  it is a very artificial and painful limitation that you eventually come to really resent, and it's a major drawback of the apple devices.

a concrete example to help people understand the issue:

if you want to send some pdf files to your ipad to read, you PICK THE APPLICATION you want to read them with, and send the document files to that application.  if you later install a new ebook reader software, guess what -- you cant read those pdf files with that new software, you have to RE-TRANSFER duplicate copies of the pdf files to the new application.

And all of this is done through itunes, a hellishly evil application whose purpose in life is to prevent you from having control over your device.
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AndyM
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 09:18:00 PM »

Excellent thread!!!!  My wife got an iPad2 a few months ago.  I fooled with it for a few days, very very cool.  For what it is.

Quote
The biggest problem with the ipad for use real computer users is that our brains don't cooperate with the device.  Unlike most i-fans, we know way too much about computers to be comfortable on the i-devices.  As soon as you start thinking about files and folders in your mind, you will immediately sense the frustrations.  All those "why can't i..." "how do I..." questions come up and the simple answer is "you can't".

Spot on!!!
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lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 09:34:35 PM »

It's the power.  It doesn't seem like Apple will ever allow the power that pc users are used to.  They really are meant for a different crowd.  A far dumber crowd when it comes to computers.

True to an extent. However I don't think it's really got anything to do with intelligence in anyway. The mac cult is generally higher income earners for the reason that, IMHO, the more you earn the more expensive it becomes to use your free hours to hack/tweak here and there. It makes more sense to pay more upfront for the solutions that just work and save much more time/efforts later on, even at the cost of having less functionalities in a few cases. It often is a quality of life, not technical, decision.

Take for example, a purchase of a new PC, there're so many choices/combos out there that it becomes mind-boggling to select/build one. By the time that you racked your nerve and made a decision, you probably already lost the value of the PC that you're gone purchase (taken into view the time x after-hours hourly rate you spent on it). And that doesn't even include the efforts that you have to commit after buying the PC.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 09:44:19 PM by lotusrootstarch » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2012, 10:50:15 PM »

well said, though i don't think people who have't used the ipad for some time will be able to appreciate how awful this restriction is.  it is a very artificial and painful limitation that you eventually come to really resent, and it's a major drawback of the apple devices.

Truthfully, I know the restriction, and it's only really limited me few enough times that it's not been a big deal.  And I rarely use iTunes; now that they added the ability to upgrade the OS without tethering, I haven't connected either of my devices to my computer in quite a while.
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 10:12:45 PM »

A retraction.  A few days ago I said:

I've played with iPads and there is no question that they beat any Android tablet hands down when it comes to responsiveness.

Today, I received my Nexus 7 tablet from Google and I have to withdraw that statement.  This thing is every bit as responsive as any iPad I've ever played with, and at 1280x800 on a 7" screen, it looks just about as sharp.

I don't know how much of this is due to the hardware and how much is Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), but I'd have to say this is the first device I've tried that gives up nothing to the iPad and has all the advantages of Android.


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lotusrootstarch
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 10:19:55 PM »

A retraction.  A few days ago I said:

I've played with iPads and there is no question that they beat any Android tablet hands down when it comes to responsiveness.

Today, I received my Nexus 7 tablet from Google and I have to withdraw that statement.  This thing is every bit as responsive as any iPad I've ever played with, and at 1280x800 on a 7" screen, it looks just about as sharp.

I don't know how much of this is due to the hardware and how much is Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), but I'd have to say this is the first device I've tried that gives up nothing to the iPad and has all the advantages of Android.




Great to hear!!
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2012, 01:50:39 AM »

A retraction.  A few days ago I said:

I've played with iPads and there is no question that they beat any Android tablet hands down when it comes to responsiveness.

Today, I received my Nexus 7 tablet from Google and I have to withdraw that statement.  This thing is every bit as responsive as any iPad I've ever played with, and at 1280x800 on a 7" screen, it looks just about as sharp.

I don't know how much of this is due to the hardware and how much is Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), but I'd have to say this is the first device I've tried that gives up nothing to the iPad and has all the advantages of Android.




Great to hear!!

Indeed! I just wanted to comment that I don't expect an Android tablet that can rival the iPad's responsiveness any time soon. Good to hear I was wrong.

I'm not an Apple-fan at all. The iPad is the only Apple product I own. I'm not even using iTunes (don't have it installed). Nevertheless, I don't regret buying the iPad at all. It's an excellent device and a joy to play and work with. The lack of a file system as we're used to from desktop OSes is annoying. But like wraith808 it hasn't been a real problem for me so far. To be honest, the one thing I'd like Apple to change is the keyboard. 4 button presses to enter a + is just stupid. And the lack of arrow keys or an alternative method for moving the cursor as well. The magnifying glass is a nice idea but to be honest, it just sucks. Double-tab the main button works very well to switch between apps for me.

Last but not least, buying the iPad is *the* one thing that had the most positive effect on my Android phone's battery life Wink
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2012, 03:19:31 AM »

Nice reads. :-)

I'm no apple fan as well, and since my smartphone is a Samsung galaxy S2, my TV is a Samsung smart TV, I'll probably end up with a Samsung galaxy tab 10.x

Last but not least, buying the iPad is *the* one thing that had the most positive effect on my Android phone's battery life Wink
Made me rofl :-)
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