iPad: The Bookstore-Coffee Shop Test

Web/Tech / Monday, April 5th, 2010

I was lucky enough to have the day off as an extended Easter holiday so, after running a few morning errands and dropping the car off for a four-hour detailing appointment, I walked across the street to a local bookstore, ordered a non-fat hazelnut latte and settled down in an upholstered lounge chair to put the iPad through a few paces.

I easily connected to AT&T wireless in Barnes and Noble and within minutes I updated my WordPress blog and deleted some spam comments, checked out a review of a new camera that I read about in a magazine, approved some new members on my forum, cleaned up my email inboxes, and checked the start times for a movie playing nearby–all while sitting comfortably in a chair without the need for a table top while watching two others cradling their laptops and casting intrigued glances in my direction from time to time.

Finger typing is interesting. I can touch type on the keyboard but that would require more of a desktop surface and isn’t as easy to do with my legs crossed holding the iPad on my lap. The A4 processor is very fast and I felt as though my wait time between screen transitions was minor. Moving between open browser windows was speedy and pleasant. My battery life diminished 5% over two hours during some pretty heavy use which is a credit to both the new processor and the large capacity battery powering the iPad.

As I spend more time getting used to using the iPad, it’s becoming clear to me that this device is about creating a new experience in the way that we interact with our computers. As much as I like the power of my desktop iMac and laptop Macbook, do I need that kind of horsepower when I’m sitting in the bookstore spending some time on my online pursuits? Sometimes–it will really depend on what I’m doing and how intense the particular project might be. For mild computing and informational searches or multiple-media entertainment while on-the-go, the iPad seems to be just the ticket.

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