The reviews of the Surface Pro are in, and one recurring theme seems to be that everyone is trying to work out what the device actually is, and who exactly is it for.
So I’m very much enjoying my iPad mini – I went with the 3G-enabled 64GB version – i.e. fully tricked out and cost £529.
I was looking forward to using it everywhere, as it is small enough to fit in my coat pocket. Where I used to use a phone or briefly a Nexus 7 I owned, I would now be able to use the iPad mini and take advantage of all the iOS apps I’ve already invested in.
What I noticed was something unexpected. I started to feel self-conscious/worried about using it in some scenarios. There was something unsettling about getting out a £540 tablet on a bus in London. Us Londoners are accustomed to being on our guard and not generating attention while out and about on public transport, but this thing makes that quite difficult!
I didn’t mind so much when it was a £180 Nexus 7, which I didn’t feel was that attractive to others anyway (owning Android doesn’t exactly shout “I’m likely to have expensive things on me”), but a £540 device suddenly requires an extra element of foresight before use in public.
Maybe I just need to get used to it. Or move to Silicon Valley.
While the U.S. started receiving their LTE iPad minis last week, the most accurate guideline we’ve had from Apple over here in the UK so far has been a delivery by “late November”.
This evening, checking the status of my pre-order on the Apple Store iOS app shows me a small but nonetheless newsworthy update on this. Delivery is now scheduled for “30th November to 7th December”:
As of 17th November 2012, the order is marked as “Dispatched 1-2 weeks” so I guess the earliest I could hope for delivery is from around the 28th November, with the latest being 7th December. I think it highly likely Apple are being cautious with their estimates – much better to under-promise and over-deliver.
Apple are certainly stretching the definition of a “late November” delivery here! Oh well, at least things are progressing!
I know, such an unoriginal title, but its the truth!
The iPad mini seems to be causing a fair bit of animated discussion as people spend time getting their head around it and where it fits in.
Understandably, it is being compared to the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. The main points coming out against it are:
- It doesn’t have a retina screen
- It is too big
- It is too expensive
I’ve always wanted to write this post. I’ve spent years evolving my technology-based home media setup, and for some reason, instead of writing a long blog post about it I ended up posting it on The Verge forums, and you can find it here:
It provides a brief overview of the various components of my setup, and what it can do, from acting as a central iTunes hub, to allowing for remote streaming of movies and TV shows, to hosting a VPN server for secure web browsing anywhere in the world. Since this blog is really the spiritual home of a piece of content like this, you can find the post in its entirety below.
Well it’s been 5 months since I sold my Acer 1810TZ Win7 netbook and switched, somewhat over-confidentally, to using an Apple iPad as my primary computer, and I’m here to share my thoughts as why I’m now selling it and replacing it with a newly purchased 11″ MacBook Air.
To some and many, this switch is a no-brainer. A MacBook is a fully-fledged computer with a fully-fledged OS, while the iPad is essentially a big-screen version of a mobile OS. However, the reason why I thought it may work is due to my computing requirements – I just want to browse the web, send some emails and watch a few videos. I remember clearly waking up one Saturday morning with an epiphany that a laptop is no longer the best tool for this job, and that I should go and buy an iPad immediately. (One of multiple instances where the desire to own the latest gadget is justified with a flimsy productive excuse!)
Despite an initial and long love affair, unfortunately the cracks started to appear (in the metaphorical relationship, not the physical device). Despite the best of intentions, the iPad just couldn’t hold up to the day to day use I was expecting of it, despite the fact it was designed almost perfectly to meet my requirements. Here’s why:
Fast app switching (a.k.a. “multi-tasking”)
With the update to iOS 4.2.1, the iPad could finally “multi-task”. In reality all this meant was that you could switch to different apps and pick up where you left off – they weren’t actually running in the background, but that was academic, it certainly made life much better.
However, by adding functionality that was designed to alleviate a problem, it served in my mind only to highlight the weakness further. That is, that no matter how easy it may be to switch between apps, you are still bound to viewing one app at a time, spanning the entire screen. It was prudent of Apple to call this functionality “fast app switching” and not “multi-tasking”, because you are only ever doing one thing at a time, and this became frustrating. I began to miss having multiple windows open and quickly flicking between them. Doing more than one thing on the iPad became a novelty rather than second nature.
Multiple tabs in Safari
Again, this is an example of functionality just not meeting to up to the expectations of the user experience. On any desktop browser that supports tabs, you can see at any time how many tabs are open and what the title of each one is. With Safari on the iPad, you can only see one page (you have to press a button to change the entire view to see what other tabs are open), and when you do try and load other tabs, the pages have to reload from scratch (I think due to RAM shortages). This makes using the web with multiple tabs a complete ball-ache.
Creation not consumption
We’ve heard this argument so many times. One person will say “The iPad is only for consumption” while people like John Gruber will despair at such a pre-historic viewpoint, arguing that the iPad is a very capable creation device. My view is that while the iPad may be “capable”, that does not by any means make it “suitable”. I can be far more productive with spreadsheets etc on a PC/Mac than I ever will be able to be on an iPad. It’s the nature of the beast – by having to combine clicking, swiping and touching all into one input (your finger), compromises in data-entry efficiency have to be made.
I will miss my iPad. It was amazing. Probably the most amazing piece of technology I have ever had the joy to own. I can’t put into words how revolutionary this device is, and how it has single-handedly changed the future of home computing. I’ve made it clear that I do not feel it can cope as a primary computer, but to the iPad’s credit, the fact that I even thought it could be is a massive compliment! I’d never think, for example, of selling my old netbook for Galaxy Tab! The iPad is a contender for almost any type of consumer computing, but you have to think strong and hard about what you want it for, and concentrate on those aspects that it can’t do, because they are what will make or break it for you.
I am writing this on my new 11″ MacBook Air, which I am in love with! It is a joy to use and the size means I do not feel I have compromised by selling the iPad. The shorter battery life is a pity, but seeing as 90% of my usage is done in my living room, this isn’t really an issue.
For those with multiple computers, an iPad can surely find its place, but as a primary computer, I don’t feel it is ready.