Sonntag, 2. Mai 2010

Insights after two weeks with the iPad

After some while using the iPad and reading lots of reviews I still think, some relevant experiences with it have not been posted. As I am living in Germany I also want to comment on the support in some major German online news portals.

But lets work it out step by step:

Browser:
As all reviews say, its pretty much the same browser as in the iPhone, but with a much larger display connected. But the usage feels quite different. You easily accept some restrictions, if you use this browser on the iPhone, because you just have such a small screen and you're just happy to get access to the sites you are looking for.
But frustration rises fast, if you have this nice full format display in use. Some websites just feel somewhot strange, because they make some more intense use of scripting and mouse over events, which is not supported by this limited browser version. But it can get more serious, if the embedded script get more complex: I was dropped out of an ordering process in ebay when I was doing my payment over paypal. And it gets a nightmare if you try to go for direct publishing with the iPad. Nearly nothing works: No Google Docs, no online blogging, no any other online editing tool I tried.
I searched for other blogger comments and found one of them quite desillusioning. He ended up in using remote PC access to be the ultimate solution - http://jkontherun.com/2010/04/22/blogging-on-the-ipad/ - Isn't this crazy? You have a 1 GHz device with a brilliant display and a horribly good touch UI including the best screen keyboard I ever used and you have to limit this device to become a dump remote screen and keyboard!
In the end I found a slogan based on a German beer commercial: "Nur gucken, nicht anfassen", which means "just have a look, don't touch". I think, this describes the iPad browsing experience quite well. If you only want to access some websites without any deeper interaction you can get quite happy with it. But if you want a full interactive experience you might still be better served by a notebook or netbook using the well known OSs and their broadly supported browsers. A full browsing experience is not there on the iPad. Until today I found only one exception: "Outlook Web Access", the online web access to Microsofts exchange mail servers works nicely.
I think, this is enough about the browser. And I partly agree on others like http://sachin.posterous.com/the-web-sucks, that prefer good apps against the browser dialogue. But the open internet is and will - at least for lots of year to come - stay the only really everywhere application hundreds of different devices support in a very similar way.

The German portals and the iPad:
As promised in the introduction I will spend some words on the changes I realized on some portals. They partly intend to switch video clips into the matching device format. So www.spiegel.de and www.bild.de both do some browser detection and either call up the full embedded flash player or send out quicktime enabled clips. This works seamlessly with the up to now existing impact, that the preroll commercials don't show up and only the content is streamed. Interestingly the resolution is different for the iPhone and the iPad and the videos look quite good (even far away from HD) on the large screen of the iPad. Seems alike, that there is some deeper cooperation existing, as the German www.apple.de site shows iPads accessing exactly the Spiegel.de homepage.
I think, this behavior of website operators will be quite common in the near future, as all the sites want to widen their reach to the most. Never realized similar effects to support devices that are not officially available in the local country.  


What else?
I tried some eBook reading with the iPad and tested some different apps. Found that the "Kindle" player apps works quite nice and fully compatible with all the other reader software on PC, iPhone and Macs. I still think for heavy readers a true e-ink does better. I am getting tired much faster, than reading normal books. Had only some first short read test with e-ink devices but think in their visual reception they are really much more like paper.
And the people are still going crazy, if they realize that someone is really carrying an iPad. It really fascinates even technical experts and all want to touch it...

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