Advice for a potential iPad buyer

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by dimunitive, May 3, 2010.

  1. dimunitive

    dimunitive iPF Noob

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    Hi,

    Long story short, I don't own an iPad (Canadian...), but am considering it. Thanks to the delayed release up here, I won't get a chance to play with an iPad first hand until the end of May / early June. To that end, I'd really appreciate any advice from real life iPad owners on how well it meets my requirements.

    So what do I want an iPad for? I'm a Uni. student whose first gen netbook is getting a little long in the tooth. I want something which is excessively portable and with enough battery to last a full day. I've got a few specific concerns I will outline below.

    1.) How is the iPad for note taking with and without a physical keyboard attachment? I haven't gotten a good answer on this yet. Some reviewers, like Anand, have been fairly positive about the digital keyboard but others have suggested extended typing is an ergonomic nightmare. I don't expect to write massive essays, but without a physical keyboard I'd like to be able to comfortably jot down the 'key points' of a lecture (say, 700w/2hr). With a keyboard, I'd like to be able to do full blown note taking. Realistic?

    2.) Connectivity. I hate iTunes, I love Dropbox. Ideally documents on my iPad would be automatically synced over Dropbox or some such service. Is this supported? Related, would I be able to to download a .pdf article into a Dropbox folder, annotate said .pdf on the iPad, then have it auto-magically synced back? If I have to use an send files as attachments in emails or use iTunes to sync, the iPad would seem less practical to me.

    3.) Not really anything to do with studying, but how good is the iPad's codec pack? More importantly, how good are third party real time transcoding apps? I've got a few terabytes of movies, and I'm simply not going to convert them into some kind of iPad friendly format. If I have movies shared over a network, is the iPad comfortable with streaming various formats?

    4.) How effective is the iPad as an e-reader? I don't want to read Joyce's Ulysses, but can you comfortably read a 20-40 page journal article? Also, what app would accomplish this? Are pdfs treated as ebooks by the iPad's native reader? I've seen that app take notes on selected text, can these notes be exported into a consolidated note sheet? I occasionally use my iPhone in tandem with Dropbox to work as a reader, but it's a PITA to read and kills the battery, and my netbook just isn't ergonomic as a reader, so this seems like a case where the iPad could actually fill a new niche in my life (and free me from the semi-barbaric need to lug around reams of printouts).

    5.) This is less a concern about 'should I get an iPad' but rather, what kind of iPad should I get? My first thought was to go for the wifi 16gb, the logic being I don't intend to store much more than text on the iPad locally, undermining larger storage capacities, and everywhere I would intend on using the iPad (home/campus/work) is blanketed by wifi, and the one place that isn't (the subway) is inaccessible to cellular signals anyways. I'd like GPS, but I'll always have my iPhone with that capability. Can actual owners tell me if this is sound logic, or did people smack their heads when they realized that the 3G model really is *that* much better?

    6.) How much do most users here spend monthly on their iPad Apps Store accounts? Every month or so I buy a $0.99-1.99 game for my iPhone, which is fine, but I could just as easily not. I'm worried that if I give the iPad an integral role in my computer stable, I'll be dependent on shelling out large amounts of cash just to get third party apps which would probably be free on a windows/linux netbook. Given the iPad costs more than a netbook upfront, I'm really quite reticent about having drastically higher operating costs as well. Anand wrote that new iPad owners should expect to spend $60-$120 on apps right out of the box. On top of a 30$ case and a 70$ keyboard, this is kinda steep.

    I know there are some more high profile concerns (flash, usb, multitasking), but those are well documented and, for the most part, soon to be fixed or not really of concern to me. Any advice would appreciated. I guess I'm trying to figure out if the iPad really is as neat as it seems or if I'm just tricking myself into thinking it can do things it either can't, or I don't really need it to do.
     
  2. IpadOne

    IpadOne iPad Addict

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    Writing a roman about buying an iPad

    Hi if you spend some time to read our forum, you will find the reply at all your question …. i hope for you didn’t think like this for every stuff you buy … otherwise your life will be complicated :D
     
  3. Kargurin

    Kargurin iPad Fan

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    1. Bad.
    2. Dunno.
    3. Ditto.
    4. Wonderful. I prefer the Kindle app 'cause of the sepia background option. You can change brightness and fonts and size. PDFs...dunno.
    5. Wifi connectivity and speed are excellent.
    6. I buy too many apps....the games are excellent. I'm probably up to $75 dollars so far. But consider that's only bit more than one Xbox or PS3 game. I game now on the ipad almost exclusively now.

    You sure as alot of questions. :p
     
  4. CaptKirk

    CaptKirk iPad Junkie

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    I think you should buy one. As soon as you can.
     
  5. AbblePC

    AbblePC iPad Fan

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    Get the keyboard Dock from Apple.
    Don't believe what others say about using the on screen keyboard. I have witnessed many people with different types of finger sizes and fingernails, it depends on the persons dexterity to be honest.
    Use apps like SoundPaper that record the audio of the lecture while you annotate, later you can click any word within your notes to skip directly to that position in the lecture.
    I also use PenUltimate...

    There are many apps in the app store that uses WebDav support which link to online services such as DropBox as well as iDisk via MobileMe.
    Just to name a few,
    DropBox
    ScannerPro
    iDisk
    PrintCentral
    Box.net

    iTunes 9.1 along with certain apps, allow under iTunes Apps tab in the File sharing section allow drag n drop functionality to share files, as well as inside some of those apps syncing wirelessly over the air to cloud based storage and sharing.

    AirVideo Live streaming - even over 3G or Edge with Live file conversion on the fly. You can share iTunes libraries as well as movie folders on your mac or PC. The apps needs a very small server applet that runs on the PC or mac and does not stream content that is DRM protected. It's excellent quality and rated very high in the app store, I LOVE IT!

    I personally have used an external tool and converted all my Laser Printer service manuals for HP, Xerox, IBM and Lexmark from PDF to .pub format then simply dragged them into my iTunes Books section to read and view from within the iBooks app on the iPad. Depending on the utility you use, the e-book conversion will be searchable as well as maintain all the format and graphics.
    For very large items, I simply connect to my iMac at home using iTeleport with the use of the Mac's screen sharing, and manipulate files or read certain PDF's there. If your on WiFi most often and remote desktop app would probably get you through a lot of work. Basically using the iPad as a remote device for the home computing environment.

    There are so many PDF readers as well that are all highly rated,

    GoodReader
    ReaddleDocs
    PrintCentral
    Just too many to mention...

    I too thought 16G Wifi would suffice, especially with using cloud storage most often, but once you use, you tend to abuse the space more than you expect.
    Always plan higher in storage and within your price range. Dependent upon your use with document storage, the music doesn't sound like an issue, but then some people have many apps and many documents or video they like to keep with them and not on remote storage. These other things of course taking up more space than anticipated.
    I bought a 16G WiFi to use for home and to show clients when out on business after uniquely identifying their needs as a mobile client and what types of data they use remotely, as well as applications associated across platforms from mobile to desktop or file server. Then install those apps with specific demos to show how mobile computing can help increase, even change their way of doing business. Many times already I wished I had more space to store demos and video, even with the use of cloud storage. When your out on the road, cloud computing is nice, but will it always be available to you at the same speeds as when your on your own WiFi at home or office? the answer is no for me as I have 50M cable service, which also helps my remote sessions from the iPad.

    I also bought a 64G 3G+WiFi for my personal and business use and am loving it. I am yet, if ever, to regret buying the larger memory device. You can never have too much storage.

    If you buy apps like iTeleport $24.99, iWorks (pages, numbers, keynote) @ $9,99 each, mobile me @ $99/yr, the list goes on, you can run into some money. I look at it as, who cares what something costs if it does what I want and well. Remember cost is a frame of mind, its what do you feel comfortable with. Yes, those who would argue that, find that they can't afford many things, why? Even people without money can get what they need when the need arrives(no stealing), I'll refrain from my lecture here.

    As thorough a thinker or contemplator you are, I feel you would be perfect with an iPad just because you will take the time and effort to find the right apps along with ways to make the better use of your iPad. Not just as another media consumer as most seem to be happy with, which is nice, but personally I think the iPad is so much more.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  6. henry2

    henry2 iPad Junkie

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    i went with the 64.gb model from the start along with my it my replacement for the laptop when traveling and basic all around use..ii did buy the docking unit for the unit to hook to the desktop computer to input new data as it need into the ipad ..

    i do not really use my ipad here like the other people on the forum i use more for personal use for the following items ..
    surfing the web
    reading email here and there
    keeping track of the dvd and book library that i have ..plus beening able to keep it updated on the go when buying diff books and dvd movies .
    play a lot of games on the ipad when waiting for the tech and the installers personal to finish sometimes and it can take up to a couple of hours just waiting for them to finish before i can start my part..so i have a lot of games loaded onto the unit ..
    listen to music at times..
    plus my shoping list in my pantry programs ..
    plus other list i use it for checking off when traveling ..i have a packing list and air port list to make sure i have everything with me ..

    so that i what i use my ipad for ..iam not really useing it like the guys who are hardcore business types ..me it a second brain at times for when i write down a note or two about the software or the program is not matching up the request at times or i need to remind them about makeing sure something is up and running right ..then i will email them to the tech who is working on the install with me and he will call me back and tell if they fixed the problem or not..
     
  7. mac

    mac iPF Novice

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    Sounds like you need something more like the Viliv S10 Blade.

    Not much bulkier, more capable for your needs, available now, and probably about the same cost in Canada.
     
  8. Isaac Newton

    Isaac Newton iPad Fan

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    Just buy one, relax and enjoy the fact that what it can't do today...does not mean it won't tomorrow. Your only an app away....
     
  9. stever

    stever iPad Fan

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    You have gotten good advice here, especially from Abble, But I would like to weigh in here on a couple of the points.
    This is extremely sound logic. It looks like your analysis is right on point.

    I got a 16Gb WiFi right away, I couldn't wait.
    I will be getting a 3G through work, and will be giving this one to my wife.

    I am pretty sure 16Gb will always be fine, for me.
    I have loaded MANY Apps, and a few podcasts here and there.
    (probably as many podcasts as I am likely to have on at anyone time)
    I still am under 2Gb used.

    My situation is like yours. I work on campus and so 99% of the places I am, I am covered by WiFi.
    The few times I have no WiFi, and have time to use the Ipad, There are plenty of things I can find to do on it that don't need the connection.
    Read something, Write something, play a game, on and on.

    Without tons of music, photos, or video?
    Yup, 16Gb WiFi sounds right.
    I always loved PDAs. So I knew I would enjoy an iPad.
    (Some of those PDAs I bought were $600 - $800 when I got them new.)

    But with the list of shortcomings you mentioned being bandied about, I figured I wouldn't see it as netbook replacing.

    Now that I have a few weeks experience, and a small BT keyboard, I find that:
    I like it EVEN MORE than I thought I would. . . a lot more.
    and There are VERY few things I have to do before I am around a Desk computer again.

    Come on in, the water's fine!

    .
     
  10. henry2

    henry2 iPad Junkie

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    it really up to you to make the right choice of buying the unit or not ..it a great unit and it does work really great if you use it for what it meant to do ..it somewhere between the iphone and the desktop or laptop use in a person life ..if you only need to check the emails and send a few emails along with some basic websurfing and few other things it great unit just for that area of it use for i have no problems with the unit..but if need something like a laptop to do your work on then get a laptop ..but this unit is a great little unit and i really love the way i can do basic things now that i used to have to drag a laptop along with me on trips ..

    me i do not read-e-books or watch movies on the unit.for my of my applications our for personal use when iam sitting around waiting for them to fix a problem it a game of chess or card game or listen to music etc when i sitting there waiting for them ..
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  11. Kargurin

    Kargurin iPad Fan

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    Don't believe what others say? Are you suggesting someone has taken over my body under the name of 'others'? That just happens to be my opinion. You simply cannot type on the virtual board like a regular keyboard. Best case senario is you put the pad on your lap in landscape mode and use one finger for each side of the keyboard. It is too small to do otherwise. Try doing that for more than a few minutes. IMO of course.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  12. AbblePC

    AbblePC iPad Fan

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    Your right, you can't type on it as well as a regular keyboard. What I was merely attempting to put across, is that there is a lot of hype surrounding this device on the Internet good and bad. So with that in mind, when it comes to the keyboard or Flash, multitasking etc. (don't believe what people say) I should have said what "many" people say, they just like to repeat what the last guy said without cause for explanation or actually ever using the device.
    Many of those things will be addressed soon and the keyboard really is easy enough for some people to use with practice or sometimes right off the bat, especially if they already had been using an on screen before on an iPhone or iPod Touch. I personally have no issue, but am used to small things working with electronics and surface mount components, I also don't have large hands.
    Landscape is the easiest, lol I have to laugh there, only because there are times when using one hand to type the landscape keyboard feels to me too large. I know I will hear guff about that one, but it's true to my use. However, there are times when I do wish for a regular keyboard and is why I use and also suggested he get the keyboard dock or at least the bluetooth wireless keyboard, which I also use but rarely.
     

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