By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 1:15 am
Before I came into possession of an iPad, I fretted that so much had been written about the thing that there might not be all that much left to say. So I asked you guys–here and on Twitter–about your remaining questions.
Turns out I had nothing to fear: There were plenty of matters you were still wondering about, many of which went unaddressed in the initial spate of reviews. Here’s my first stab at satisfying your curiosity. If this post prompts additional questions, cool–ask away, and I’ll do my best to answer.
Without any further ado…
Can you use any Bluetooth keyboard with it or just the Apple one? What about other bluetooth devices like mice?
Answer: Any Bluetooth keyboard should work (I predict a run on any remaining stock of the wonderful-but-defunct Stowaway folding keyboard). Bluetooth stereo headphones work, too. But mice aren’t supported, and neither are Bluetooth earpieces of the type you’d use to make a call on an iPhone. (My iPad couldn’t even tell that a Jawbone Icon was in the vicinity.)
How prevalent is the behavior in Safari where you choose another loaded page from the thumbnail browser and then have to wait for the page to reload? Is it any better on iPad than iPhone?
Answer: I’m finding that when I return to a Web page, Safari sometimes instantly displays the cached version, and sometimes reloads the page. If there’s a pattern, I haven’t detected it yet.
Wayne Dixon laments:
I’m assuming (for unknown reasons) that wireless syncing is not possible… still… despite the Zune having this functionality.
Answer: Right, syncing is still done via USB cable, just as with the iPhone. However, there’s a nice new feature that lets you copy files from your computer over to third-party apps (for instance, GoodReader uses it to let you move PDFs to the iPad).
Tim Joyner asks:
I hate the fingerprints and smudges on my iPhone. How annoying are they on the iPad?
Answer: The situation’s about the same. My iPad looks pretty smudgy with the screen turned off; not so much as long as it’s turned on, though. And the oleophobic coating makes it easy to wipe off fingerprints with a dry cloth.
Ergonomics #1: if you put it on a table (without the optional sleeve) can you type and still see the screen well enough?
Ergonomics #2: assuming you do not sit with your knees up high like in every iPad demo video, how long can you hold it with one hand, and interact with the other, until it gets uncomfortable?
Answers: You can certainly lay the iPad on a tabletop and see and type at the same time, although you might not want to pound out a ten-page business report that way. (The height of the table probably plays a role here.) I bought the Apple case, and think the way it lets you angle the iPad for easy typing and reading is pretty darn neat.
I’ve found that the iPad works well in my lap, held with one hand–not unlike the way you’d interact with a slim hardcover book. I’ve also grabbed it like a giant BlackBerry, and typed with two thumbs. For quick text entry, such as entering a URL, that works surprisingly well.
Can podcasts be updated from the iPad or will they need to be downloaded and transferred from the host computer?
Answer: Seems to be the same as with the iPad–you can download single episodes of podcasts directly to the iPad, but subscriptions must be managed via iTunes on a computer. There are, however, third-party podcast apps for the iPhone that permit on-device subscriptions; I don’t see any iPad ones yet, but assume they’re on their way.
How much will it sell for in the UK when it launches at the end of April!?
Answer: Good question!
Richard Pascoe asks:
Does the iPad folder from Apple have any pockets or sleeves in it to put business cards, random bits of paper that I am given throughout my day as a tech and retail consultant?
Answer: No, unfortunately–I was just wishing that it did. It’s a good opportunity for the third-party case makers such as Speck and Incase.
Bonnie Bucqueroux asks:
What do I have to do to make my online newspaper part of the iPad reader? Our paper is online only – do I need to do a PDF layout version? I am confused.
Answer: Well, chances are that the Web version of your newspaper will look dandy in the iPad’s Safari browser. Apple’s iBooks app and Amazon’s Kindle don’t do subscriptions–yet–so they’re meant for books, not papers. Companies such as Texterity and Zinio are working on ways to bring periodicals to the iPad.
If you did distribute it as a PDF via e-mail or the Web, the iPad should be able to display it.
How is the iPad for reading books? like PDF tech books especially?
Answer: Its built-in PDF reader is meant more for consumption of brief files than lengthy documents. (F’rinstance, it doesn’t have a search feature or bookmarks.) For reading books, you’ll want a third-party PDF app–GoodReader seems to be aptly named, and it’s only 99 cents.
What did you think of iBooks? Have you tried buying and reading books?
Answer: iBooks isn’t bad–it’s a joy to have an e-reader that doesn’t color and shines (literally!) in dim environments. But it also feels like a first pass rather than the definitive iPad reading app. With 60,000 books, the selection is still smallish, and it doesn’t do magazines or newspapers yet. I think there’s an opportunity for a third-party developer to beat the pants off Apple with something wonderful–and for now, I’ll probably use Amazon’s Kindle app, since it’s got more stuff and I’ve already paid for a bunch of books in Kindle format.
Does the iPad run warm?
Answer: I’ve been using it in a protective case, so I haven’t, um, touched its underside to my person. But I’ve seen no evidence of it getting toasty so far.
Do Facebook games work on a iPad?
Answer: No, technically speaking, since they’re pretty much universally written in Flash, which the iPad doesn’t support. But if you’ve got any faves, they may be available in native iPhone and/or iPad editions. My only Facebook game weakness is Bejeweled 2; there’s an iPhone version (with Facebook Connect integration) that’s just great on the iPad in double-size mode.
Does Safari version for iPad have “Find in page” function?
Answer: No, unfortunately–Safari for iPad feels like a plus-size twin of the iPhone one, with the same virtues and limitations. Find-in-page is certainly on my wish list for the next version of Mobile Safari (or maybe we’ll get it via an iPad edition of Opera Mini).
Dichi inquires about:
iPad options for video/audio in/out.
Answer: There aren’t any features for getting video and audio into an iPad. There is, of course, a headphone jack. And using optional cables, you can output its video via VGA or component or composite video.
Will Skype work with a Bluetooth headset?
It didn’t when I tried. Apparently, as with the iPod Touch, Skype doesn’t support wireless headsets. (This is still the iPhone version of Skype we’re talking about–there isn’t an iPad one yet.)