by Aitch Cee
It’s hard to believe that the iPad has turned five years old on January 27th this year. I wasn’t released until April 10th 2010. it’s almost just as hard to believe how much the iPad has transformed technology with its uses as well in that time. We have seen the bezel as well as the unit shrink, the display and storage sizes increase and the competitive market increase as well. Although no word came from Apple this week on the next generation of iPads, these past 5 years have been a dream for technophiles, including myself. Years ago I could only imagine a device as versatile and as portable as this and I am glad that we have it.
The first year
In the first year that I had my iPad, I was amazed at what it could do as a multipurpose device. I could squeeze lots of books, movies as well as music onto my device. For once, media-philes were free of having to drag along extra disks and cables to get the most out of their devices, we finally had one device that could do it all.
Most amazingly, was the fact that it was a great comic book reader. I remember in the early months how many of the comic shop owners I heard from who feared that the iPad would kill off comic shops due to the availability of digital comics. So far, that hasn’t happened. If anything, in my region (MD/DC/VA) I have seen at least 4 new shops open with one more set to open in another month. I also remember how at the Baltimore Comic Con when Mark Waid gave his speech about copyright content at the Harvey Awards and the controversy it caused. Many were afraid that with tablet devices, it would make illegal downloading that much easier for those that wanted it yet again, brick and mortar stores still thrive.
In that first year, I actually had the chance to put the iPad’s battery to the test as for the first time, I was able to leave my laptop home, fly to Greece and was amazed at how much battery life was left (17%) once I made it to my hotel. It was also a great way for me to store my pictures on it from my trip and show them off much later.
The Growth of the iPad over the Years
Within the last five years, we all have witnessed the changes in the iPad, which has also pushed others in the tech industry to produce their own tablets to compete with the iPad. With changes to the OS and the processor, we have seen the increase of the resolution rate, apps that have made our lives somewhat easier; it’s also changed how we do business as many mobile vendors have been able to use iPad as mobile cash registers. Students in many places are using iPads as opposed to traditional pen, paper and books. The iPad has become very pervasive on what it can do in the workplace from helping pilots navigate planes, to keeping up with inventory and also menu choices in restaurants as well as tracking patient information in medical centers in a seamless and lightweight form.
The one thing that I love most is that the iPad has become a full-fledged media device. This past year, with the World Cup in full swing, when I couldn’t get to a TV to watch games, the iPad was my go to device. Also, a lot of magazines I used to get in paper format now, I get digitally. We have seen the iPad become not necessarily a laptop replacement but a laptop companion as there are still a lot of things I think that the iPad cannot do as well as a laptop. It’s a great couch companion as opposed to having a large laptop warming your lap. For the casual user, it’s also great at navigating through social media. Also now since most tablets have cameras, it’s hard for any of us to miss a moment with our tablets with a handy app like Instagram to share it with others. While it can also do a lot of gaming, I don’t do as much as I would like to but to be honest, the biggest impressive thing that I wished for and got was a device that allows me to play Magic the Gathering on the go! No need to sit at a desktop, no mouse or keyboard. Just swipe and play.
Ways the iPad Still Could Improve
While there is a lot that the iPad can do, I still think that there a few things it can do better. The first is although Steve Jobs was adamant about not allowing Flash to be used on mobile browsers, there are still quite a few sites that work better on a full-fledged laptop than on an iPad. With that, there are a few tablets that beat the iPad in this area because they allow Flash to run and some browsers are optimized to take advantage of that. Hopefully in the future, this may change, but I won’t hold my breath. Also, I do feel, that even with the iOS upgrades and changes, it still doesn’t multitask in the same ways that other tablets are doing currently. It would be nice to be able to live tweet a show on my tablet as I watch it on my tablet via split screen. Another great thing would be able to do a Face time conversation and share a screen showing a project I am working on. One more change I would like to see from the iPad is while screen resolutions are getting better, form factors are getting smaller, I still think that the speaker placement could use a lot of improvement. It still sucks that when listening to music or watching a show, all of the sound is coming out of one end of you device. I would gladly sacrifice some screen real estate to get some stereo sound from the speakers.
How Others See It:
Below are opinions of others that have owned an iPad as well as some recommendations of apps:
Honestly ever since I made the switch to Team Apple, it seemed like a necessity to have. I was right, but it’s also a burden. I can’t put the damn thing down! I am always up to date with my appointments and plans, it’s remarkably easy to use and sync with your other devices, I’m simply obsessed with it and it never leaves my side. My three favorite apps would have to be ComiXology, this one is new for me but clearly essential to life (comics on the go, duh!) Spotify is a big one for me. The interface for the iPad is brilliant and easy to use and keeps me on top of my music game. Speaking of games, last but not least, Hearthstone. This app is so smooth and well thought out. I am addicted!
The Good: for me it’s the actual versatility when I put into application. For example I can use my google calendar on it to plan around my work/teaching schedule. I can chat with my mom on FaceTime while I’m in the kitchen cooking. I can use it to read and watch TV on the plane. At its best it’s all the portable things I grew up using, all in one. Bad: it’s more cool than it it utilitarian. I find that most of what the iPad does, I simply do on my phone. Apps that I can’t live without. 1. Fieldrunner. I love turret games. It helps me pass waiting room and airplane time. 2. Comixology. Even though I hate the lack of one touch downloads, it’s a great place to DL a quick book to read before bed. 3. Toodledoo. A tier-based app of checklists and to-do lists.
When it first came out, I was one of those people who made fun of the name (seriously, it’s so unfortunate), but then, my husband bought me one for my birthday…and it was a game changer. I found myself watching Netflix *all the time* – the app and the screen size was perfect (also, it was way more portable than my laptop…which is such a weird sentence to write). Then I got iPads for my parents, and that too became a game changer for them. They don’t speak or read English very well, but the iPad had Chinese as a language option. My mom now regularly sends me emails (so much better than her calling me at 3am to ask me random questions), we Facetime (yes, they live only 10 minutes away…and this is saving our friendship), and my mom can watch all her Asian soap operas without my brother or I having to download and burn DVDs for her…it’s all streaming (she found Asian Netflix). Most recently, my parents even got on FB…which is a little weird, but it’s also great because they don’t have to ask me why I sound like I’m sick…they can tell from the photos that I went to a killer party the night before (and that I’m hungover, not sick). Basically, I adore the iPad. I love my Macbook Air, but sometimes, I want something thinner, lighter, but bigger than my iPhone…the iPad is perfect.
When my laptop started slowing up for even the most basic tasks, I got an iPad Mini last fall. Since then, it’s replaced pretty much everything I do on my computer except for word processing. It’s been extremely convenient to bring around as compared to my laptop, and even though most of what I use it for isn’t close to work it’s still pretty helpful for responding to e-mails and using Facetime for calls.
I can honestly say that the iPad has been a blessing and a curse. The convenience of having the ability to access information in a decent sized format from almost anywhere is wonderful but I think I certainly was able to get more sleep, or at least get to bed earlier, before I had an iPad. I still have my original iPad 2 and I would probably be nearly lost without it.
There are a ton of different apps that have become part of my life and routine but if I had name three that are utterly indispensable to me, I would have to say the Facebook app is one that I use throughout the day on almost daily basis, iBooks, Comixology and my other book apps because I know I have access to reading material whenever I have time to read and I don’t have to carry around a stack of books, and third would be iTunes. I have the ability to listen to music or watch a movie pretty much anytime or anywhere, and that has been invaluable to me more times than I can count.
My iPad has replaced my laptop in almost every way, as I can do everything I need from my iPad. The downfall is that because it’s so portable, I find that I’m constantly on my iPad – sometimes more than my phone. I have to remind myself that there is a life beyond the screen.
Apps I can’t live without: the Facebook app (and messenger) because I move frequently and it helps me keep up with friends
MyRadar – what can I say, I enjoy knowing the weather patterns. I’m weird.
Hulu+ is pretty much the best thing ever.
Simply put, I have owned my Ipad for a bit over two years, and I can’t think of a single day I haven’t used it. It keeps me entertained,informed and up to date. If my refrigerator broke, i could go a week without it, if my Ipad broke, I’d have a new one later that day.