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April 06, 2010

AC is going iPad.


Steve jobs said at the latest of his infamous keynote speeches that a new device called the iPad is a "magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." For many, who use their PC or laptop to browse the web, answer emails, watch movies and view pictures, this may be true. The vibrant touchscreen and snappy A4 system-on-a-chip are perfect for consuming media. 

But, as the readers of this humble blog know, writers are not just consumers. We are creators. We create every day for work, for ourselves and for our friends. But many writers like us are also unabashed Apple fans, and the desire for the next magical and revolutionary device is just as strong as anybody else's. 

But, for us creators, does this latest device really suit us? Can we use a small touchscreen and a streamlined set of mobile apps to create and share our work as well as we could with a laptop? Well, we at American Copywriter don't rightly know.

But we're about to find out.

For the next month or so, contributing blogger and associate copywriter Nick Kinney (that's me) will be trying to ditch his laptop and live on a 16GB, Wi-Fi-enabled Apple iPad. With built-in software and 3rd-party apps that will be revealed as they're discovered, I'll be doing my professional and personal writing, blogging, surfing, music-listening and porn TV watching on this little and hopefully revolutionary device. 

Each week, I'll post here (from my iPad) about what it takes to turn a device made for consuming into a full-fledged creation machine, and how different aspect of my digital life change (or don't) as a result. I'm beginning that transformation in earnest today, but since I've had a long weekend to explore my new toy, here are some first impressions:

• The hardware is well-built, to say the least. I spent a few minutes after unboxing just admiring build quality.

• The touchscreen is every bit as responsive as the iPhone's, and it's size allows apps to be robust while keeping the hardware small enough to be very portable-feeling.

• Speaking of apps, they are NOT merely scaled up iPhone apps. The larger screen and faster hardware allow iPad apps to be so much more in-depth than their iPhone counterparts could ever be.

• Browsing experience is perfectly acceptable for everyday use. Seems like most of the major websites I visit (ESPN, CNN, various fantasy baseball sites) are free (or at least nearly-free) of Flash animation/video.

• Typing has been easier than expected on the touchscreen. In just a few days, I've developed a 3-4 finger per hand touch type method. Long (250 word) email was a snap.

• The Apple Bluetooth keyboard connected easily and reliably, making several-thousand-word writing sessions possible. 

• Battery life is as advertised. Hours and hours.

• Pricing is...confusing. Not sure why iPad apps are consistently 50-100% more expensive than their iPhone counterparts.

• Fave app so far: Netflix. Stream quality is awesome, and watching 30 Rock in bed was a much better experience without a 7 pound laptop on my lap. 

• Official Apple iPad case is highly ergonomic. Love how it props screen on my lap.

Alright, guys. That's it for now. I'm off to explore the App Store in search of something that will allow me to access a file server and our office printers. If you know of any good apps that might help me out (or just distract me with something fun for a few minutes), please let me know. See ya later on this week!


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Can't wait to see the result of this experiment. I'll be following closely. I'm fascinated with the the possibilities, even when they outweigh the practicalities of cost, productivity, battery life, ease of use and, of course, distraction factor. We writers are also creatures of habit, and it takes some adjusting to find our grooves. Will you be able to focus and bust out your work? If you were working on a new business pitch, would the iPad be in the mix, or would you stick by the tried and true laptop?

I'll be watching!

I, too, can't wait to see how this goes. Considering I plunked down the cash for a MacBook last year and also have an iPhone, I'm wondering if/how the iPad would fit in. Looking forward to seeing your results!

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