So I’ve had my iPad 2 for a month now and I thought I’d write about how it’s worked for me. I hope you guys aren’t sick of iPad posts, because I’m all excited about my new baby and want to write about it. :P First the good things.

  • I use it more than my laptop now. Both my Chrome OS netbook and my aging MacBook get used much less frequently than before I got my iPad, because really most of my computer time at home is for mucking about online. Reading Reddit and forums, reading the news and Twitter, checking Facebook, doing email, etc. I’ve gone for several days of not touching a laptop and just using my iPad at home (still have my monster desktop running Windows 7 at work), though I have had a lot of homework recently that I’ve had to do on the MacBook. The kind of homework I’ve had has been done in TeXShop and Eclipse, writing LaTeX documents and Java programs. While I could see writing a LaTeX document on my iPad provided the app had a decent OSK, writing and compiling a parser and compiler in Java on my iPad seems a bit of a stretch. :P
  • It’s more comfortable to sit around with my iPad than my MacBook. That MacBook feels like a beast now, squishing all the life out of me as it rests on my belly on the couch. My iPad is tiny and I don’t notice its weight.
  • It’s faster to grab my iPad for most tasks than my laptop. If I need to check my calendar or email, or the assignment schedule for one of my classes, my iPad is more responsive and quicker to get the info I need than my laptop. I have a password set on my MacBook for when it wakes from sleep, and a key code on my iPad. The MacBook still has to wake from sleep and bring Chrome up (it’s always open, but it takes a moment to respond) whereas the iPad is faster about doing this with Safari/my email/whatever.
  • The battery life is more dependable than my laptop. If I’m going to take my MacBook somewhere, I always grab its cable because I know how quickly it loses charge. This is after the Apple store gave me a new battery (for free! their customer service is great) a few months ago. I imagine it’s just that my MacBook is from 2007 and just doesn’t get good battery life anymore. The iPad is good for a whole day of listening to music, surfing, playing games, etc. One evening I forgot to charge it, and it still made it through all my classes the next day.
  • Taking notes on my iPad in class is much better than on my MacBook. I love OmniOutliner and Curio in OS X, but it’s still a pain taking notes with many formulas or symbols, and drawing figures was a pain on my laptop. The iPad with a stylus is great for handwritten notes using Upad, and I can quickly switch between figures and writing. Since I do handwritten notes instead of typed notes, I don’t have to worry about finding all the little mathematical symbols my profs use. “There exists”? No problem. “Capital sigma”? Easy. “Union”? Okay then. Having my notes in a digital form is nicer than having handwritten-on-a-piece-of-paper notes, too, because I always have them available. I’ve been able to share them with classmates and my professor, too, when she had a substitute one day. “Here’s what Dr. Blah went over.”

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing on this thing, though (I’m typing this entry on my iPad). Here are the bad things I’ve encountered:

  • is ridiculous. They offer an iPhone app, but you can’t do much with it, and it’s entirely not optimized for the iPad. Their web site has so many little features that do not work in Safari on the iPad, including main functions like editing a transaction’s category or dismissing alerts. There are several posts on their forums about this, with users threatening to leave for another service (Yodlee?) and telling Intuit they’re being jerks. They really need to make an HTML5 site where all functionality works on the iPad, so they don’t have to go releasing different apps for all tablet OSes.
  • Basecamp is a bit derpy, too. They offer a mobile site but it doesn’t let me do everything the full site does, like editing a message I’ve made. When I use their regular site in Safari on the iPad, pasting links into messages doesn’t work. I copy a URL, paste it into the message text box, and… nothing happens. The URL doesn’t show up. I’ve gotten it to work before by removing the http:// part, pasting in the almost-URI, and then retyping the http://. The other night that wouldn’t work, though, and I ended up grabbing my MacBook in annoyance just so I could edit my message and add some links. Honestly, they need to sort their JavaScript shit out. It should not prevent me from adding a link to a plain-text message.

    Uploading files is a bit iffy as well. I figured out one night after sending an image about ten times via email to Basecamp that if your email doesn’t also have some text, it won’t post. I ended up adding some bullshit up top above the image and it showed up on Basecamp fine. Other times there was a delay between sending an email with an attached file and it actually showing up in my project in Basecamp in the browser. That wouldn’t be a big deal but I already don’t fully trust it because of the aforementioned image-emailing issue.

  • Auto-correct can be a little too insistent. Sometimes I’ll go to search for something in Safari and type out some word auto-correct doesn’t recognize. It’ll pop up a suggestion and sometimes I won’t be able to get the little box to go away, so it’ll force the suggestion upon me. Other times I’ll end up accepting the suggestion and then backspace over the wrong part, retype the word I want, and it’ll automatically replace my word with what it thinks I meant, again.
  • Selecting text or moving the cursor can be a pain. I either double-tap when I should single-tap, or single-tap when I should tap-and-hold. This causes me to bring up Cut/Copy/Replace when I want Select/Select All, or vice versa. Other times when I want to move the cursor to a certain place, I’ll tap sharply and it’ll move there, no problem. But then sometimes I’ll tap to move the cursor and it’ll pop up the Select/Select All menu. This gets frustrating when it takes several seconds just to fix a typo or add some text.

Finally, some complaints about broken parts of my iPad, or just plain stupid problems:

  • The dead pixel fairy has visited me, and she won’t go away. :( A week ago, I noticed a little reddish magenta dot while reading a page with a white background. Scrape it though I might, it wouldn’t go away. I can go to page intended to better show off dead pixels, and it stands out clear as day. I’ve tried playing the seizure-inducing videos on YouTube that are supposed to fix stuck pixels, but to no effect. The little magenta bastard is still there, irritating me with its tiny existence. Luckily, I’ve read that the Apple Store will replace iPads no questions asked if you bring in one with a dead pixel, so once the semester is over and things have settled down, I’ll take mine in and do a swap.
  • My iPad is squishy. The Apple Genius to whom I said this was all “whaaaat?”, but it’s true. The bottom right corner of my iPad, to the right of the Home button, has some give to it. That part of the black bezel is raised slightly, and it sinks back into the silver back when you squeeze it. Not a problem, unless it comes out further over time or me squishing it idly causes something to break after a while. The Apple guy told me to monitor it and bring it back for a replacement if it gets worse, since I have several months left of my warranty. Based on this thread, I’m not the only one who has noticed this.
  • The cameras are terrible. I get the feeling everyone grumbled about the first iPad not having cameras, and Steve Jobs was all “cameras are stupid to have on an iPad, but fine, here, have cameras”, and put the weakest, worst cameras possible on this device as a way of biting his thumb at us.