iPad Users - Lend Me Your Experience
June 7, 2010 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm seriously considering buying an iPad. I'd like to hear what others who have bought an iPad feel about the device in the months that they have been using it. Are you happy with it? Any buyers remorse? Also, I read when the iPad first came out it had a few problems with WiFi reception. That still the case or has it been fixed?

Oh, also, does it work with bluetooth stereo headphones like the iPhone and iPod Touch currently do?
posted by Effigy2000 to Technology (25 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
After a few weeks, no buyer's remorse. No issues with wifi to speak of, either. I thought for sure I'd get the unified inbox, but apparently not. It's a bit annoying to do the multi-step cha-cha to switch accounts. Otherwise, it's very very nice.
posted by jquinby at 1:46 PM on June 7, 2010

Can't speak to bluetooth; I haven't tried that myself.

Otherwise, I love it. I use it mostly at home for web surfing and other small tasks where my phone isn't big enough, but a laptop is cumbersome. It's great for reading Ask Metafilter during commercials or in bed, for example. Or I can pick it up to see, "What else was that actor in?" or "What's the name of the song that's playing during ending credits?" Or I can read and respond to e-mail in a slightly easier-on-the-eyes format than my phone. Movies and TV look great-- a Netflix account makes it an even better buy.

It's not a laptop replacement for me, but it does the small tasks excellently. It's a great appliance. Multitasking in iPhone OS 4 (well, iOS 4) will make it even better.

One note, though-- I don't find the bigger disc sizes to be that useful. Maybe if I were going on vacation and loading it up with 30 DVDs, but not for day-to-day stuff.
posted by supercres at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2010

I've had mine for about 3 weeks. It's wifi, 16GB. I'm happy with it.
Pros: Battery life is awesome, typing is great, well-developed apps (at least iPad specific ones), very quick rendering of web pages, beautiful screen, very quick wifi connection time.

Cons: No video conferencing (yet; video chat on iPhone announced today means it's probably not far off for the iPad), good handwriting apps (Penultimate is the best so far, and with a Pogo Sketch stylus it's usable as a way to get things into Evernote, but it's a far cry from my tablet PC), autocorrection sucks.

Multiple-tasking is easy to achieve by jail breaking (painless) and installing Backgrounder, so that's not on either list. I didn't get headphones with mine.

Oh, use case: I'm a mathematician, so my gripe with handwriting apps is that they're either very rough or, like Penultimate, have trouble fitting many diagrams on a page. The iPad needs a OneNote clone, or a far better Evernote app. PDF rendering is beautiful with Goodreader.
posted by monkeymadness at 1:52 PM on June 7, 2010

Love my iPad, and tend to pop it on for a quick email check rather than open my MacBook Pro, which lays next to my bed. It connects to my network flawlessly from the upper floor of our house (the router is on the main floor), and I've never lost a connection.

It's a zippy machine, snappy, responsive, and the battery life is remarkable (Apple has not exaggerated the claims).

And, above all else, there are some amazing, magical apps available - I'm rather fond of SoundHound (hum or sing a tune and it'll identify it, with remarkable accuracy), and Star Walk (bring the iPad outside on a starry night and it will show you what you're looking at)

If you're considering purchasing one, just go ahead and do it... you won't be happy until you have one for yourself!
posted by newfers at 1:54 PM on June 7, 2010

I bought the WiFi version when it came out, and I'm still happy with it. Mostly, I like how it feels, especially the web. I wrote about that in detail here.

I don't know about Bluetooth, but I haven't had any WiFi problems. And I'm pleasantly about the battery life. I plug it in about once every three days.
posted by ignignokt at 1:57 PM on June 7, 2010

I love mine. I've given away all my kindles to family members; my mom just gave the kindle I gave her, to her sister, in favor of an ipad for herself.

I picked up a stereo bluetooth headset, and found that while it works great for listening to music, either I messed something up during pairing, or the ipad actively refused to link to the microphone that's built into the headset. I don't need a microphone, so it's a non-issue for me.

I'd heard about wifi problems, but had none of my own, up until this weekend, when the ipad suddenly refused to connect to my home network's wifi, but wouldn't give me any sort of useful error message. I altered my router from b/g mixed to g-only, and it started connecting again.
posted by nomisxid at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2010

I don't have one, but I'm planning to get one for my wife. The one thing I worry about is buying a first generation product from Apple. I bought the iPod touch right when it came out, then the price dropped, and the 2g version was a good deal better, and the 3g version (which I have now, since my 1g bricked) is lightyears beyond. Luckily, my wife's birthday isn't for months, but I'm definitely going to wait to see if a new one comes along in September.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:10 PM on June 7, 2010

I've had mine for a while now and I have mixed feelings about it. It does have WiFi issues on some networks -- in particular mine is very susceptible to interference in "network rich" environments and is much worse at dealing with weak WiFi signals than my iPhone. Apple is aware of these problems and has posted work-arounds, but there hasn't been an update yet and who knows if its a hardware or software problem.

It's a fun device for consuming some kinds of content. I enjoy watching streamed Netflix content on it (it's better for TV than movies, since the aspect ration is wrong for movies), using it to display and share photos with people who come to the house, surf the web (kind of, though oddly it's sometimes for that and it has trouble with some pages it shouldn't have trouble with -- even leaving aside the lack of Flash), and reading books in Amazon's Kindle app. It's fine for reading email and Twitter and the like, but not for writing -- not for writing anything substantial. The iWork suite is barely a beta app and I don't find the soft keyboard useful for serious typing anyway. Others disagree and of course there are wireless physical keyboards.

By far the worst thing about the device is the lack of multitasking. It would be a nice way to surf, keep track of email and IM in the evenings while watching TV, for example, if that's the way you unwind. It could be a perfect "couch device". But you can't do that. You can't use it as an IM client at all, because you'll have to constantly quit what you're doing to respond to IMs. All of this will get better with iOS 4, but at the moment it seriously hobbles the device's utility even as a consumption machine. Also, in the absence of a login system, it's hard to share among family members, which is a shame.

That said, it's nice for consuming content (at home or on the go) and it has some really great games. It can be used as a little auxiliary screen for your desktop mac when it's not in use for anything else, which is very cool (the app is called Air Display) and it has a lot of other features that make it an attractive device. I think it's a near miss, like many Apple 1.0 products. After few iterations, I'm sure I won't be able to live without it. For now, I could certainly live without it, though I'm not QUITE sorry I bought it.
posted by The Bellman at 2:10 PM on June 7, 2010

No buyers remorse, no issues with Wi-Fi. Netflix is the killer app for it, IMO, and it's almost worth it just for that. It's the perfect catch-up-on-TV-in-bed-or-on-the-treadmill device.
posted by jbickers at 2:20 PM on June 7, 2010

Some good answers were posted in this thread a little while ago.
posted by dnesan at 2:39 PM on June 7, 2010

I like mine for web browsing and email. Given that, it's a bit tedious to write replies like this. Just straight text is generally ok, though I can type much faster on a real keyboard. But if I want to quote someone and include links and stuff, I just go over to a real computer. You can do it on the iPad but it will take a while. Switching between apps is pretty painful too. I can't wait for that part of OS 4.
posted by smackfu at 2:45 PM on June 7, 2010

For me, it IS a laptop replacement, but I mostly used my laptop for showing Youtube clips to my students and playing music for them, with the occasional light note-taking (I am a teacher). I don't live it as an ebook reader (but I didn't but it for that and I have a Kindle for that purpose) but YMMV.

At home, I like doing some mild game-playing like Scrabble and reading RSS feeds, among other things. I also enjoy the Zinio magazine app and got a subscription to a magazine I enjoy. It's a cooking magazine and you can use the screenshot function to clip the pages you want to keep.
posted by JoannaC at 3:02 PM on June 7, 2010

I've had it a few months and I have the opposite of remorse -- I bought it thinking it was a cute toy and would be marginally useful but have found myself using it regularly.

The unexpected niche it fills is that of the house computer. At night it's in the bedroom for websurfing/reading/sudoku, but during the day it lives on the couch in my living room. Guests get as much use out of it as I do: IMDB lookups, wikipedia, figuring out the name of the plants in my front yard. I have some kid friendly games on it so when parents drop by we can all sit on the couch together and have the kids quietly entertained while we chat.

It's also very handy for the quick "check out this picture I found on the web" without hauling out the laptop.

It won't replace your laptop or home computer, but it performs a variety of specific and very useful tasks much better than either of those.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:05 PM on June 7, 2010

Mine occasionally has to be forcibly reminded that there is wifi, especially if the screen locks and I unlock it. I don't really have a problem with that, but I'll be pleased if iOS 4 fixes it.

Other than that, I wasn't sold on them when they came out, but man, am I going to be glad to have it instead of my netbook while I'm on the floor at Comic-Con this year. Easier to haul around, huge battery life. I've done the occasional comic review for my blog on it and it worked out reasonably well even without a separate keyboard. Panel note-taking in Penultimate's been fine (I don't do a lot of diagramming). Being able to shove my O'Reilly epub files into iBooks and have all my Python books with me at work is great. Comics look fantastic on it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:10 PM on June 7, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers so far.

Another quick question. What's it's speakers like, when you're not using headphones? Is it as good as an iPhone's speaker or does it have the muffled tinniness of an iPod Touch?
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:28 PM on June 7, 2010

I've been impressed with the built in speaker.
posted by nomisxid at 3:40 PM on June 7, 2010

I've had one for one month. I love it. I got it as a gift but I would've bought one for myself. I enjoy:

-- The Netflix app. That app is doing so well for a reason
-- Instapaper. Much more enjoyable than reading on the iPod Touch
-- The ABC app to watch Modern Family
-- AirVideo to stream video from my computer
-- iBooks

It's fun.
posted by girlmightlive at 4:16 PM on June 7, 2010

Had it for a week and a half, very happy, no buyer's remorse (although I am occasionally annoyed by the wifi issues). It's really transformed the way I read - Instapaper and Safari are fantastic, and I enjoy the NY Times and FT apps. Speaker seems perfectly fine for videos.
posted by adrianhon at 4:37 PM on June 7, 2010

Main issue with the speaker is that it's close to a corner on the short side. So if you are watching a movie, the sound all comes from the left or the right. But the quality is certainly decent.
posted by smackfu at 4:39 PM on June 7, 2010

I am not against the ipad but against all apple 1sts of anything. I would seriously wait for the second revision. The ipad really needs more ram and some other things.

I would seriously wait for the second revision.
posted by majortom1981 at 5:02 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have one and I'm a little underwhelmed. I have a lightweight laptop that I use all the time and and iphone and the ipad doesn't really solve a problem for me [work got it for me, so I don't have to think about the cost of the thing]. What I like it most for is a wifi browsing appliance someplace like bed or the bus. The video quality is good and the sound is also good. I like having a bigger "keyboard" because using the iphone one is just sort of tough for me. The things I don't really like about it are

1. it's not a computer, so I can't personally see putting photos or anything on it [and of course there's no camera] so it's just sort of like a big iphone
2. the wifi is a little meh. I have a ton of wifi devices, all Apple and the ipad is the total worst. Hard to get and keep weak signals, hard to stay with a signal in a noisy environment, that sort of thing
3. getting all the apps all over again. iPhone apps work but look shitty [there is a 2x feature built in so that you can get magnified versions but bleh] and some ipad apps cost money where the iphone apps were free, double bleh.

So I'm really into my laptop and sort of shruggo on the ipad. I carry it with me but use it sort of rarely, it's more fun to show to people and think about how nice it will be when you can have ONE device that does all the stuff, but to me this device isn't it.
posted by jessamyn at 5:39 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ipad 16 GB or 32 GB?

I've just placed a reserve for an Ipad for my mom's 68th birthday. (I'm so glad this askme question popped up!)

It's 3G because she and my dad travel. She's not really much of a computer person, but I'd like to fill her Ipad with movies and tv shows for when they go on their long vacations.

I reserved the 32 GB, but is this overkill? Should I have saved the $100 and gotten the 16 GB size ? (730$ is really alot for me to spend and I'm totally wrestling with this...) I'm curious if people who have the 16 GB size regret the smaller size.
posted by Auden at 8:59 PM on June 7, 2010

I'm happy with 16GB. You only really need more if you're toting tons of video or photos. As it is now I sync my last 6 months of photos and only a few videos for the kids, along with a few GBs of music I might want to listen to away from home.
posted by monkeymadness at 5:04 AM on June 8, 2010

Very happy with mine. It sadly does have wifi issues (probably our Verizon Fios setup is to blame) but I have the 3G model and use 3g most of the time anyway. It's nice to have access to all the conveniences of the internet while on the couch or in the back yard, or at a coffee shop. I can finally get away from my desk at lunchtime and still read Metafilter. I read books via the Kindle app, but iBooks is very nice. I got re-hooked on Plants vs Zombies on the iPad after a brief affair with it on the iPhone, so that's been a fun distraction. I can lay in bed and watch a movie or TV show with headphones, but most of my online activity is reading RSS feeds, for which the iPad is ideal. I love the device, and with the new software upgrade that's coming soon, I anticipate that a lot of the little problems will be fixed.

Oh, and I have the 32gb, but I don't store a lot of stuff on it, because I don't use it to listen to music or carry around a lot of movies (not necessary when you can stream), so it's just a fraction full. And I recently downloaded VNC, so I can control my desktop computer via the iPad quite nicely.

Typing on the iPad is a slight learning curve, but it does a pretty good job with auto-correcting, so you can get pretty fast on it.

So far: I sure love it and wouldn't give it back. I'm really looking forward to traveling with it.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 8:09 AM on June 8, 2010

We like it even more than we expected to. A gift for DH's B-Day, I use it for reading when he's napping. It's great for viewing PDFs and Amazon offers thousands of free books for the iPad Kindle.
posted by Pamelayne at 11:36 AM on June 8, 2010

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