I finally "get" the iPad (mini)

I’ve never been a fan of the iPad. My wife bought a first gen one in Sept 2010 as her school uses them (and Touches) as learning communication aids for the special needs kids they teach.

She uses it at home for web browsing, Facebook and the like as well. I have only rarely used it.

Last week bought her an iPad mini for her birthday to replace it and, as she was out with the friends Saturday night and I am without a portable PC, having just sold both my Macbook and my Surface to buy a Macbook Air that is arriving today, I had a play with it.

I had been using the Surface mostly in tablet mode as a couch surfing device and, to be honest, the mini has a few disadvantages compared to it:

The main things I found lacking were the gestures that Win 8 has – the swipe in from the side to swap apps is a lot easier than the four finger swipe, the swipe left right to go forward/back in browser (they have that on the Macbook, why not iPad?)

The other biggie is the fact that, as I was using someone else’s device,I had to log her out of everything (Facebook, E-Bay, etc) and log in myself. I guess most people use iPads as a personal device but how had would it be to have user profiles? Particularly with iCloud, you could tie it all to Apple ID.

Apart from those, I must say I am very impressed. The main thing is how convenient it is to use – incredibly light, thin and instantly available. The Surface and he old iPad felt like bricks by comparison. The quality of finish is also superb.

She hasn’t got many apps on it yet but those I used (iPhoto, BBC iPlayer, BBC News, E-Bay, Facebook, Dominos pizza) were really slick. I also spent some time browsing the App Store and was amazed at the variety of stuff on there. There’s a lot of junk but I was surprised to find a bunch of nice web development /maintenance tools – Diet Coda looks awesome but I wasn’t going to shell out £20 just to try it. I couldn’t find a simple FTP client on the MS store.

Oh, and I’m not a big games player but I bought Angry Birds Star Wars and it was a hoot to play.

The more I used it, the more I liked it and I got to thinking it is much less like a computer, more like a personal “Window on the World”. Like those kids stories where a magic mirror can show some other place or person.

I’m not sure I’d want to write documents on it but I tried using Siri to write e-mails and it worked very well.

Only problems I had later were wiping off the sticky marks from holding it while eating pizza and trying to remember her passwords to set it back the way it was!

I would certainly consider one of these if I do get back into looking for a tablet and I will be interested to see what MS do with this rumoured “X-Box Surface”