So I had intended to hold off from buying an iPad for a while (see what most of the non-fawning reviews were like, maybe wait for gen 2 of the device, etc) until the prospect of a multi-hour plane ride was presented to me. They had me at 10 hours of HD video playback, so shortly before leaving I picked up an iPad and thought I’d share what it was like going on a trip with it.
Before leaving I gathered up some things that I might want with me, videos, manga, some documents for school to study and set about putting them on the iPad.
- Video was no problem since I already had a lot of it for the iPhone; I didn’t bother reripping it to a higher resolution and the video scaled for the iPhone looked fine.
- Manga was downloaded and this is where things started getting fun. I had a directory of Yotsuba (which I have read but you can never read enough) and Skip Beat (which I have never read.) The Yotsuba directory, after several minutes, was converted to iPad specs by iTunes (you can’t just dump the image directory straight onto the iPad) and transferred to the device. The Skip Beat directory, being larger, was not as happy. The first message iTunes gave me was that there wasn’t enough free space for the images. 600mb directory with 6GB free and not enough free space? I broke the images into two different directories thinking iTunes was just stupid about handling so many images and was proven correct as it managed to convert and then put both directories onto the iPad (this took nearly 30 minutes.) Great, let’s see how it looks. I opened up photos on the iPad and…the images aren’t in the correct order. Time was ticking away before my flight while doing all of this, so I didn’t have time to look into it thoroughly, but upon further investigation the iPad sorts images by date modified. There is no way to change this. Looking around people say you could either right click each image and choose ‘save as’ to change the modified date (thousands of images, no way) or make a new album in iPhoto and change the sort there, then sync it through iTunes, then the iPad will display the images in the correct order. Either solution is pretty silly when you should just be able to change the sort order on the iPad.
- Office documents so I could study for school….well, after fighting with the image thing for longer than I had hoped, my time was nearly at an end. I download the Apple apps to view .docs and .xls and … umm… how do I view these? They’re saved to my harddrive but how do I get them on the iPad? The only way to get them onto the iPad is by selecting them in iTunes and then syncing it, then opening the app on the iPad and importing it. How convenient. Sadly as I was out of time I wasn’t able to sync my documents to the iPad, so this was another loss.
Fine, so I have movies and out of order managa and no school work on my iPad on the plane, which was fine as it was fun for watching Doctor Who. I figure I can mess with it more when I get to the hotel, only to find out the internet at the hotel in Vegas is wired only, there’s no wireless nearby to borow and the iPad doesn’t have 3G. I guess I could use it for taking photos off my camera, but you need to have a dongle for that. I could force my in-laws to watch Birdemic on the one of the widescreen TVs but you need to have a different dongle for that. I can’t download anything through iTunes to put on it, because my Mac laptop was back home and my netbook can’t sync with it. So I can pretty much watch just watch videos on it, or play the same apps I have for my iphone.
The iPad is a pretty neat piece of hardware, but having to funnel everything through iTunes is very cumbersome and I don’t really see the point. Why not just let it mount as flash storage and have Movies, Documents, and Pictures like my home directory on OS X that you can browse to using Finder or some other file tool? The iPad is very good for some things, very annoying for some things, and convenient as I didn’t have to take it from my backpack either time going through airport security. But is it a complete replacement for the laptop like Apple is saying? No, because you have to keep going back to your laptop/desktop to put things on the iPad and if you plan on taking a vacation with one, make sure you have the 3G model.