The Android User's Review of the Apple iPad

Here at Bandwidth Blog we do love our Apple products, especially our iPhones and iPads. So this week I decided to ask someone not so infatuated with Apple to review the iPad. Albert from ZADroid is not an Apple fanboy, his allegiance lies with Android. I will be honest – I am not a pro on Android. I have used them, and like them a lot. But if you want in-depth knowledge regarding specific Android devices or the platform in general, you have to go look at ZADroid. These guys know what they talk about – and they are fanatic about Android. So if you are sick of fanboys reviewing Apple products – who better to evaluate a popular device like the iPad?
Albert is a developer, gadget geek, and all-round nice guy. He’s passionate about Android, and writes for ZADroid, a new blog that covers Android in South Africa. However, anything shiny and sufficiently technologically advanced puts a smile on his face. Above and beyond that, Albert loves the web and the technologies that drive it, good design, and original ideas.
So, thanks to a combination of pure blind luck and a massive helping of generosity, I am now an iPad user.
Now, I’m an Android fanboy (I run and write for ZADroid), so the reality distortion field that makes your average Apple consumer tear up at the sight of anything with a half-eaten fruit on it doesn’t really apply to me.
Will I be able to give you an objective opinion on the iPad? Probably not, but it may be more objective than what someone with a cupboard full of empty boxes from Apple can give you.  (ed: are you talking about me?!) 
“What about the Galaxy Tab?!” I hear you scream? Well, it’s way too expensive, and in my opinion, Android isn’t quite ready yet to power a tablet. We’ll see once I get to review one. For now, though, I have an iPad, so I may just as well use it.

I’ve been using the iPad for about a week now, and I must admit, it’s quite handy. Apple’s hardware has always been a notch up from anything else on the market, and the iPad is pretty solid, and pretty nice to look at. I don’t like the shiny glass screen and the fact that it is one of the worst fingerprint magnets I’ve ever seen. I think that it’s too heavy. However, the screen is gorgeous, bright and vivid, and very responsive. This is perfect for consuming things with bright colours, like movies and photos, but I find that trying to read a novel tires my eyes faster than I expected. So, I’ll probably acquire a Kindle soon for that purpose. I also think that a front-facing camera couldn’t hurt, but hey, that’s planned obsolescence for you. Oh, and the battery life is astonishing.
Software-wise, I’m at both ends of the spectrum. I’ve always appreciated the (mostly) consistent nature of iOS. It’s also the first platform where you’ll see new, sometimes brave, but intuitive, user interaction design. The keyboard is much better  than I expected it to be, too. So, there’s that side of the coin.  On the other side, I find iOS clunky to use. Way too many taps to get somewhere simple in a lot of cases, and no hard back button, makes for a frustrating experience. Example? The arse-backwards way of attaching photos to an email.
The notification  system sucks. It has been said before, but needs repeating, because it sucks so hard.
No multitasking. Not much more I can say about that. Sure, the update in November will add multitasking to the table, but it isn’t multitasking as we know it from desktop computing (although I understand and appreciate the technical reasons for this). We’ll see.
iTunes for SA. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like jumping through all those hoops that’ll get me a (T&C violating) US account. So, yes, I’m satisfied with the content South Africans can access. No games, movies or music, but I’m not much of a gamer, and there are ways around the other issue.
So, all in all? I like it. It has its shortcomings, but show me a modern piece of technology that doesn’t. I don’t see it as essential, and I wouldn’t spend my own money on it (maybe when the third generation arrives I may feel differently about that). That being said, I have found a place for it. I do find myself using the iPad instead of my netbook for quite a few things. To me, it’s all about consumption, which is something the iPad caters for exceptionally well. When I need to do something that requires a bit more complexity than the iPad can handle, I pick up my Android phone, or head on over to my desktop.
Does the iPad replace an existing piece of technology? No, but it does seem to fill a niche I didn’t realize existed: instant gratification via ease of consumption in a world of information overload.