Austin iPad owners say they love their new devices
By: Omar L. Gallaga (Austin American Statesman – April 10, 2010)
B.J. Heinley, an Austin graphic designer, had wanted an Apple iPad for 10 years, since long before it existed or had a name.
He saw a device just like it on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” being used by Capt. Jean-Luc Picard.
“Picard is talking to someone on something just like an iPad,” Heinley said, “I thought, ‘That’s what the world needs!’ A cheap window about this big that you can pull up stuff on, make the ship fly, show someone a little graph and then toss it on the table and it’s not even a worry.”
Heinley got his iPad delivered a week ago, having pre-ordered it after he got over his reservations about the price. “My wife said, ‘You’ve been talking about this thing for about 10 years. I think you ought to get one.’ ”
Heinley was among about 300,000 Apple fans, early adopters, app developers and others who stood in line or waited at home for delivery of Apple’s latest creation, an Internet device with a 9.7-inch screen that looks like a large, squarish iPod Touch. The Wi-Fi version of the iPad (a 3G-Internet-enabled model is due in about a month) launched April 3 and, in the Apple universe, fits in between the ubiquitous iPhone and Apple’s line of laptops. The Wi-Fi versions come in 16-, 32-and 64-gigabyte sizes and cost $499, $599 and $699, respectively. The 3G versions will be $629, $729 and $829 in those sizes.
So far, despite a backlash from people who think it’s an overpriced toy, reviews have been positive, and buyers say they expect the iPad to change the way they surf the Web and, in some cases, the way they work. We spoke to five iPad owners, and all said they love their new devices and have no plans to return them.
Caroline Tang waited for seven hours at the Apple Store at the Domain with her husband, along with hundreds of others, to buy one. It was her husband’s birthday, but by the time they got to the front of the line, they decided to buy two.
“After our time investment, we wanted to have the return,” Tang said.
She plans to use her iPad to play video games such as her favorite, “Plants vs. Zombies,” use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and to look up things on Wikipedia while she watches TV or lies in bed.
It won’t replace her Amazon Kindle for e-book reading, though. “I tried using the Kindle App on the iPad. It’s tougher on your eyes with the glare. When you use a Kindle, it really feels like it’s just a book.”
The iPad plays video, has a full Web browser and can operate the large library of iPhone apps that already exist, as well as new, more-full-featured apps built for the iPad. But it’s not quite a laptop and lacks a camera and the portability of the iPhone. Many iPad owners bought the device before figuring out how exactly it’ll fit into their life. (That’s part of Apple’s magic: The name and reputation alone can cause many to open up their wallets.)
Charlie Wood, a software developer, got the iPad as a family gift but found that a Web-based service that his company, Spanning Sync, has been working on worked poorly on the iPad. He plans to create an iPad app version to address those concerns.
But, mostly, he plans to use the iPad as part of his morning routine, sitting outside on his deck with a cup of coffee and reading the news.
“I had what I think is the seminal iPad experience. If it doesn’t do anything other than that, I’m happy,” he said.
He says that naysayers of the iPad may be too jaded. “It’s really easy to be cynical about technology these days. Earth-shattering breakthroughs are like an everyday occurrence,” Wood said. “I get a distinct impression holding this that I’m holding an artifact from the future.”
Cole Huggins, a civil engineer, doesn’t expect to get any work use out of his iPad, but he sees it as easier to travel with than a laptop because it’s lighter and smaller when carried along with the digital SLR cameras he and his wife use. His first impression of the iPad was that it’s speedier than the iPhones he and his wife frequently use.
“I couldn’t believe how fast everything seemed,” he said. His favorite app so far is Junecloud Deliveries, which tracks packages from a variety of online stores and shipping companies and shows them to you on a map.
John Oeffinger likes his iPad so much that he plans to get another one, probably the 3G version, when it’s available. He’s been an Apple user since the Apple II computer in the late ’70s and sees the iPad as yet another transition in the way we compute.