my iPad in $10 and 10 days

I’ve now had my iPad for 10 days and spent $10 setting it up to be functional.  Or $610 if you count the iPad itself and the case.

Why I bought the iPad

I wanted to be able to read technical documents from the park.  The files could be PDFs, ZIP or HTML.  I will have many other uses for it as time goes on.  And already have – like checking my twitter and my e-mail from the couch!  My experiences so far have been mostly around being able to accomplish the original goal though.

What applications I downloaded right away

  1. GoodReader $0.99 – A much better PDF reader than the built in one.  Turning pages is harder than it needs to be, but the GoodReader team is working on a fix.
  2. iUnarchive $2.99 – To unzip files.  Works exactly as one would expect.
  3. DropBox free – A great way to get files from your computer to the iPad.  Just drop them in a folder on “main computer” and download from the iPad.  Only trick is to remember to choose as favorite so available offline on the iPad.
  4. Twitterrific $4.99 (ad supported version is free) – Twitter client.  The cute tweet noise for new tweets will get old fast.  I’ll turn that off once I get tired of it’s cuteness.

Total – $9.76

Thanks to my friends at JavaRanch for recommending these (and more applications) to greatly cut down on research time.

What I learned

A few “less than obvious” things I learned in the first 10 days:

  • Double tap to see menu when GoodReader in full screen mode
  • I still need to figure how to take notes while reading

Other setup

I was surprised by how little setup I had to do to get up and running.  I was able to create my iTunes account and activate in the Apple store so I didn’t need to waste time downloading it at home.  The only setting change I made was to password protect the iPad.

Speaking of the Apple store, it was a little odd that on Wednesday they told me there was a wait list and they couldn’t possibly estimate how long it was.  (implying weeks/months.)  The following day, I got a call my iPad was there.

Finally – my impressions

  1. The iPad is great.  It lets me read PDFs and zip files of text or Java code outside away from my laptop.  (It’s awkward using a laptop outside.)  I had no problem reading outside.  Even in the sun, I used the iPad case as a sun visor to protect the screen.
  2. I still need to find out if there is a way to easily take notes while reading.  Not just PDFs, but any application.  It’s a pain when looking at a zipped file because it doesn’t retain where you are when you get back.  I’ve resorted to paper.
  3. I haven’t missed the 3g I decided not to get one bit.  A surprisingly large number of places have free wifi.  And DropBox caches my documents for offline use very well.
  4. I can touch type alphabetic text on the iPad!  I type about twice as slow on the iPad than on a real computer.  But that’s much better than my hunt and peck speed!
  5. Special characters like the pipe are hidden well.  To get to them, you have to choose the numeric keyboard (obvious) and then the “#+=” button (not obvious)
  6. I have a lot more to explore.  I am happy with the iPad meeting my initial purposes and looking forward to it meeting even more.

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