I was one of those brave or maybe foolish people who bought an iPad before they were in the stores by preordering it. After using it for a year I have to say the iPad was worth the investment.
I use my iPad for business and for entertainment, and I love those apps for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I still see the iPad as more of a content-consuming device than a content generator, but I can use it to create a presentation, write a blog post or a real estate contract, draw pictures or graphics, and edit photographs.
The iPad has evolved since its launch a year ago, and there are a lot more apps for it. Apple upgraded the operating system a few times. Originally the iPad got a bad rap because there wasn’t any way to print from it and it did not offer multitasking.
Printing capabilities were added as part of an operating system upgrade, which I guess is a big deal for some but I have no interest in printing and have never even tried it. Multitasking capabilities were also part of an operating system upgrade.
Apple recently rolled out the iPad 2 this year and the new device is selling quickly. It has a front-facing and a rear-facing camera, and is lighter, thinner and faster than the original iPad. The best way to describe the iPad 2 is: lovely, but it’s not a monumental upgrade from the original iPad.
Even so, if you’ve admired yet don’t yet own an iPad, and you need to have those built-in cameras, this may be the device you’ve been waiting for.
It is lighter but only by a few ounces, and when I am using it or carrying it around I really can’t tell the difference. I have been using both versions of the iPad for the last several days. The iPad 2 has a different shape than the original iPad — it is easier to hold and in general I like the new shape better than the old.
The faster speed of the iPad 2 is also noticeable both on and off the Internet. I would not call the original iPad slow, though, and I’ve never had any complaints about the speed except when I use the data services from AT&T or a slow wireless connection.
I have tested the cameras. I can see the value of the front-facing camera for video conferencing. I have had video conferencing capabilities on other devices for at least the last six years and I don’t use them very often. I’ll admit I have not yet tested FaceTime video calls on the iPad.
The rear-facing camera is getting some bad reviews. I tested it in indoors and outdoors and found it to be comparable to the cameras they put in mobile phones. The iPad itself serves as a huge viewfinder, but the device is hard to use as a camera.
I found it awkward to hold the iPad 2 with one hand and use the other to touch the screen to snap the shot. The general shape and size of the iPad 2 makes it hard to use as a camera. But it’s no surprise that Apple included the feature because consumers demanded it.
In addition to using the iPad for writing real estate contracts, showing my listing presentation and using all of those wonderful location-based apps on the job, I also use it to stay organized. I have always been a note taker and a to-do list maker, and the iPad is ideal for typed or handwritten notes, as well as my "old school" to-do list.
I also do most of my reading on it. The iPad is great for reading articles on the Internet and for electronic books. I love watching videos on it, reading books, and looking at photographs.
It has changed the way I work, and to a certain degree the way I play. The killer iPad application for me and my clients is the Internet, and that just got faster on the iPad 2.
When I got my iPad I did not have any preconceived notions about how it should work and I did not buy it to replace another device. Over the months I have been focused on what I can do with it instead of any of the limitations I read about. You might be surprised at what a useful business tool it can be.
See related columns:
- Why I’m buying an iPad
- Is iPad a real estate tool or toy?
- Using iPad to win listings
- Cool iPad tools to aid real estate buyers