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I’m sitting here at 31,000 feet above Australia writing this blog entry on my new Apple iPad and realising what an evolutionary device it is. The iPod touch was a half way point, not suitable for serious use but great for testing the waters of what can be done with the touch screen format with a solid operating system.

While in Los Angeles this past week I decided to either purchase a MacBook Pro or an iPad, the iPad won out for several reasons for which I’ll explain in further detail. My initial feeling after purchasing a new 64 gb iPad was a little muted due to the requirement to upgrade iTunes, a huge download over a slow connection and then the difficulties of getting software for it without a US account which I was able to sort with some friendly help from my friend and colleague Dmitry Kagansky.

Instant start up, the device is always ready to go, admittedly my MacBook at home sleeps and wakes easily within a few seconds and gives me a solid experience of what an appliance is (my terminology for devices that simply work as they should and don’t impose kludge and restriction; toaster, kettle, MacBook).

iTunes appstore applications available cover every imaginable idea / requirement I have of a mobile device in this form factor, many are free too which is even better, including some very good note taking applications which are ideal with a larger screen ‘iPod Touch’.

A single device for flights etc, I read tech PDF data sheets now wherever. There are many books available to read while flying or travelling.

Its small, the size of a Net book, but has more application for a traveller than a Net book due to the design and typical ‘use case’ of these types of devices.

iTunes ecosystem managing the Apple family of portable devices( I want to come back to an area of the iTunes ecosystem that I’m not happy about too!), makes purchasing and installing music, movies, TV shows, iBooks, audiobooks and applications easy and the choice is vast.

Games, games that are being released for the iPad are becoming very professional, with visual appeal well above the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DSi. It’s my view that those platforms are going to disappear over the next few years; Development costs are high for what is arguably an inferior experience to what I can get on Apple devices now. Games on iTunes are priced accordingly to the likely usage on a portable device which tends to be jump in and jump out, as opposed to home consoles, whereas Sony and Nintendo and third parties still have to price their software and take account of marketing, packagings and the studio development costs.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Apple don’t rerelease an Apple TV based on the Arm A4 used in the iPad within 12 months, Apple are a very smart company with a series of successful launches now (some failures too; Apple TV, MacBook air etc) and will design a UI and control scheme that fits the market. At this stage in the ‘game’ Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo should be very worried! They are all companies with a lot to lose in the casual gaming market and living room and minds of consumers.

Onto iTunes, I have some reservations on what iTunes is becoming; it’s too big and tries to do too much. Apple are controlling the experience and the revenue opportunity through the devices that use iTunes; I think there is a place for an independent mechanism for applications to be supported, or at the very least allowing access to the shared data locations on the iX devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad) as each application I have installed has it’s own data area for Pages docs, PDF files, photos etc – not the best way to address user data by maintaining independent silos of information.
On top of this iTunes seems to be becoming too much! If I want to sync data to my iPad then why do I need to have the device connected and work through the iTunes menus to get to a dialog that allows me to copy data across unless I use iWork online! I should be able to configure a folder and share data through that folders or series of folders just as I do with my folders on my Mac.

Disclaimer; I am a long time Mac user but this doesn’t get in the way of my understanding of where I am being taken my continuing to support the Apple ecosystem of DRM and micro transactions restricting my freedom to choose devices on what is best rather than who makes it

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