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David Pogue’s Review of the iPad from 2 Angles (nytimes.com)
68 points by asnyder on Apr 1, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 52 comments

Apple asserts that the iPad runs 10 hours on a charge of its nonremovable battery ... in my own test, the iPad played movies continuously ... [for] more than 12 hours. That’s four times as long as a typical laptop or portable DVD player.

This is one thing I've always found interesting. Apple underestimates their battery life in every product I've laid hands on, even under relatively high-power operations. And they claim longer battery life than any other similar product.

With my mac laptops I have consistently seen high battery life at the start and it has diminished considerably after a few months. Does this not happen with everyone else?

not here (sample size of one). I still get 5-6 hours use from my 1st gen unibody macbook; the one with the removable battery.

I have the 2nd gen unibody macbook pro ( the one without the removable battery ) and I still see 5 - 6 hours of battery life. I can usually get more if I'm just watching movies on it. Youtube & Hulu et. al. seem to be the biggest battery killers for me ( 4 - 5 hours )

I am impressed and dismayed by your experience. My 2 year old MBP (pre-unibody) gets only 45-60 minutes of battery time. Did the unibody MBP's see that much of a boost in battery performance?

Yes. Apple completely changed battery designs between the removable and the non-removable versions. The latter will last significantly longer.

Here's a video from Apple with a fantastic overview of the new tech:


I think they switched from a Lithium Ion battery to a Lithium Polymer battery. The latter performs much better and lasts a lot longer. Most new cell phones, and incidentally, RC Helicopters use this too.

based on your figures, hell yes. I know three people with the unibody 15" MBP, and all get 6+ hours life

A couple of years ago I had a Macbook Pro (not certain of the generation), and I don't think I ever got more than 3 hours of battery life out of it even when it was new. By the end of its life it was usually running for about 90 minutes before needing a recharge. Maybe I just got a crummy battery; dunno.

I'd guess playing movies uses less battery power than using the internet.

Yep. Hardware decoding for H.264. The radio (3G, Edge, or GPS) is the number one battery killer.

More than the screen?

I assume you're talking about the backlight.

I don't have hard numbers, but my experience says yes. However, it's not really in the same category. Developer's can't directly control the screen brightness, and the device is essentially unusable when the screen is off (except for the case of playing music).

Maybe it's just me, but i was hoping for deeper insight into how the device feels in day-to-day usage, not just a list of features that i might as well have read on Apples info pages.

Stuff like: how the device feels to sit with for longer periods of time, is it more natural to type with one finger or both thumbs when sitting, can i read while lying down... All the stuff that isn't just "it has this amount of ram, you can view videos and the web on it and...."

An interesting thing about the review is that the photo on the left shows a person using an ipad on rack with one finger. With a bit of reflection, it should obvious that you would not want to use a computer for even a minute in such a fashion.

This hardly seems like a hard-nosed, critical appraisal: "The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget." "brighter brights" and "whiter whites" indeed.

finger prints everywhere, illegible in sunlight, poor ebook selection, too heavy for extended use, miserable typing experience...seems like these points would apply to "Everyone Else" as well, no?

Less space than a Nomad.

you missed my point. "less space than a nomad" was precisely a "techie" criticism of the iPod. That the Nomad had a 6GB capacity and the iPod 5GB was irrelevant to most people.

Conversely, not being able to type comfortably or hold the device for more than 10 minutes without getting cramps--these are major usability issues that will affect everyone. iPad proponents seem to think people won't need to type on these things. Aren't they for casual web use? How do you write emails, blog posts, comments, usernames and passwords, URIs, google queries, tweets, IMs, etc. without typing? These tasks are trivial on regular keyboards, I'm not sure that will be the case on the iPad (I know it's not the case on my iPhone).

His third-last paragraph nails it: It's a "consumer device", not a producer device. This particular issue hasn't hurt the iPhone...

BTW: "Nomad" was so appropriate, being appealing to techies but not to normal people.

All I know is that I love being part of a community that gets that joke.

They're a bit on the nit picky side. Could certainly be deal breaker for some people but we know lots of technology is sold with finger print loving touch screens, lots of it weighs more than 1.5lbs, most everything except e-ink is hard to read in sunlight. Amazon's Kindle app kind of makes the ebook selection thing invalid. Typing is probably the big one here that is going to apply to "everyone else" but, then again, lots of these people are slow typers anyway. I think he's trying to make the point that "everyone else" wouldn't consider those things absolute deal breakers since they already buy technology that fits some, most or all of those categories. At the same time I wouldn't go out of my way to convince anyone they should settle on those issues if they feel strongly about them.

Pogue is usually a great writer, but this was strangely disjointed. He wants to like the iPad, but feels obliged to give a semi-critical "techie" review, apparently in anticipation of the inevitable hate mail that follows any hint of pro-Apple bias.

I'm curious to try out the iPad after reading his and Mossberg's review, but can't imagine shelling out a lot of money for what is essentially a leisure device that doesn't fit in my pocket.

I really don't think he wrote a split review because he's worried about fanboys.

I think it's just what he said: people really seem to love or hate the iPad, based mostly on their background.

He's 100% correct too.

Personally, the iPad isn't for me. I want less screen time in my life, not more - and the iPad doesn't fill any gaps that warrants me purchasing one for myself.

That being said, I did order one for my grandmother. She's been pestering me about getting the Internet and I felt like it would be a device that was less daunting for her than a mouse/keyboard combination.

As someone who taught his grandmother to use a PC, I'm personally unconvinced that an iPad is a good option for older people.

The first issue is whether it is significantly less confusing than a PC. Sure, it is simpler (no multitasking), but when I was teaching my grandmother, multitasking was a 10% problem. She was mostly confused by the concept of hyperlinks, urls (when they weren't correctly formatted in emails, esp.), how to print, how to adjust font sizes, copy/paste, etc. The iPad certainly makes the concept of multiple windows easier to understand (by not allowing them), but there are still tons of issues with learning a computer.

On the negative side, it doesn't seem to be that good for an elderly person who may have some mobility issues. A desktop allows someone to position their head and hands in a reasonably comfortable way (head upright, hands below heart); I'm still not sure how the iPad is supposed to be used in a comfortable way. The iPad also has a significantly smaller screen and moving hands across the device might be a lot harder than using a mouse.

The thing that most troubled my grandmother when she got her computer wasn't the filesystem or the mouse/keyboard combination; it was the fact that the computer knew which emails she had looked at and which she hadn't. She found it very unnerving.

Apologies if I've drifted off topic.

Not off topic, my grandmother just cannot use a mouse. She's sat in front of my PC and is absolutely baffled by it.

I might as well have asked her to do Differential Calculus.

However, I think the iPad will be different. If she's playing say, solitaire and wants to move something - she touches it with her finger and moves it. Easy.

Yep. Getting one for my grandfather for this very reason. The only computer he seems to be able to understand is the touchscreen photo-processing computer at Walgreens.

If he doesn't want hate mail, maybe he shouldn't be so condescending toward people that don't think exactly like him. That review was insufferable.

I have to admit I'm surprised that both reviews (this and the Walt Mossburg one) state they were able to achieve well over Apple's claimed 10 hours batter life playing video, both reaching almost 12 hours.

I'm surprised because a) that's one hell of a long time, and b) Apple, like everyone else I guess, tend to overstate battery life and reviewers seem to find it almost impossible to replicate the published claims.

As other people have mentioned, Apple consistently understates the battery life of their products in market copy while also pointing them out to be longer than those of competing products.

That tidbit about the Scrabble app is very interesting. Using an iPhone or iPod Touch as a local, private screen while using the iPad as a shared game board could be used in a lot of cool ways. Only problem of course is it is over $1k worth of gadgets.

I think the idea is that the individuals in your family already own iPod Touches or iPhones (we do), so as soon as someone has a iPad, you're set.

It seems obvious the iPad is directly aimed at the larger net book market instead of the relatively small digital reader market. Not many people are going to carry and iPad and a laptop. If the iPad is a device you buy instead of a net book, which by extension is a device you buy instead of a larger more functional laptop, Apple may not have an uphill battle here. Net book customers have already decided they don't want to spend $1k+ on a laptop, they can live without an optical drive, they can adapt to a small awkward keyboard, etc. In other words they are people who have already started to abandon the idea of a computer as being a fully functional all encompassing device in favor of form factor, price, and portability. So I think Apple clearly has a big market but they'll have to stress the things the iPad does better than a net book. Multi-touch web browsing, gaming, better battery life, better build quality/design, easier to use, no malware/spyware problems, etc. They'll need to quickly fill in the remaining gaps of functionality before customers have the dreaded "oh it doesn't do that?" experience.

I know I'm not in the majority here, but as a person who commutes to work via a 40 minute train ride each way, the iPad would be very attractive in addition to a laptop. I'm pretty much glued to my iPhone during the entire ride. The small screen size can often be a problem, especially if I want to do something like post a comment here. Even though I have a 15" Macbook Pro, the ergonomics are all wrong to comfortably work on it. I have to work with the keyboard slid partially up my stomach with my arms in an awkward position because the screen angle isn't sufficient otherwise. It's also not connected to the network (thanks to no tethering from AT&T). The iPad would have near perfect ergonomics and connectivity that is way cheaper than what I would have to pay for an AT&T data plan and laptop dongle.

>They'll need to quickly fill in the remaining gaps of functionality before customers have the dreaded "oh it doesn't do that?" experience.

Luckily, there are many developers who have a lot of financial incentive to do just that. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Pogue claims there will be 1,000 apps in the iPad app store on day one. If Apple will hurry up and finish reviewing my game, mine will be one of them.

If that number is true -- only a measly thousand -- then I'm pretty excited. Based on the buzz I've heard in the blogosphere, and the chatter on Apple's own dev forums, I would have guessed more like ten thousand. At that number, competition for eyeballs is pretty fierce. But if it's really only a thousand, then I stand a real chance of making some money.

That seems very low. At those numbers releasing anything on day 1 should pay off. I will be there with two apps hacked together in a single day each.

the iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it

I wonder if there is a killer app in algorithm-assisted sketching and drawing with your fingers on the iPad. Consider zooming, automatically having lines meet perfectly, having the "artistic" filters from Photoshop, different drawing tools, etc.

I want to get an iPad so I can try supporting this kind of interaction in OpenShapes (http://shap.es/docs) - probably using Raphaël http://raphaeljs.com/ as the rendering component

The bulk of OpenShapes is in JavaScript - so should be good fun making the editor work with the touch interface.

You mean something like I Love Sketch?


It looks cool, and would be suited to the ipad.

"U.S.B. jacks"

Ugg, NYT style guide.

Yeah, I heard you can get those from I.B.M. :-P

When your style guide requires you to misspell proper names, that's when you know it's total crap.

I.B.M. is the correct style for the company's name. Their official name is still International Business Machines. Therefore, it is an acronym and should be shown as such. "IBM" isn't the proper name of the company. You could argue that it's a marketing term (it's certainly a trademark). From my limited USPTO search, it looks like "IBM" wasn't even registered as a mark until 1990.

U.S.B. is in the same boat... it's an acronym. If they really want to get the NYT on board, they'll have to change the name.

Side note: this isn't the case with AT&T (anymore) as that is the company's official name. AT&T doesn't actually stand for anything (officially).

I know it's pedantic, but if the New York Times stops caring about such things, who will?

AT&T doesn't actually stand for anything

Too bad they dropped the name completely; they could have just changed "telegraph" to "[wire]tap" and they would have been totally up to date.

(Shrug) The company doesn't write it that way, so neither should the New York Times.

As soon as you use the words "netbook" or "giant iPod", your review is missing the point entirely.

Clarification would be good, here: what is the point, exactly, that you'd be missing?

Review for Techies - The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.

Review for Everyone Else - The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.

Big Surprise.

"The bottom line is that the iPad has been designed and built by a bunch of perfectionists. If you like the concept, you’ll love the machine. The only question is: Do you like the concept?"

Love the concept- But I'll wait until HTC/Google come along and give it some missing features (webcam, expandable storage) and the extra oomph that the geek in me appreciates (multi tasking, maybe a keyboard (maybe a sliding one like the HTC Tilt?))

You say you love the concept but then you show that you completely don't get the concept.

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