L'iPad débarque en France aujourd'hui, nous nous sommes penchés sur les avantages et les inconvénients de la tablette d'Apple. Thierry Derouet, directeur de l'ordinateur individuel, nous livre son verdict.
Its beautiful, it really is, a little heavier than I thought it would be, the screen is magnificent and my biggest surprise was how snappy it is. Opening apps, pictures and browsing stuff is just surprisingly fast for a device that small, especially if you have spent some time with an Atom powered netbook like I did in the past months, I was expecting something like that and was amazed by the speed. Battery time is ok. The big problem is your fingers will show on that huge screen as they keep touching in, they seem to stay much more than on an iPhone 3GS. I keep cleaning my iPad.
Instead of doing a review by features, I will do a review by most common usage I (was) expecting.
the good: I have been reading for months on a Kindle then a Kindle DX and was pleased to see that Kindle for iPad was already available, all the books I have in my virtual library showed up immediately and the book I am reading now, Born to Run, opened at the page I left it on the Kindle. Turning pages is really fast and if you have books with graphics or photos (I bought a book on learning photography) it just does not compare to the Kindle as it shows instantly (the Kindle takes a long time to show complex graphics) and in color.
the bad: It is poorly sunlight readable and you cant read on an iPad with sunglasses on (at least with polarized sunglasses like I have), you surprisingly cant get two pages of a book show in landscape mode and if you have any kindle subscription for press they wont show up at all, likely because LeMonde prefers to have its own app than showing your subscription there.
Reading the press
Thats where the iPad is simply amazing. I have bought LeMonde and got an experience not only very close to reading the actual paper copy, but also better. Browsing and zooming is much nicer than flipping paper pages that get your fingers dirty with ink. I never read Paris Match but tried the iPad app and the full screen photos as well as moving from one section to another is just excellent, again, a better experience than reading magazines on paper. For someone like me who lives far away from my native country you cant get paper magazines easily and the web doesnt provide the same experience. I think I will find myself reading the press much more with the iPad. Some apps already played too much with the UI, though, I did not like the floating icons of the AP News for example, they are unnecessary. I think publishers should not over do it for the sake that their building an app and that the iPad offers many possibilities. Multi-touch on a full size newspaper works really well, no need for complex navigation.
Browsing, sharing and social networking
Its really nice as an out of the bed or about to go to bed computer. I read many web pages as I wakeup with my coffee and in the evening and just share the ones I like with my friends using ping.fm. Google Reader mobile works great on the iPad. We just added on Ping.fm RSS so I added my shared items on Google Reader as an RSS feed to ping and now all I have to do is hit share on Reader, it sends the link to all my social networks. Really nice on iPad. I was frustrated that you cant seem to add a bookmarklet such as the share on ping.fm button I use to have on the top left of every browser I use for quick sharing though, I have to email them to ping when I am in a browser, which is okay but not great.
Using Facebook on the iPad browser works just great, why do we need an app? Apps providers will have to be very creative to compete with the sites themselves (us included!), the web is so good on the iPad that you wont always feel like using an app for many social activities.
Seesmic Web is being adapted right now to work great on the iPad, it already looks perfect but scrolling and buttons arent optimized for touch so the app cannot really be used for the time being. Were on it and think we should be able to provide a very good experience (which does not mean we wont ship a real app).