iPad First Impressions – Sofware

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iPad home screen

I’ve been getting to know the iPad a little today, and taking lots of notes along the way of course.  I figure I’ll share my thoughts on it in smaller chunks – partly because there are already plenty of all-in reviews out there for it, partly because I’m a lazy sod and it just feels easier to do things this way, and also because over these last couple of months we’ve already learned so much about the iPad and I don’t want to go over too much old ground.

Here are some quick thoughts and observations on the iPad software side of things – some about the OS itself and some about apps running on it …

— One of the very first big impressions for me is that organizing home screens and apps still sucks.  Badly.  It is so frustrating and time-consuming to mess around with the clumsy ways of moving apps around between home screens if you have a big number of apps – regardless of whether you do it via the iPad’s springboard or in iTunes.  I spent a silly amount of time getting to even a minimal level of organizing of my apps and then gave up and left the rest for sometime later on.  Apple really needs to come up with something – much, much – better in this area.

— I think that should be a top priority issue for them.  The current methods almost discourage you from getting a lot of apps, because of how awkward it is to arrange them sensibly.

— Another thing that has been jumping out at me so far is that ‘scaled up’ apps that are just ‘compatible’ are paling in comparison to the made for iPad apps.  I haven’t installed a great number of apps yet, but of course I synced across over 100 apps and have seen enough head-to-head type comparisons to think that I’ll soon be using almost exclusively apps that are made for iPad.

— The compatible apps I’ve played with so far don’t look much fun to use at their standard size (which leaves them looking a bit small and sad in the center of the screen) and have distorted, ugly text when run in 2X mode.  Just as a quick illustration of this, here’s Twitterrific (made for the iPad) and Tweetie (compatible and scaled up):

Twitterrific for iPad

Tweetie on iPad

— Compatible apps open by default at their standard (small) size.  I thought I had seen that you could just tap or double-tap the app to make it run in 2X mode – but this doesn’t work.  You need to tap on the 2X button at the bottom right of the screen (or 1X if you’re taking it back down to standard mode).

— The first sync with my MacBook Pro took around 1.5 hours – with 10GB of audio, 1.5GB of apps and only 200MB of photos – partly my fault for forgetting to deselect about 250 no longer used apps, then changing and having to wait on sync removing them.  Subsequent syncs should be fine, but that first one left with me a lot of time to get some other things done. :)

— The dock allows 6 icons – two more than on the iPhone.  Nice.

— Screenshots are taken the same way as they are on the iPhone – by pressing both the Home button and the Power button together for just a quick second.  And you get the same camera flash effect on the screen when the screenshot is taken.  The library these go to is now called Saved Photos (rather than Camera Roll) – and is in the Albums section of the Photos app.

— You have the same option as on the iPhone 3GS, to toggle On/Off showing the battery percentage in the status bar. 

— The Maps app got my location very near perfect at both the Apple store and my house – not bad considering no GPS in this model. 

— Maps has a nice new ‘Terrain’ view – great for highlighting some of the lovely greenbelt areas here in Austin …

Maps Terrain view

— This may be of no concern at all to ‘typical’ users – but I really want to see either OS 4.0 or a jailbreak for the iPad as soon as possible.  I really miss things like greater levels of multitasking (for 3rd party apps), and major springboard enhancements like InfiniDock and PogoPlank to make it far easier to access frequently used apps.  I really hope and expect we’ll see at least some of this in iPhone OS 4.0.

— My first few apps I installed included: Twitterrific, Evernote, Pages, and Things for iPad.

I’ve got a long list of apps I’ll be installing tonight and tomorrow and hope to post reviews or quick takes soon on as many of them over the coming days.

What are your thoughts on iPad software so far?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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7 thoughts on “iPad First Impressions – Sofware”

  1. Impressive! Thanks for posting. I was playing with one at Best Buy this afternoon, and couldn't figure out that 1x and 2x thing I kept seeingpressing…

    After connecting the iPad to your computer (MAC or otherwise), to register it etc, if you have an iPhone do you HAVE TO do a restore to thus get your apps (iPhone apps) on your iPad?

    PS: I thought you'd stopped using Evernote, and was using another similar app…

    1. There's no need to do a restore, but you need to do a sync if you want to get large numbers of iPhone apps over easily.
      I never stopped using Evernote – always use it tons on the desktop – but do have an app I prefer on the iPhone (Simplenote).

  2. I’m really enjoying Tweetdeck, but already I miss Tweetie and the way things are done in that app. A few minor adjustments to Tweetdeck though and I could be really happy with it. Still haven’t found my perfect Twitter app yet.

    Flight Control HD is a must have.

    iBooks and Project Gutenberg is going to be a huge money saver for a lot of people.

    Hrm… I’m sure I’ll think of more. I can honestly say though that I won’t be running many (if any) non iPad apps. The scaling just doesn’t work out as well as Apple made it out to be, and they re-use the iPhone keyboard which is also pixel doubled and just seems really out of place. I do appreciate that you can use iPhone apps though. For a while this will keep my wallet from being completely empty.

    And OMFG I love typing on the iPad. Talk about easy.

  3. I miss Tweetie as well but Twitterrific has always been my joint favorite. I am rapidly trimming out quite a few iPhone apps that just aren't as nice to use on here.
    On the typing, are you thumb typing?

    1. Patrick I can't tell you the amount of times I have double tapped my status bar. On my iPhone double tapping activates ProSwitcher. I didn't realize how heavily I relied on it. I hate having to open 1Password close it then finally get back to what I was doing… Same thing with Overboard.

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