Two Weeks with iPad 2

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One thing I know I plan to do today is to return the magnetic cover for my iPad 2. My use case is apparently too rough because the magnets keep coming loose while I’m using the case to support my iPad.

What I don’t know is whether I’m going to return the iPad 2 itself. Here is how I’ve found it useful over the past couple of weeks.

In our church we receive a PDF of discussion questions prior to the Sunday sermon. During the sermon, one can take notes on the questions and then refer to them during small group discussions later in the week. I put the PDF into GoodReader. Before church I copy and paste the full text of any Bible references into an annotated copy of the PDF using GoodReader. I have a copy of the Bible in my Kindle app from which I can pull the appropriate passage or I can get it online. During the sermon I added notes, highlighting, and scribbles. During small group I could pull these up for reference during our discussion. No trees were killed and all I needed was an iPad – no Bible on a dead tree, no notepad, no pen.

At some point in the evening, Joy and I usually watch some TV. Now that we have two iPads, we use that time to play each other in a game of Scrabble via bluetooth.

While in general, we both enjoy reading on our Kindles more than on our iPads, the iPad Kindle app has one advantage. At night, it doesn’t require a light to be on while reading. So, if one person wants lights out before the other, it doesn’t mean both people have to stop reading at the same time.

I’m not real crazy about the mail app that comes as part of iOS. I just use a shortcut to Gmail on Safari. I find the mobile site to be very satisfying and prefer reading my email on the tablet versus my phone or computer.

I haven’t found a good Facebook app but then I’ve only tried Friendly (which is okay) and sobees for Facebook (which is below average). On the other hand, I find Flipboard to be very engaging. Yet, if used alone, I’m never quite sure that I haven’t missed something from my Facebook News Feed in Flipboard’s nonlinear presentation.

Hootsuite lets me follow one of my Twitter accounts and my Facebook personal page and ministry page. If I could follow both of my Twitter accounts I would crown it the best of all worlds. (But I haven’t been able how to make that happen. Update: It’s really easy. What was I thinking?)

I am an Evernote junkie. There are two sides to my brain – Evernote and my Google calendar. iCal’s integration with my Google calendar has been great. The Evernote app just makes me want to pull my hair out. What’s great about Evernote? Web clipping is high on my list of what is great. I clip bits from the web for future action or to archive as a reference. When I have time I come back and edit those reference clips to “make them pretty” if they haven’t gracefully transferred. When I try to do that on my iPad I only have two choices. First, append plain text to the bottom. Second, copy the clip into a plain text note and then change it. Are you kidding? Kind of kills the purpose of pulling in all those graphics, fonts, links, etc. don’t you think?

Evernote is still great for taking a quick picture of something I want to remember or writing plain text notes – both functions I use aplenty.

I love the juicy display of album art that goes along with listening to my tunes via the iPod app. I can’t understand why a company so rooted in music as Apple fails to provide stereo speakers but overall I find the sound quality to be serviceable.

I use OrbLive to watch the morning news on TV via the iPad while getting ready for work. It’s great. I can carry it from the vanity to the closet to the kitchen counter. I also use it to watch while I exercise in the morning.

Hulu Plus has been pretty much a bust. Most of the shows I watch on Hulu are stamped ‘web only’ on the iPad. Netflix, on the other hand, is quite awesome. As much as I enjoy, watching a Netflix movie on the PS3-big screen-surround-sound system when I’m sharing the experience with Joy, I find that if I’m watching alone I would just as soon watch the show on the iPad.

I have a ton of great apps that I seldom use. MapQuest and Cruze proved to be poor substitutes for Google Navigation on my Droid Incredible. Not a big deal since I have an Android phone. But the apps I have detailed above should provide an idea of how I’m using my iPad.

Is it worth it? My netbook is gathering dust in a drawer – but then it cost less than half of what my iPad cost. Is the iPad worth a few hundred more bucks? I would have to say yes. The display is brilliant and I love the touch interface. I thought the absence of Flash would be a much more significant fail than it turned out to be. I haven’t really missed it. The lack of rich text in Evernote has been a much greater irritant.

So, why would I even consider returning my iPad 2? Because it is just so big. I really think I would prefer a screen between seven and nine inches. But so far everything else just seems over priced for their relative value and I don’t want a tablet tomorrow (I already waited a year).

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