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Noorings: Notes from the diary of a new iPad user

12-April-2010
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Noorings: Notes from the diary of a new iPad user

Even if you were someone who missed all the reports and Apple advertising around the iPad, set foot at a New York airport, and you cannot miss iPad. I ended up buying an Apple iPad, and I must say that the first observations, the sheer attraction that the product is, and the topic of conversation that it has become in advertising offices, are all very interesting. Here are some notes from the diary of a self-confessed non-Apple, but new iPad user…

April 5, 2010:

Right from Newark airport to Hotel Carter, iPad is everywhere… If anyone thought we were hearing too much about a product in India that has not even launched in the market yet, the media in the US had redefined ‘too much’ at a whole new level. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsweek, Time… iPad was lead and cover reports in most publications, and everyone was reporting similar things – break the iPad for the user, what’s good and what's not… Another excuse to speak about the Steve Jobs success stories and so on… Many even questioned what the whole point of the iPad was, and what role it played.

I have to say I have never been much of an Apple person, and some credit of that goes to something Ravi Kiran (Starcom MediaVest Group) had said to me back in 2005, when we were speaking about Asian technology companies, and later he had introduced me to iRiver. And for the record, no matter what Apple does on the music gadgets front, it cannot shake me off my loyalty towards iRiver – I use one at present, and I keep one spare. I have never needed it, but just in case I lost the first one!

April 6, 2010

Coming back to the iPad, one thing that the media frenzy (negative and positive) did is get me in that queue on 57th and 5th Street at NYC to check out the iPad. Just to clarify, I didn’t miss GoaFest and come all the way to New York just to buy the iPad; we were here for a very important meeting with our US-based partners Advertising Age. Must add here that iPad was discussed at that meeting as well – AdAge, too, has written quite a bit about it, and iPad was discussed in the AdAge daily edit meet later that day too, which I had the opportunity to attend.

And not much later than that, I found myself at the Apple store… The store itself was an experience for me, the attention to design that Apple puts in its products was visible in the store too, glass staircase and elevators, white everywhere…

The Apple salesman, Ty his name tag said, spent nearly two hours with me on how iPad works, what I, as a journalist can do with it, the kinds of applications that I can download and buy. And yes, he did stress that I won’t be able to buy much when I’m in India, since the iPad is not there yet, the Apple offerings in India are much more modest. Even if I have to put movies that I already have on the system, they have to be in a certain format for viewing on iPad. All reasons of why I haven’t been an Apple person, came rushing back to me… At least I don’t have the time for such complications!

But Ty to the rescue of Apple, or to be more specific, the iPad again. He brings my attention to other things that the iPad can help me do. Notes for instance. Just a click, and I’m on this page, where I’m typing my Noorings this week from. Notes automatically saves whatever has been keyed in (no idea where, but you can retrieve any note written going back to Notes, they are all stacked there) and once you are done, the mail option on the page automatically composes the note, and all you have to do is put the email address you want it sent.

They made me configure my email address on the system already (plus points to iPad that that was a very simple process). This first version of the iPad connects only with WiFi connections wherever available. Once you have hooked on, then emails, web browsing and maps of where you are, and what is around you are available. Very helpful to a traveller like me at the moment. That, and the size, shape and weight of the iPad, combined with the fact that bookstores, coffee shops have free WiFi accessibility in the States, has made the iPad very handy for me.

The interface and the screen friendliness (I am sure there is another word for this, but I mean the touch, ability to increase size, the visual appeal) is similar to the iPhone – a delight to use.

April 8, 2010

We were visiting Mr Mainardo de Nardis at the OMD office, and he was mentioning that earlier that day, Conde Nast had invited them to demonstrate what its various magazines would look like on the iPad, and Mr de Nardis said that it was the promise of a good experience. And yes, he did ask how it felt to be amongst the first users of the iPad – I’m all smiles. Some of you may think I was showing off. Well, not entirely true, but then again, why not!

Publishers in the US have clearly seen the iPad as something that will help their cause with the young readers, or better put, the technology friendly audience. I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that it was Apple itself that would have made these suggestions to them. They think everything through. The Apple store on Fifth Avenue is open 24/7. They really care about their users that way, and it is hardly a surprise to then see this kind of a fan following.

April 10, 2010

I met my younger brother over the weekend and I asked him if he was going to buy one too, and he said to me, he is going to wait for the one with 3G access to be there, then he can even connect with a phone connection. That one is out in May, and I am quite sure Apple will have those long queues in their stores once again next month.

This entire week in the States, it didn’t matter where I went, at least two or three strangers at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Starbucks, Burger King (each) stopped to ask me what the iPad was like, was it worth buying, was it of any use… It doesn’t do anything unique that other such tablet gadgets can’t do, but yes, it is good!

The Apple guys were not too sure when the iPad would roll out in the other markets, including in India, they are concentrating on their US clientele for now. I guess I understand where they are coming from, but things like these do tend to get negative points… well, from me for sure.

Another negative point comes from the battery, I started off half an hour back with 98 per cent battery, and now I’m at 79 per cent. I wonder if Apple’s claim that the iPad can go on for 10 hours is, in fact, true… I will find out soon of course.

Steve Jobs described the iPad to be the real home computer, something that can travel from the kitchen to living room to even the bathroom. For now, in addition to seeing whether iPad really does impact media consumption in the manner that media and industry experts in the US have described it to, I would like to see what airport security treats it as. As in take if off the bag like you take off a laptop, or let it be in, like the mobile or mp3 devices.

All that said, I would be lying if I said I’m not excited about my iPad. I’m quite looking forward to discovering all the other things I can do with it!

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