48 hours with 2 iPads in the house

Here's a post I can't resist.

Disclaimer:  I am NOT a technology person.  I am not even any kind of expert on Macs. I am just a fan, long term customer and still happy to be a Mac and not a PC, or a iPhone and not a Blackberry.  I use technology intuitively and therefore like to explore, play and discover what I can do along the way. Macs and all the associated great applications and programs do this for me. I am not afraid of technology, rather I embrace it and enjoy it for what it can enhance in life.  So in this context I would like to share my iPad story. Also again noting this is not a review!  There are far more qualified, passionate people out there who on a daily basis can tell you what is happening, not happening in this space.  No I share this from a real person, average family perspective.

What a weekend!  Well lucky it was raining and we had to stay indoors alot.  Why? Because you could not tear our family away from the two new iPads delivered to our door on Friday. Depending on your expectations either you love it, kind of like it or hate it.  If you hate it then hey it's easy, don't have one. Well we are in the love it and glad we have it category.

Why an iPad?

  • the desktop iMac just doesn't move around the house so well.
  • mom likes to preserve her MacBookPro exclusively for her work, writing and connecting. 
  • the family does not respect mom's MacBookPro (chocolate and fingerprints don't look good on the keypad!).
  • mom runs her business admin from the iMac at home so more users demanding access can get tricky (too bad can't say no admin).
  • husband loves searching websites and watching YouTube videos.
  • son needs to use the internet for homework alot now that he is in highschool.
  • daughter doesn't watch TV as much any more, she goes online to her favorite replays of kids shows.
  • the iPod touch and iPhone are great but small screen.
  • mom didn't get a Kindle, she waited for the iPad.
  • son saved up his pocket money (for a long time) to get an iPad.
  • we just love Mac!
  • mom has been a Mac person since 1986 and is even more committed than ever.


Due date

So delivery happens. It was like waiting for a new baby. Ok not so much, just being a little melodramatic to go along with the hype. I did have to hang out at the house all day waiting for delivery.

iPad's arrived just as my son returned home from school.   Then the ceremony of opening.  Opening up any Mac packaged item is an experience in itself.

So here's my son getting his (he gave me permission to share):



And here's me getting mine (filming and commentary by my 8 yr old daughter):

Intuitively adapting

The beauty of the Mac is that the whole process of set up is so intuitive. I love it!  Probably why I have been a Mac girl for so long.  Even the idea that we don't need an instruction book to get started is great.

Within minutes of syncing to the main computer in our house, my son was off in la la land. He was in heaven.  Anyone who has a 12 year old boy who loves their games, gadgets and connecting will understand.  For him it was another whole world up from his iPod touch.

Myself, well not so happy.  I got the 3G model and found out the hard way that you need a sim card in order to get going. Woops. Small but important oversight in the ordering/planning process.  A quick trip to our very helpful 3G network provider solved that problem.  It was hard to tell who was the excited little girl - me or my daughter - once we got the screen up and the device working! The staff were happy, we were ecstatic but they still could not understand how they "made my night and my weekend".

The weekend became one of discovery after discovery.  From which apps looked great, which ones we needed to upgrade to what each member of the family preferred and didn't.

The big highlight

After indulging in his favorite games, my son, who needs to be forced to read books, couldn't wait to download a book.  It turned out to be the same book that my husband wanted to order from Amazon and I had forgotten to do so. Rather than waiting turns both my son and husband have been reading the SAME book at the SAME time.  This has really created some great conversations - almost like a mini family book club.  For the first time in awhile my son asked me not to disturb him because he was READING!  Of course there were lots of gaming moments to balance things out.  Considering all sport was cancelled on the weekend due to rain, iPad time was a fun diversion.

Our 3 day verdict

We love the iPad!  To me it is like a bridge between your computer life and your smart phone.  Having loved the portability and access of my iPhone since I got it, the iPad just ramps up my appreciation for the creativity of ways we can experience technology.  In particular I still love that I can take this anywhere with me and access, organise, play, entertain and NOW READ BOOKS.  It is fabulous.  I adjusted my expectations knowing in advance what it could and could not do.

What we liked

  • the efficiency and organisation of the delivery process
  • the quality of iPad designed apps, especially in HD
  • the size and portability - suprisingly fits in the handbag and easy to carry around
  • the visual definition and clarity
  • the quality of apps designed just for iPad
  • sharing off the same account on multiple devices is easy
  • playing games across the wifi together
  • reading books
  • Kindle making it possible for us to download books on the iPad
  • battery life - nicer than iPhone, like the MacBookPro

What we wish was different but will put up with...

  • to get the best experience with the iPad we are finding a few apps need to be purchased for iPad
  • using iPhone apps on the iPad is not always adaptable in quality and experience
  • iPad apps are adding to the cost because they are better quality, more expensive
  • no camera
  • no flash viewing of websites. Ok so I am still dealing with this on the iPhone but wished the iPad added it.

What I believe is the one main letdown of the experience that can be fixed!

Australia gets the iPad without the availability of iBooks to purchase!  Having held off on the Kindle for so long this was going to be my chance to have another reading experience.  Not bad having the alternative with the Kindle App, but surely having the iBooks with books, mags and newspapers designed for this device would be superior.

Cool apps

As of today the apps we love (in alphabetical particular order because we are all different in this house) are:

  • Camera for iPad (this is our work around for using the iPad as a camera)
  • Kindle for iPad
  • Real Racing HD
  • SCRABBLE for iPad
  • SketchBook Pro
  • Twittelator for iPad
  • The Guardian Eyewitness
  • Things for iPad

On the wish list are so many more but one other thing we have learned this weekend...the iPad costs more than the device.  Apps add up and pretty soon you could be buying another whole new device.  I got reminded of this today when American Express rang to ask about the spike in recent purchases.  (Just doing our bit to justify Apple's value in the market).  

May have to hold off on the business apps for now though so tempting...

It's about the experience not having stuff!!!!!!

One last point.  As you read this you may think, we got into the craze. Well no.  We are a family that does not get into having stuff for the sake of stuff or status. For us the iPad is about the experience, not collecting things or being part of a trend.  Case in point as the iPads came into our house we FreeCycled our much loved older iMac G4.  As our family grows, technology is superceded we keep updating.  We enjoy being connected globally through devices, networks and having access to learning at our fingertips. Sure makes for a much greater sense of awareness and presence in life than if we were to stay cut off.


Who ever thought that technology would bring a family together or get my son to want to read books?  Now if I could just get my son to start reading one of the 1000's of free classics already available on iBooks. By the time we got through these maybe iBooks will be in Australia :-)

So off I go now to enjoy playing on the iPad, sitting in my comfy chair while doing so and knowing that everyone in our house will be happy, at least on the technology side of things.




Jenn Shallvey