Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: iPad Impressions

360 Responses

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  • Don Christie,

    The interesting question is, how many media apps will iPad users buy? One for each site you go to regularly?

    I realise there is some short term money to be made but not far beyond short term, web apps are hard to beat for multi-device functionality.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I don't think that vodaphone should have to change its speed test fot the ipad, more apple should change the ipad to match the internet :-)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    ACP wanted an app, but with the constraint that they didn't have extra resource for layout, which is what Wired et al use (they create separate PNG layouts for each iPad orientation and don't support iPhone). ACP also wanted to support both iOS devices if possible.

    So we built a solution that renders ePub files more or less directly from InDesign (there is a small amount of pre-processing that ACP does). Once the ePub files arrive on the device (packaged as an issue that you buy through in-app purchase), we automatically prepare and cache dynamic one and two-column layouts from the article data in the file. We support iPhone (including retina display, portrait only) and iPad in both orientations. The page layouts are styled with CSS and rendered as web views within the native app, over which we've added intra- and inter-article swipe navigation. Titles are rendered with SVG fonts (the only format supported in web views).

    We've been able to retain print staples like inline images, styled pullquotes, etc, and we support inline/fullscreen video and a built-in photo gallery that collects and displays all images from each article. Our approach to building pages is smart enough to slightly rearrange the order of items to avoid gaping holes around full-page images, which was no mean feat!

    translation??

    I think you mean "...it rocks!".

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Would it be too rude to ask how much it cost? I am tempted but until my next writing cheque comes through I will continue to squint and curse at my iPod Touch.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    web apps are hard to beat for multi-device functionality

    Sounds like it took a lot of cunning effort from Cactuslab to make their app work across even Apple's locked-down ecosystem.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Would it be too rude to ask how much it cost?

    NZ Prices. By contrast a good netbook - Atomn450, 160GB hard drive, 10 inch screen, 1.2 kg, Windows 7 starter - sets you back a little over $600. I guess it's the closest comparison amongst existing devices, isn't it?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Would it be too rude to ask how much it cost?

    iPad prices from Dick Smith - same everywhere, really.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • lotech,

    Having owned a couple of netbooks myself, in the loosest sense they're comparable bnce you use an iPad though you realize they're very different things.
    I think when you hold a website in your hand like a book you realize how if anything the iPad is probably really what a 'net book' should be.

    Russel make sure you check Flipbook, I think it finally makes RSS shine define what 'Magazines'n are in the future. Basically aggregated blogs, articles and images in a print layout. Just launched and limited but showing promise.

    AKNZ • Since Dec 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • terrcin,

    As far as I can tell the Safari Reader is basically using Readibility which this article explains how to install on your iPad/iPhone. Works with Atomic Web too.

    Since Jul 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Having owned a couple of netbooks myself, in the loosest sense they're comparable bnce you use an iPad though you realize they're very different things.
    I think when you hold a website in your hand like a book you realize how if anything the iPad is probably really what a 'net book' should be.

    That's why I said closest thing. If the iPad was just another netbook then presumably we'd be spared the hype. And they do a number of things differently, obviously. Plus if 3G is important to you in order to make the price comparison more accurate you'd have to add a USB 3G modem to the netbook and compare the plans available on either.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Welch,

    My other half is quite perplexed about the fuss made over the iPad. When she asked "how is it any different from the tablet (HP TC1100) you've been using for the last 5 years?" I've struggled to come up with any great reason other than you use a finger rather than a stylus. I still quite like the TC1100 for all I use it for.. surfing the net, reading e-books etc. and I improved it by installing Windows 7 onto it.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Ops, yes, I forgot about those. I guess tablets are the closest thing.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin,

    My girlfriend bought an iPad for her parents and we set it up for them this weekend. They were unenthusiastic web and email users and have taken to it really well.

    Now they have a web and email (and music playing, YouTube surfing, family photo showing) device that isn't tied to a single room of the house and doesn't crash all the time or prompt them to smash the mouse - which has been known to happen.

    They can sit around it at the kitchen table, pass it around easily, use it in bed or on the couch. And from our point of view, technical support has been really easy so far.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    They were unenthusiastic web and email users and have taken to it really well.

    I've been wondering whether that experience will be an unexpected way that the device shines.

    Oh, and as for RSS readers on iOS devices - i'm loving Reeder for iPhone, if its available for iPad its choice.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Like many people on a low income, I lust after things I can't really afford. However, I'm an experienced Apple user and thus will wait to spend my precious dollars on the second generation machine.

    Especially since someone has ported TeX to the iPad. If Apple can fix the version of Keynote for the iPad (the current version has two limitations that mean my slides, which were made in iWork 09's version of Keynote, will not work with the iPad version of the software), then I will find not having to lug the laptop everywhere with me when I want to do work a(n expensive) blessing.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I may have remarked before that every other maker of touchscreen tablets must have spit the dummy with all those news reports: "And what's more - you can read books on it!!!!!111!eleven!!!"

    And just because it was today, a guy sent me this dress-up Obama web toy demoing his open source webpage scrolly thing for touchscreen (also works in opera/chrome/safari, you'll' need to make the window narrow on a PC) made with bit from my 2008 Seven Costumes. I feel quite proud.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • John Russell,

    (Disclaimer: My main workstation is a Mac, but I use Windows and Linux routinely in my work. I'm familiar with all three environments. Each is better than the other at certain things. I admit that apple gets shit wrong, often hilariously and hugely. Don't even get me started on the stupid assholeness of not letting you tether your ipad to your iphone so you can share that 3G connection. Man, that sucks. Screw you, Apple!)

    The answer to "How is this different from tablet PCs?" is the same as to "Why is this so cool compared to netbooks?" and that answer is the UI and the OS. The iPad is, frankly, the single slickest and most direct interface currently existing between you and your news and newsfeeds and digital books and comics. And games. And social apps. And most other stuff. You cannot even BEGIN to compare the iPad UI to Windows 7 running on a tablet or a netbook. They're doing completely different things.

    I sourced a Wifi one a while back from the US, with the intent to assess it and see what it was like. Result: It's awesome. I bought a bigger, 3G one, on launch day, when they came out here in NZ.

    It'll take a while for app writers (especially for content delivery apps) to figure out what works and what sucks with regards to tablet and touch UIs. But then it also took them a while to work out what's shit with regards to web UIs. And in some cases, they're still doing so.

    They'll get there. They'll have to. Because this iPad shit, right here? This is really, properly, no foolin', The Future.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc,

    I succumbed to the temptation a couple of weeks ago (Oz has had availability for a while). I'd been telling all and sundry that I didn't see the need for a device sitting between my iPhone and the MacBook Pro but I succumbed to some sort of consumer madness one Friday...

    Where it has proved valuable is on a recent holiday - it web browsed, checked mail, played ripped DVDs for the kids and there were sufficient free games to keep the kids and the wife happy. A much better experience than lugging my work laptop around the place and then handing it over to all and sundry to wreck havoc.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    What he said.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    ...oops that be what John Russell wrote, and kiwimc now too...boy this interdoink cloudie thingmy is quick.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Welch,

    You cannot even BEGIN to compare the iPad UI to Windows 7 running on a tablet or a netbook. They're doing completely different things.

    Yeah, cos Windows 7 will show me websites with Flash in them, and I can tether my phone and.. and... I'm doing it with 5-6 year old technology. So no, you can't compare them.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    I think the people who thought the iPad would replace a laptop are the ones who are most disappointed. It's not great for content creation. But it shines for the stuff that a laptop isn't portable enough for (any time you're not sitting a desk, basically) and that benefits from a larger screen than a phone's. It's much better than a laptop in bed or even on the couch. Browsing the web and reading are much better than on a phone. I can upload photos to it in the field to check them out on a reasonable size screen. It's perfect for maps.

    I am disappointed with the speed of searching in pdfs. ePub books search nearly instantly - I can't see why pdfs are so much slower. It's slightly irritating that it won't charge from a PCs USB port. I also miss the mute switch that the iPhone has. It is heavier than it ideally should be (though the battery life is good).

    The data plan prices make me quite angry. I really wish someone would force Vodafone and Telecom to justify their mobile data prices, particularly their roaming charges.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    Yeah, cos Windows 7 will show me websites with Flash in them, and I can tether my phone and.. and... I'm doing it with 5-6 year old technology. So no, you can't compare them.

    If those things are critical for you, then you can jailbreak your iPad and do them. But there is nothing for a Windows 7 tablet that will give you a UI as great as iOS's.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Yeah, cos Windows 7 will show me websites with Flash in them.

    If the iPad contributes somehow to reducing the amount of Flash used in websites, I'll be a happy man without ever wanting to own one myself. I've just installed a flash blocker for firefox and now I can see how many inane buttons and gizmos on the Web are made with Flash. Gack!

    ETA

    This is really, properly, no foolin', The Future.

    The future doesn't have a keyboard. I am very disappointed in you, future!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    I may have remarked before that every other maker of touchscreen tablets must have spit the dummy with all those news reports: "And what's more - you can read books on it!!!!!111!eleven!!!"

    But it's as much about the iTunes bookshop as the device itself. Of course you can read books on other tablets, it was getting the books that was difficult.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

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