Friday, July 9, 2010

Ipad Review-- Mike Bullock

I picked up an ipad about 6 weeks ago.  I chose the wifi version because  most places I will be using it have wifi.  When my wife gets one sometime down the road, she will get the 3g so we can have one in the family.  I waited to release this review until I had spent a fair amount of time exploring the ipad.  I am going to break it up into 3 sections.  First I will discuss the pros, then the cons and then wrap it up with some conclusions.

Pros
For starters, this is one of the most brilliant pieces of technology the world has to offer right now.  It has numberous capabilities and enormous potential.

Apps
I will begin with apps.  As I post this review there are 14,353 apps for the ipad.  However, there are 221,997 for the iphone, all of which you can use on the ipad.  In addition there are just under 40,000 apps approved that are to be released soon.  There are apps for just about anything you can think of.  They range from simple programs with poor graphics to very complex ones with beautiful HD graphics and pictures. 

     Ipad games are a great addition to the gaming market.  They are not as complex as a console system like xbox 360, but include some fantastic entertainment and ideas.  A popular one is Plants vs. Zombies.  At first the title turned me off to looking into the game.  However, when I took a chance and tried it out I was pleasantly surprised.  This game is what is called a "tower defense" game.  You begin building defenses to defend your home while being invaded by zombies determined to come eat you.  The game is creative and a lot of fun.  There are hundreds of "tower defense" games for the ipad.
     Some other games are simple.  There is solitaire, pac man, or complex games like avatar and iron man 2.  The games include many, many popular games from the past from the computer, or nintendo and others. 
     I do not believe the ipad as it is now will run the other gaming platforms out of business, but rather add another great dimension to the gaming market.  The great idea with many of these games is that they are free or just $0.99.  These games are playable free, but in order to get special items or get special bonuses they offer a shop.  The shops allow you to buy items for money.  I wondered if these companies were actually able to make any money.  I learned they most certainly do.  Some of these games make huge amounts of money which is great for the players because they can play for free if they choose.  The ipad gaming market has enormous potential and will be interesting to see where it goes. 

     There are many other categories for apps.  Some of which are just fun, such as having a digital fish pond on your ipad to news apps to all kinds of apps to edit word documents or edit photos, etc.  You can literally search for an app on almost anything you can think of and you will likely be able to find one. 
     A great app is the ibooks app.  This app is one you can keep your library on.  You can search for a book you want and download it right to your ipad.  All of the books come with a free sample to find out if you would be interested in the book before you buy it.   There are many features with this app including changing the font choice and size, highlighting text, bookmarking and even a little magnifying glass if you want to read that way.  The only downside to this so far is the choice of books right now is pretty limited.  Books are added all the time, but it will still be some months before they have the library up to the size of other eReaders like the nook and the kindle(both of which have apps for the ipad).  There are quite a few classic reads which are free, which is nice.  I talked to BYU and they are going to put all my textbooks in a form that will allow me to have all of them on my ipad instead of having to carry them around.
     Netflix is also one of my favorite apps.  This app allows you to watch tens of thousands of movies straight from your ipad.  I have never once had to wait for them to buffer or download.  They stream quickly and look great.
     Lots of apps have "lite" versions, which are just a way to test out the app and see if you want to buy the full version.

A great place to check out the latest apps is a site called appshopper.com.  They have the top charts of apps, just like the app store on the ipad does.  It also shows the latest apps to have discounts and promotions.  The app store is a wonderful app to by the way:)  This is where you search for all the apps and can see the top free, paid, and grossing apps at any given time.

Another pro is the battery life.  It lasts about 10 hours of heavy use and longer when not being used constantly.  This is a huge plus to the ipad.  It can be used all day then just charged overnight.  The downside to the battery is it can only be replaced by apple at a cost of over $100.  I hope it lasts for several years at that price.

The touchscreen is extremely well done.  It is very, very sensitive to the touch.  It does not need to be pressed hard at all and will respond to the lightest touch.  It can be held however you like and the screen will adjust to you to let you see the picture.  However there is a choice for the screen to be locked into place.  Also, the screen is very large.  It is a great size and movies look wonderful on it.

The ipad has been designed very well.  The internet is great and easy to surf.  It is nearly as good as using the internet on the computer.  The download speeds on the ipad are very fast.  It is able to download as fast as our router can handle.

The ipad has an oleophobic coating, which is great and helps with scratching to some degree. Although you still need to be very careful about not scratching it as many people have learned. The coating also helps with the ease of cleaning the screen. I have learned microfiber cloths work very well and can be used just lightly dampened or even dry.

The ipad is extremely entertaining to use.  You will find more and more reasons to use it and more and more ways to use it as well.  I was not dissappointed, in fact I was delighted with this wonderful little gadget.

Cons

Although I love the ipad and am very satisfied overall with my purchase, it is not without flaws and bugs that need fixing.

One of the big ones is apps crash on a fairly regular basis.  This is more of a fix for the developers of those apps than apple, but I have had the ipad itself crash several times.  This is something that should be addressed right away.

Another big con is that there is no camera.  I have heard several reasons why, but it is still a disappointment.  It would be great to be able to video chat and skype on the ipad.  I have no doubt that later versions of the ipad will include a camera and have the ability for this.

The currest OS for the ipad is not capable of multitasking, which can be very frustrating while using the internet.  You are only able to have one page updating at a time and when you switch the page has to reload all over again.  Also you cannot have multiple tabs open, but you can have 9 internet sites open at a time.  The multitasking will be addressed when OS 4.0 comes out for the ipad in the fall sometime.  I would be surprised if the multiple tabs and unlimited windows open were not addressed as well.

For now ibooks only works in the United States.  So if you live in another country or travel and want to download a book while abroad, you are out of luck for now.  Hopefully they will continue to add more books and increase the speed they are adding them.  The other eReaders have about 1.5 million available each, the ipad has nowhere near that.  Ibooks is still in the tens of thousands.

The glossy screen does not do well in the sun.  The light is reflected and causes a glare that make the screen very difficult to see.

Iworks is not compatible with other programs, namely microsoft works.  This is a big downside to the program. 

I hope they address the account issue.  There are no accounts, like on a computer when you login.  So everyone has access to your email and other programs. 

The next update will include folders for you to put your apps in categories, which will be a nice addition.

The power cord to charge the ipad is only 3 feet, which makes it very hard to plug in and use unless you are right next to an outlet.  You can buy a 6 foot extension, but apple accessories are very pricey.  Apple is known for its high prices on accessories for all their products.

While I do not regret my purchase, I also believe they are priced quite expensively, and the 3g plan is expensive to use for the ipad. 

Conclusion
The ipad is a phenomenal machine with so many uses.  It is a brand new product and has its share of needed improvements and bugs, but they are not enough to take away from the experience which is the ipad and will be addressed in due time with patches, updates and new models. Apple should be proud of their innovation and creativity.  The ipad can be bought for any number of reasons and used for them all.  It is a marvel and you are sure to have a great time using it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July

 
We love the Fourth of July and everything about it! The parades, shows, fireworks, walking down Center Street, and of course celebrating the wonderful country we live in! And of course we owe a debt of gratitude to those who are out there fighting for and protecting the freedoms we love, whether they be military personnel or civilians. Thank you!

I spent most of the day cooking for a barbecue with Ana Lee and Kory, who we've been friends with since our dating days at Alpine Village. It was so great catching up and spending a few hours with them! Not to mention, eating the delicious food! After we stuffed ourselves crazy with hamburgers, juicy watermelon, and my homemade rolls and apple pie, we went and did fireworks while we waited for the Stadium of Fire fireworks to start. 
 
Ana Lee and Mike doing some not so exciting sparklers
 
I guess Kory was going for a "lighting-while-throwing" pose
  
He wishes..
Pay no attention to my no makeup-ness ;-)
We *LOVE* fireworks!
Our view of the valley

 








 
We love our country and are so proud to be Americans! Happy Fourth!

Swim Time

Tiffany and her girls were able to come over for a bit to swim in our pools! It was fun as always. We wish they could have stayed longer, but it was in the middle of Abby's nap time. :-(
Abby LOVED the water. Once she was in, she was off! Little Miss Busy Body..
Chillin in the kiddie pool
 Abby trying to run/walk in the water. Pretty sure we're buddies. :-)

Today's sunset

I love the sunsets we've had this last week! They have been absolutely stunning! The only bummer is, they don't last very long.
One of my *FaVoRiTe* things