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Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

The New York Times iPad Application

April 6th, 2010

It is interesting to note that the user interface on the iPad is not as effective as in iFlex due to the limited range of control provided by the original iPhone gestures list. On the iPhone the swipe gesture was only used to spin through a list. As a result the only swipe gestures provided are either horizontal or vertical to spin through a displayed list. You can not swipe up and down in a list that is displayed as sequence of horizontal screens.

In the iFlex user interface the user moved within an article by using the arrow keys to scroll vertically and with the left and right keys to scroll to the next article in the section. This provided a great user experience as scrolling down within an article was natural and scrolling left to right to skim the above the fold view of each article provided ideal article surfing.

With the restriction to a single left right swipe for the scroll through a list, the developers have been forced to only allow scrolling through an individual article, and then forced the user to use a very awkward button to return to the front page. Pressing a button is not directional, so doesn’t allow the next or previous article to be selected, and interrupts the surfing experience with the need to press a small button instead of using a swipe.

In the absence of multi-dimensional swipe, the iPad has a drag gesture which would allow movement both vertically and horizontally with gestures. It isn’t clear if the iPad presentation layer would allow this to be used to flip to the next item rather than providing a location for a moved object but this may provide an interim solution. The long term solution would be to switch to a swipe gesture which allows movement in both dimensions and a return to an elegant surfing of the content.

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iPad Launch

April 3rd, 2010
Apple Center, 86th and Lex

Apple Center, 86th and Lex

Apple Stores and every Best Buy with an Apple Center released a stock of iPads today, and as of 10am this morning some were still available for sale. There were 2 left at the 86th Street store in Manhattan.

The initial reaction from many was that they had imagined it being larger. The overall dimensions are just under 7.5 by 10 inches with the display area being smaller within that (9.7 inches diagonally). People seemed to have assumed that it would be letter sized (8.5 x 11 inches) and one can indeed imagine a larger display working well.

The general look and feel is the same familiar interface as the iPhone which somewhat undermines the newness of the experience but nevertheless it seemed to work extremely well. There was a snappy response to the touch screen, and the improved viewing area provided an excellent effect with Google maps and the fantastic photo pile representation in iPhoto allowing sorting of piles of photos.

The onscreen keyboard won accolades from the majority of people trying the iPad. Several commented that they had worried about the keyboard size and people seemed to be using the keyboard in landscape (Where it is significantly larger) and in portrait orientation without a problem.

On one 16GB model there appeared to be a recurring problem with the accelerometer not displaying applications in the correct orientation. The display models were one each of the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models with all of them appearing to have equally excellent speed.

The iBooks feature was launched in the iTunes Store this morning and there is a free application to read them which can be downloaded (Presumably also on an iPhone), though it requires registration with an Apple account which prevented the iBooks feature from being demonstrable in the store this morning.

Video displayed smoothly without a jitter while streaming over WiFi. The display of video was nearly full screen in some cases but within a frame from others such as CNN. The 3G version of the iPad is not available until the end of April. Streaming video over 3G is likely to be more constrained by the network itself than the iPad.

Most of the purchasers had, of course, arrived when the store opened rather than being persuaded in the store. I have an idea that selling online in the same way as the Kindle is a better model than in store for some new devices as the actual usage, as in the case of the Nook, can give rise to further questions and indecision.

The iPad experience was definitely positive, with a lot of interest from random passers by. One visitor from Australia spent some time with the iPad but felt it wouldn’t be good for use in Australia because of the US branded applications for CNN and others that were installed. In reality the WiFi version should work well in any location and the promise is that the 3G version will not be locked to its SIM so would be usable with local SIMs when traveling.

Most people will probably have to imagine over several days how the device would fit into their lives. This ambiguity of purpose is likely to slow down sales and it isn’t clear how many people will want to put money down on the device if it doesn’t appear to be work or study related. In this respect devices like the Kindle have a simpler sales story as they have a single purpose. The experience for those who do purchase the device does deliver and we can definitely expect the models in stores this morning to be sold out by now.

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