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Looks Like I’m the Designated GBM iPad Guinea Pig



Today was iPad pre-order day and from the sound of things around the Interwebs, Apple is doing quite well. Although nothing is confirmed by anyone I’m seeing reports of brisk sales and hearing reports that folks who may be reserving for pickup in an Apple Store might be waiting a bit if they weren’t quick to reserve this morning. Again, none of that is confirmed, and I’m sure Apple is enjoying the rumbles of possible tight supply.

It also looks like I’m the only GBM team member who pre-ordered (at least so far.) A quick survey of the team leaves me standing alone in iPad land. That may change. I pre-ordered a 32GB WiFi only model that, at the moment, is scheduled to arrive on April 3. I guess that means I’ll be spending part of my Easter weekend checking it out. I’ll be doing an InkShow, or as Xavier puts it, an Ink-less show sometime that weekend, so if you want anything specifically checked out let me know.

Call me stupid, call me foolhardy, call me a dreamer, but a part of what I’m going to be checking out are some of the existing iPhone/iPod Touch apps that let you do some rudimentary Inking. I’m impressed by what I saw of PadNotes earlier today and there are a few others that I’ve tried out and dismissed on the iPhone/iPod touch. But perhaps they may just offer a passable alternative on the iPad with the larger screen. I’ve got a Pogo Sketch stylus ready and waiting and I might even pick up a Dagi Stylus before the iPad arrives as well. Of course this assumes those apps are ready and working on the iPad on arrival date. My thinking is this. We aren’t going to see anything compared to the Inking on an existing Tablet PC. But, sooner or later a third party solution might get close to a decent Inking experience for note taking. And if it doesn’t? Well, there are other alternatives coming down the pike, yes?

So, I’m taking one for the team (although I wouldn’t be surprised if gadget lust doesn’t change that before all is said and done.)



  1. Antimatter

    03/12/2010 at 6:45 pm

    Not to put the pressure on, but the GBM iPad review will definitely make or break my decision to buy. Honestly, I feel GBM is the most qualified to write an informed and unbiased review of the iPad; sites like Gizmodo and Engadget hardly know the tablet enhancements in Windows 7 and that Slates existed before the iPad.

    So if you guys say that this thing is special, I’ll take that to heart.

    To that end there’s a few things I want to know/see specifically:

    – Test the “10 hour battery” claim.
    – Demonstrate inking, both with the pogo and the dagi. I’m not expecting much, but I’d like to see what we’re working with here.
    – Side by side hardware comparison to the Latitude XT(2)
    – I’m a little confused how files are managed on the iPad. Can I save/copy a photo from Safari and use it in Pages? Can I save an MP3 from the internet and play it? What about a PDF or Word file?

    I think that’s all I need to know for now. I’m sure as questions are answered I’ll just find more questions to ask.

  2. Rodfather

    03/12/2010 at 7:09 pm

    I’m curious to see how well it inks using those styli. The iPad would make a create notetaking device with its size and weight besides the fact it doesn’t have an active digitizer.
    Will you be purchasing a glove to prevent vectoring as well? ;)

  3. Warner Crocker

    03/12/2010 at 8:25 pm

    Doubt I’ll do a glove. Like I said, I don’t hold out much hope for anything beyond sloppy Inking, but someone has to give it a try.

  4. Ken

    03/12/2010 at 9:18 pm

    Took the plunge like you today, same model. Will compare multi-touch experience with my two finger Lenovo x200 multi-touch with some apps like NYTimes. I’ve had some use on Ipod with Dan Brinklin’s note app with my finger, will report on that on bigger screen with a pogo .

  5. Andre

    03/12/2010 at 11:18 pm

    I can’t say that I pre ordered but I am very interested in this product. I see a ton of potential in it for replacing textbooks(in the long term), and notebooks/legal pads. I have been told that the file transfer features on the ipad are rumored to be very efficient so I would like to know about those. How easy do you think it will be to organize collections of documents-and possibly manipulate those documents. I ask because I can easily see this lightening the loads of students carrying books but what about professionals carrying files they need to look through during the day or carry from meeting to meeting. I see the ipad as a great companion to your laptop/desktop. I see it becoming the most portable option for professionals so I too would also like to know about inking. It doesn’t need to be as advanced as the courier demo as long as notes can be legible and organized. Also do you think that any cloud programs could convert the notes to text seemlessly?

  6. Oliver

    03/12/2010 at 11:30 pm

    > hearing reports that folks who may be reserving
    > for pickup in an Apple Store might be waiting a
    > bit if they weren’t quick to reserve this morning

    Really? I went through most of the process for a few select stores in different parts of the country right now (9:30pm PST) and didn’t see any indication that I couldn’t reserve for pickup anymore.

  7. GoodThings2Life

    03/13/2010 at 4:50 am

    I can’t think of a better person to deliver an unbiased review than you, Warner. I look forward to reading it, although from all I’ve read, my bet is in “the iPad is a content consumption device not a content creation device” camp.

  8. Jim

    03/13/2010 at 5:56 am

    What I want is a tablet pc with active digitizer in the shape, size and weight of the ipad. Given that such seems nowhere on the horizon—I ordered the ipad. Can’t wait to hear from you about it.

    I really use tablets pcs for grading papers with ink. I have longed for a lighter device and there has been virtually no movement on that since the beginning of tablet pcs. I am using the best solution in terms of size and weight that I have found—the ole T1100. But I can’t even run Win 7 on it well. This “inkers neglected” thing is big.

    Anyways—I do think that the guinea pig must be your spirit animal, avatar type thing. Quite a resemblance to you in appearance and in what I imagine from your writing in personality too!~!!!

    • MurphysLaww

      03/15/2010 at 1:56 pm

      Don’t you know ? You don’t need an active digitizer. The computer companies told you so, and look how well they have done with tablets so far.

      The computer companies are strangely clueless when it comes to what will sell to people in a tablet format. From the early 2000’s to about 2007, it was lack of digital format that kept them from being successful. They could have driven that to happen much sooner but chose not to. Apple will drive it further. I’d like to see everything in my schools library on a server, and have them convert the library into more classrooms. It might stave off tuition increases for a bit.

      To be successful, all they have to do is produce something that students will use, but with features the average e-reader/Movie/TV/Music person will also enjoy. Unless Wacom is charging some ungodly price for their digitizer, I’m not sure what the disconnect is with the computer companies.

  9. CLC

    03/13/2010 at 7:19 am

    I’m surprised Sumocat isn’t the guinea pig. :-) It will be nice to hear your opinion on it; but I’m kind of leaning towards the Courier. :D

    • Sumocat

      03/13/2010 at 8:40 am

      Can’t say I wasn’t tempted, but I generally don’t preorder tech. My iPhone 3G is the first new computing device I’d bought in years, skipping the 2G entirely. Even then I tried to wait for the lines to die down. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy one later though.

      • Kevin Purcell

        03/13/2010 at 9:14 am

        Well I did get sucked in and ordered my by 9 AM EST. Looking forward to it. It will be a big plus for my work in studying the Bible and preaching (using it instead of paper notes).

      • CLC

        03/14/2010 at 11:38 am

        Ah! I see. :D

  10. sbtablet

    03/13/2010 at 10:12 am

    Warner, I can’t wait for your inkshow! I want a battery life report, and a look at how the iPad behaves as an eBook reader. Like everybody else here, I am also dying to see how bad the inking is, but I also want a really good look at using the virtual keyboard. Thanks for accepting the mission. And I rest assured that no guinea pigs will be harmed in the creation of this inkshow.

    • Warner Crocker

      03/13/2010 at 10:13 am

      No guarantees on whether or not guinea pigs will be harmed or not. :)

  11. captgoodhope

    03/13/2010 at 10:19 am

    I thought HTC was coming out with a real capacitive stylus? I hope that’s not the dagi.

  12. HG

    03/13/2010 at 8:09 pm

    I will be looking for your InkShow, or like you put it Ink-less, ;) show of the iPad. I still haven’t decided if I will get one or just wait for the HP Slate. Sure wish I new the price for the HP Slate. By the way Warner, if the screen is anywhere near like the iPod Touch, except I know it’s hard to compare because of size. Both stylus seem to work pretty good on the iPod Touch. The Pogo seems a little soft because of the tip, but maybe I got use to the Dagi, which does really good on the Touch.

  13. Mike Reilly

    03/14/2010 at 8:37 am

    I am so disappointed with the new crop of tablets/convertibles. The manufacturers just don’t get it. Could you check to see if it’s practicable to use the Ipad to connect via internet to control your home/office pc, which would have text recognition via pen? Could it act like a seemless computer, or would the time lag be too great and the cross-OS be too convoluted?

    Also, please tell the other manufacturers to “get it”. Please tell HP that their Slate must come with a detachable keyboard, like the T1100. We are fed up with their not hearing the chorus of requests all these years. Please tell Fujitsu that they must come out with a 1.7 lb, all-day replacement for the Fujitsu p1630.

  14. CLC

    03/14/2010 at 11:37 am

    You need to do two Inkshows: one with you going over the basics and one with your wife encountering it by herself for the first time to see how non-techies take to it.

  15. Warner Crocker

    03/14/2010 at 11:50 am

    @CLC: I’m sure my wife will get on camera with the iPad. That should be fun, and telling.

    @Mike: One of the things I’m going to be checking out is using LogMeIn on the iPad to work with other computers remotely. As to telling the other manufacturers, I hear you my friend. We’ve bee yelling to the heavens for years on lots of those things, but before we see any advances on those fronts, it is my considered opinion that the consumption model that everyone seems to think will bring them riches through advertising and apps has to run its course first.

    @captgoodhopes: I think,but I don’t know for sure that the HTC stylus will be the Dagi.

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