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Archives: May 2010

When you last tuned in, I was talking about the iPad that I spent a week playing with testing.

The thing is, if the iPad wants to remain the next must-have and not just another Segway, it has to be useful whether you’re at home or in the office. I spend at least a portion of every work day, stuck in meetings. It passed its first test, as I found uses for it in both, internal meetings and those with clients. Using its WiFi, I was able to quickly bring up and reference websites and apps in meetings, to show – rather than tell – what I was getting at. Not to mention, the convenience of passing around an easy-to-view tablet.

While you won’t find yourself writing the sequel to Moby Dick on your iPad, the Notes app works well enough for keeping brief  notes during a meeting. The virtual keyboard will still slow you down enough that you’re probably going to just settle for the regular pen and pad in any fast-paced meetings. But the click to turn into an email feature is handy, should you need to quickly send something to a colleague in the middle of a meeting, while not wanting to get caught by the teacher, passing notes.

Now, over the last few months, my interest in a Kindle has grown. A colleague of mine brought hers in, and the Kindle’s use of E Ink is – like Zooey Deschanel – easy on the eyes. Debates have risen about the iPad putting an end to the need for a Kindle. After using the iBook and Kindle app on the iPad, I disagree with this. Is it nice to be able to read books on the iPad? Of course. But I did so sitting next to a window, and the glare on the screen made for an uncomfortable reading experience. What’s nice about the Kindle is that you forget you’re looking at a tablet. The E Ink looks like “real” text on a page. And uses less strain on the eyes. I would only consider using these features on the iPad under optimal viewing conditions. Otherwise, no thanks.

One reading app that does get it right, though – and I am shocked to say this – USA Today.

For me, USA Today has always felt like the elementary school Weekly Reader of newspapers. Yet, their app gives you a genuine newspaper experience, in a digital form. And I love it. Almost enough-so to look past their paper’s often times less than edgy content. Their app goes the extra mile to make the page resemble a newspaper, down to the look of the right edge of the paper. I can actually envision myself walking down to my local coffee shop in the morning, ordering a coffee, and sitting at a table with a Cup o’ Joe in one hand and the iPad USA Today in the other and not thinking anything of it. By sweeping your finger across the page, you can turn pages to additional stories. Or, you can click on the icon in the upper left hand screen to take you back to the homepage and choose your section there. It’s the actual newspaper experience, in tablet form.

If more newspapers created apps like USA Today’s and brought in some of the NPR app’s features such as accompanying assets like interviews, audio and social media sharing layers to every story, it would once again become an experience for your readers.

Finally, I just wanted to have some mindless fun with the iPad. I downloaded the Shazam app, knowing how well it worked on the iPhone. I tested it out on a somewhat-rare Elvis Presley album I had playing on my computer. Sure enough, just like the iPhone app, the iPad app picked it up and recognized it. The little microphone that could.

I saw YouTube videos with people using the SketchBook app and uploading their drawrings. Yes. That drawrings is for the one person who remembers the early 90s SNL sketch. SketchBook is like an Etch-a-Sketch, but without giving you the jitters and HULK SMASH rage. You can choose between pencils, pens, chalk-like features and more, while using your finger to draw, sketch, and smudge your way toward all the happy little trees your Bob Ross-like heart desires. I may have left one of my drawings on there, just to see how long it takes my boss to stumble across it.

Lastly, the eBay app. Personally, I wish their hard-wired site worked/looked more like their iPad app. It’s simplified just enough, and puts your results right in front of your face in a manner that makes it way too easy for me to drop a quick $25 on a used Mike Tyson’s Punch Out cartridge for the original NES. On second guess, I’m glad their website isn’t as streamlined.

Could I survive without an iPad? It still has a ways to go before I find myself needing to have one, in the same way I feel about my laptop and my cell. But I have the feeling my want can turn to a need, after another generation of iPads roll out with a few more features.

brucerollBruce is a Mobile Media Specialist at Roll Mobile. He is a lover of good music, bad puns and ugly sweater vests. Want to learn more about adding mobile components to complement your existing marketing strategies? Or have a BLOG@ROLL topic you’d like us to explore?

Contact bruce@whyroll.com or on Twitter via @RollMobile.