Fun with the iPad

So I decided to get my wife an iPad for mothers day that MPSharp needed to do some iPad research (business requirement), so I picked one up at Best Buy a few weeks ago.   Went for the 64G version with no 3G, thinking that I really didn’t need to give AT&T more money on a monthly basis.  Also, given the iPhone 3G is getting a little long in the tooth, I figured it was time to jailbreak it and turn it into a mobile hotspot for your mobile.   I’d already added mobile hotspot software to my HTC Touch Pro 2 (Tilt 2) and the iPad works great with that.   The question was how much work was involved to jailbreak the iPhone.

So it seems it seems that jailbroken iPhones are now widespread enough to have their own app stores.    Jailbreaking the phone is now idiot proof.   Download the Spirit  jailbreak program, connect your phone, run the program, click “Go” and you’re done!   Installing the hotspot software was a little trickier.   I actually paid $9.99 for MyWi, which also required another jb app store manager called RockYourPhone.  Of course, as soon as I paid for that, I found a free one called PDANet.  This got me wondering about the market for jb iPhones and how many of them there are.   Last year, Cydia reported almost 500,000 visitors a day (I’m sure they are well past that now)  It’s an interesting testament to Apple’s business model.

So back to the iPad.   A few observations:

  1. It’s heavy. It’s too heavy to suspend in the air for any length of time.   Even trying to watch a 5 minute YouTube video is a little too much.   I suspect stands will be a hot selling item, especially if you want to watch a movie on an airplane, or some such.
  2. Lack of Flash sucks.   I sincerely hope Apple loses this fight.  I did find an interesting Bookmark hack called iTransmogrify which pipes the video through YouTube to make it iPhone friendly.   This helps to a small degree.   As usual, there are some JB solutions such as iMobileCinema, but I’m not excited about jailbreaking the iPad just yet.
  3. The screen is difficult to read in outside daylight.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very compelling device.   Browsing through the JB iPhone is useable, but it seems to go much faster through the HTC which has been hacked for HSDPA (4G) performance.  It really seems to get the most use as a TV companion device.   It currently shares the coffee table with a laptop, and it’s interesting to see which device you want to use for what.   For instance, I’m using the laptop to write the blog (the on-screen keyboard is much better than the phone), but nothing really beats the lean back browsing experience.   It’s obvious the device will have an infinite use as a remote control, even if it’s made obsolete by newer versions.   I just installed an RDP client on it today and used it to play music on the HTPC.   I happen to know there are a number of  interesting IR solutions out there made for the iPhone, they’ll be even more usable with the iPad, but even an old iPod Touch will work in this case.  I’ll wait for the price on those to drop a bit.  Next thing to try is some book reading, but I still think the device is going to be to heavy to do that comfortably.

Finally, it wins hands down for one handed browsing while feeding a baby.

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