Now, I’m quite sceptical when it come to Apple computers. Fans of Apple usually claim that they are easier to use than Windows PCs, and some people I know who’ve never even used one also repeat these same received truths (Kudos to the Apple marketing department!).
However, I’m not aware of any serious peer-reviewed research that provides evidence for these claims. My guess is that after 30+ years of maturing user interface design, that both platforms are about equal – with strengths and weaknesses in different areas.
But what about when the interaction is not all about clicking on windows with a mouse? Both Apple and Microsoft have invested heavily in ‘haptic’ or’ touch-screen interfaces in recent years, but as usual it looks like Apple has cornered the market with their first product – the iPad.
iPad – a good first try
I’ve been using an iPad for the best part of a week, and I have to admit, I’m impressed – but don’t buy it yet! Wait a few years till you see the 2nd or 3rd generation iPad, and consider what the competitors come up with. The iPad is a very good first attempt at a 21st century tablet computer, but it does have its faults:
- Very handy – small form factor means it can adapt your needs rather than the other way around
- Powers up in a second – quite revolutionary for a computer
- By far the best device for using maps and looking at photos
- No impression of eye-strain from reading the screen
- Long battery life
- Surprisingly heavy and tiring to hold after a few minutes
- Typing and editing text can be fiddly and even infuriating
- Lack of multitasking can make some tasks quite inefficient
- No flash support (but maybe that’s for the best if it encourages the take up of HTML5 for video)
- Almost useless without an internet connection
- Very expensive
What impresses me most in using the iPad is that you can easily imagine the game-changing potential for many people of a well thought-out tablet computer…they just don’t know it yet!