Today I did something very American (well it felt American): got in a line at an Apple Store to buy the new Apple iPad. The whole retail experience at an Apple Store is geared to an almost religious fervor & the launch of the iPad didn’t disappoint with the Apple staff decked out in their blue Apple t-shirts greeting you as you joined the line, handing out free bottles of water & even joking when collecting rubbish “any rubbish? drink bottles? Kindles??”. And then when you entered the store a line of the same blue shirted staffers clapped you in like you’ve just returned from battle.
And instead of purchasing with the people that didn’t have a reservation, we got to walk up to the third floor, usually dedicated to the Apple Genius bar, to have a whole other group of Apple staffers greet & meet & talk about how much you love the device you haven’t actually purchased yet. And then they clap you on the way out as well!
So now that I’ve got it home & have calmed down a bit what do I think? It’s fantastic. It’s basically a big iPod Touch – but that’s why it’s so great. Smart mobile devices like the iPhone are great at consuming content – games, music, news, Twitter – all accessible anywhere & anytime. The problem is that the form factor has never really been great when you’re not moving around. This is where the iPad comes into it’s own. The kitchen, on the couch, reading in bed, on the train – all where the iPad rules. I spend a lot of the time checking email, checking Tweets, surfing, reading, listening, watching. At the moment this is all done on my MacBook – but the iPad now makes it so much easier & somehow seem so much cooler.
Everything is very snappy – it feels like a real computer rather than a big mobile device (actually a little heavier than I expected it to be). The bevel doesn’t look big in real life & is quite handy because you feel you can really hold it properly without inadvertently launching an app. The keyboard is good – I can touch type on it without issue but my wife’s finger nails meant she was a little frustrated by it (that’s actually a feature – if she wants one she can buy one). Even though the iPad is a killer device for consumption I can see myself doing content production on it as well – it’s so intuitive to use & I’m really looking forward to the different types of apps that developers come up with that really push the platform to it’s limit. Have already loaded some apps – will be interesting to hear some comments from other iPad users as to the killer apps (I’ve got Tweetdeck, the new Kindle app & MLB At Bat 2010 so far).
So does Xero work on it? Of course! There are some issues with the fact that we have some Flash still hanging around, but otherwise both Xero & Xero Personal look & work great (actually everything looks great on the iPad – that screen is stunning). We will be releasing new versions of both products that are even more iPad friendly in the near future. Don’t ask us about us creating an iPad app though – at Xero we’re dedicated to the open web & reaching as many platforms & devices as possible. Having said that we are doing some work in this area at the moment to make the transition from the device to the web seamless so stay tuned.