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Observations with the new iPad & iPhone 4s working together after a week | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Observations with the new iPad & iPhone 4s working together after a week

New system setup for writing (for at least the first draft)

It has now been over a week since I’ve been using the new iPad. While my habits of use will be evolving as I find out what I’m comfortable using the device for, I figured a week gave me enough time to observe how I used the iPad and what I liked and didn’t like about it. Initially I had a problem with the weight of the new one. I have the first iPad and the second one as well. Back in the day I wasn’t so concerned about the weight. Even after a week with the new iPad I still don’t like the weight of it. The reason that the weight is an issue for me is not so much because the iPad 2 was 200g while the new one is 250g. It’s because I’m used to reading retina with my super light iPhone 4S. It’s not a fair comparison of course but something that shouldn’t be ignored either. There’s no solution for the weight issue but I wanted to bring it up anyways.

This isn’t so much a review of the new iPad as it is a collection of notes about evolutions and changes in my behavior with what I do with both my new iPad and iPhone 4S now that they both have retina screens. The first observation is that I see the two devices more as one connected system than ever before. I think this has to do with the screen parity. I’ll write something on my iPhone and push it to my iPad. I might sketch something on my iPad and send it my iPhone. I’m starting to use Apple’s cloud with photos which I didn’t really before. This is reducing the number of times I email an image to myself.

LTE is amazingly fast. With all things being equal now, I might read more on my iPhone because of the lightness of it. On the flip side if I need something fast I’m going to use my iPad to view it. LTE makes me happy. The speed of that connection can’t really be compared with any wifi network that I’ve used. I’m lucky in that I have an unlimited data plan that I purchase back when I had the iPad 1. The speed has been cut in half since I started using it which sucks on ATT’s part but was somewhat expected. With that said it’s still faster than my wifi.

My writing workflow is changing. I’m using the iA Writer app for my iphone to compose blog posts. I never used to do this. I’m also using it to get initial thoughts down about product ideas. They’re not final drafts by any means but I’m find the stream of consciousness from typing with my iPhone to make the process easier. From there I’ll keep my iPad on with the same writing app so I can see the text. As I write I’ll use the iPad to bring in new content as inspiration as I write.

Loose wireframe sketch for a post

I’m starting to sketch loose wireframes from my ipad using the Sketchbook app for the iPad. It’s a bit slower than using a whiteboard or MUJI notebook for now but I think that’s due to getting used to the tools. It’s also not ideal situation for working with small groups. I’ve found it better when I’m using it by myself early in the morning.

Readability Settings

My reading workflow has changed a lot. I’m attributing a lot of this to the Readability app that I have on all my devices including MacBook Air. Whether I find a post through Google Reader, a tweet or maybe through an email that someone sent me, I’m almost always saving it to read through Readability to read. My only wish is that I could save highlighted passages and possibly share them after the fact. I’ll also be posting on the threat that Readabilty has to online publishers and why it would be a mistake for publishers to block the app that want to save something to read later. But this post is about how my behavior has changed.

I can’t really use my iPad 2 anymore. It feels blurry and slow. I haven’t noticed any heat issues, battery loss or extra period of time for it to charge. The iPad camera’s quality surprised me a lot. The file size was noticeably smaller compare to the same image shot with my iPhone 4s. I stream more video clips which usually come from ESPN. This may have been due to the crazy week in the NFL…

In terms of other Gesture Theory work being influenced I’m reading a lot about optimizing for the larger screen’s retina capabilities both for apps and the web. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution yet but there’s a couple tricks that make sense for the images fro the web to be viewed on an iPad better. When developing we look at the iPad one the same way that IE6 felt back in the day. Apps have to still work on that device. We can’t just design around the faster processing speed of the new iPad. I don’t think I could get rid of my MacBook Air and go completely iPad and iPhone for design work. If I only wrote all day it might be possible. Because I use programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and inDesign with a mouse still, I don’t think I could stop using my normal workstation. If I could make everything that I design in pure code with the only graphics being photos shot from my iPhone and iPad, it’s not so far fetched of an idea. Maybe, maybe not.

I’ve been an iPad fan from day one. What I like about the iPad is that there’s no cursor. This opens up the ui in a million new ways. It flattens the need for external production (extraneous tactile buttons) which saves time. Design for gestures and ignore the plastic production and circuitry of buttons. The speed of both the network and ability to navigate faster without worrying about making a mistake. The ability to streamline processes that people couldn’t rely on interconnectivity before (I’ll talk about this more with a case study in the upcoming months).

What I don’t like. I think the weight issue is a big deal. I can’t hold this thing in one hand for a long time. It also makes it more difficult to type. The only other thing I don’t like about the iPad is the threat that print and web people feel towards it. It used to be that print didn’t like the web, now it feels like web has forgotten about that and is feeling threatened by the iPad

Next big things that I’d like see is the ability to connect two iPads to share the same screen. What I mean by this is the ability to have two iPads connect the same way that I can connect my MacBook air to a second monitor. I want the iPad to be lighter. I want more people to understand the power of saving a web site to the home screen from their iPad. Once this becomes a habit for people things are really going to take off.

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  • http://twitter.com/iqonicdesign Ari

    Very interesting experience. I’m planning on getting a new iPad, but I’ll stick with the Wi-Fi version, since the iPhone 5 should have LTE with the hotspot feature. 

    UX wise, are you noticing any lag on the higher resolution?

  • http://designnotes.info/ Michael Surtees

    Lag depends on the app and the API calls so it’s hard to gauge at this point