As some of you may already know, I own an iPhone, and iPad, and a Samsung galaxy tab. Upon hearing this, one might think that this is an utterly ridiculous situation to let oneself get into. But as you also might know by now, seeing an iPad and then seeing what it can do it in person are two totally different things. Likewise, seeing the galaxy time and touching one bar also two totally separate things. As many of you who follow me on Twitter or read this blog also know, I have been very down on the galaxy tab. But for some reason, when I had a chance to handle it and seal is form factor, I was actually quite intrigued. Intrigued enough, in fact to sign the contract for one. I won't go into the details or the rationale of that decision, other than to say that I have been supporting an extra phone number ever since switching over to the iPhone last year, and that it ends up only been a couple more green bills a month for me to actually switch that number over to the tab. But I am not intending this post to be the definitive review of these two devices. I won't even offer some quick tips and recommendations, as well as what I figured out these devices are good for, from direct experience.
First of all, the iPhone is one of the most amazing devices ever made. This thing gives you the most bang for buck: it is a device that started the true smartphone business, can run all those cool apps that you heard about and just about anything you can think of, and puts all media and communications literally into the palm of your hand. And that's where it's strength lies: all that power in the palm of your hand. You can send e-mail, quickly browse the web, and do just about anything you can do with your computer. Except for one thing, which is reading. It's been so small, it's just isn't something that you want to read on. Sure, checking things and sending quick messages, but it's not even the size of a paperback book. It's an all-in-one device designed for ultimate convenience.
What's the iPad for? Well, that's the question a lot of naysayers seem to ask when it first debuted. And then, a lot of people got their hands on one and actually then some people got to live with one. Many people who have not used in the iPad just think of it slightly as an overgrown iPhone. But that is exactly what it is not. From actually having used one, without getting into the minutia of small functions and complaints like front facing cameras or flash support, the iPad is a replacement for the netbook. More than that, it's a machine that turns the Internet into a portable document. What I mean by that is that the Internet has become an interval part of our lives. As have many other kinds of media, for pictures to movies to blogs to just about everything that contains information to be consumed. And now, all these things, from songs to movies to television shows to everything is in digital form. Have these things are exactly what Apple has been able to integrate into one device for easy consumption and portability. The Walkman is the iPad's most logical ancestor. Sure, the Walkman just put music or a big cassette player on your hip. Big deal, right? Absolutely right. So, in my own lifestyle after buying the iPad, it has suddenly become so much easier to present ideas, show someone a picture, carry around my portfolio, play some on the song, and do all kinds of things that were suddenly possible with the extreme portability and form factor of this device. Nowadays, rather than having to take a meeting to a computer, I take the computer or the Internet or whatever media I want to the meeting. And then there's the flip side of the form factor. I can download books and all sorts of other media for easy and convenient and non-eye-straining consumption anywhere I want to go. In this sense, so iPad is far more important than the walk, at least to the extent it alters one's life. If you just consider it a much lighter and more convenient alternative to a netbook, fine. If you consider it a great movie watching device, it is. It's also a great device to record with, take notes on, based presentations off of, and really alters your life and workflow in so many small ways, half of which I never thought about before getting the iPad, that it really is almost unnecessary device. Apple just happen to make it first, but the idea of the tablet, just like the Walkman and the many many companies who produced similar devices, is here to stay and is totally revolutionary. In short, it's that document sized viewer and presenter. And the key to that is reading, writing, and seeing at a normal size. That's the key to understanding the iPad.
Now, what about this galaxy tab? Well, my whole criticism of the form factor as summarized in the question, "what do you do with a 3-inch penis?" Was a bit premature and overly snide. When I held one in my hand for the first time I thought differently. And that's important to mention: when I felt one in my hand, singular. It's a device just like the one that Mr. Spock or Dr. McCoy used in Star Trek when they went down to alien planets. It's just the size and form factor of a tri-corder. It's the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, which was a book/device that fits into your pocket, but was noticeably larger than something like an iPhone. It just feels good to have this device snugly in one hand, and your other hand free to. It's also nice because it does fit into a man's best pocket, or large winter coat pocket, and can be easily pulled out to navigate the city, look up something on a map app, bring up a note, make a quick appointment with, and lots of things that are easier to do on a larger screen. Basically, these are some things that you might not want to thumb-type. For example, I use the device to Twitter with, to bring up Google or Daum maps on, as almost the perfect reference tool.
The difference between that and the iPad, which is the real obvious question here, is that with the iPad, I feel like I'm making a big investment in motion and in the flow of my life. I feel like the iPad is just too big and too serious a thing to whip out in the grocery store, or while walking on the street, and it's just too conspicuous to casually use. Just imagine that you're walking around the streets with a huge dictionary as your daily planner. It's almost like some of those Franklin calendars that frankly got way too big for their own good. You're basically just bringing along a planning notebook, not trying to strategize and charge the movements of an entire marketing team or large organization. That thing just got too damn big. And the iPad kind of feels like that when doing lots of small things.
Now, this is not to beat up on the iPad itself, because it is very good for many of the things I mentioned above. If you go to a meeting, you want to bring the big presentation book, or have your schedule planner fully laid out, or a larger presentation boards to show charts and pictures, and so forth. If you're going to spend 12 hours on the plane, the iPad is the best companion in the world. There's a program that exists to use the iPad as a virtual whiteboard or display card, so you can write someone's name large and hold it up at the airport baggage exit door to greet a customer or client. I even used it to flag down taxis, by typing my destination in Korean and simply holding the iPad up. It's great for a foreigner in Seoul, because many taxi drivers assume you don't speak Korean and don't understand the multiple passenger system when it's raining. In other words, the iPad has many useful functions that are good for it because it's a big gun. It's larger form factor makes it very useful in those ways.
Right now, I use the tab much more often when walking around. I use it to do all those little things that it would just be too inconvenient to pull out the iPad for. It's really useful device, and it's my hitchhikers guide to the galaxy of Seoul. It's my tri-corder for use in navigating the bustling and busy, alien landscapes of the city. It's cool, convenient, and reassuring to have in your pocket all the time. However, the user experience and overall functionality of the android operating system has a tab leaves much to be desired. I figured that out from the first moment I played with it. It's not as sexy, nor cool, no more smoothly and well planned as the iPad. I don't think anyone can debate that, who has touched both devices. It's also a bit buggy and freaks out on you sometimes. But that aside, the form factor and its resultant functionality made it worth my while, and I still like it quite a bit. Despite being a prematurely pooped-out piece of crap. It's still that likable. The only thing that's a real drag to its functionality is the pretty lame battery life. I still feel like I have to be careful with usage, lest I end up with a brick in my pocket for the rest of the day. With either the iPhone or the iPad, I feel like I can freely use it throughout the day with a full charge.
All this being said, what should you do? Well, here are some tips and recommendations from me, based on my own experiences. I'll add one last note, which is that I have a Wi-Fi only iPad, while my galaxy tab makes more sense for me because it is 3G enabled. Just wanted to give a full background on that, which somewhat affects my rationale for the tab being my truly mobile, flip it out anywhere, super device. But also note that the galaxy tab has a phone number and phone service connected, whereas the iPad does not. For some people, the logic of replacing one's phone number and smaller phone with the galaxy tab maybe a no-brainer, depending on where you're starting from. So let me give you those tips and recommendations from that point of view:
-- If you don't have any kind of smart device, and just a normal career cell phone, I would say is the best bang for your buck would be to buy an iPhone. For those of you on a smaller budget like me, I would buy a used iPhone 3G, because so many careers have upgraded to be 4G iPhone, even when there are 3GS were working just fine. And the difference between the two phones is minimal: there's only the front facing camera and slightly higher resolution that really differentiate the two. Otherwise the software is exactly the same. So, starting from scratch, get the iPhone. I won't even go into debates about the galaxy smart phone. You iPhone just has more applications, a longer history and had start, and the operating system is just much much better, from my experience with the galaxy tab.
-- For those of you who already have a galaxy smart phone, you need to get an iPad. It just does not make any sense for you to get a cab that is only twice the size of your existing phone, and which has the exact same operating system. You already have the one handed portability of the smart phone, and many of the galaxies have larger screens than the iPhone, anyway. If you want a tablet computer, then go for the one that will maximize your set of functionality. And that's the Apple iPad. Don't worry about them coming from different companies, because they are their own self-contained devices, anyway. And unlike my other Apple equipment, the iPad is kind of a bitch to synchronize. I myself have only done it three times. But then again I feel very little need to, and have been doing okay so far. Most of the contents are produced on the iPad I e-mail to myself or otherwise sent out from the pad, anyway. Or I'm synchronized with Google's mail, calendar, and other programs, including notes. So I can lose or break my iPad tomorrow, and I really wouldn't lose any valuable information. So, galaxy at school nurse? IPad. And also, you get the best of both worlds: android and the IOS. I think that's a sweet combination.
-- IPhone owners? Now this is a little bit tougher. For the same reason that I recommend other smartphone owners to get the iPad, I also recommended for iPhone users. It's just a question of maximizing sets of functionality so they overlap the least and complement each other the most. However, if you want to taste the android, the tab is probably your best bet, but don't think it will be nearly as satisfying a user experience as the iPad, and there's no way you going to replace your iPhone with the galaxy tab.
For those of you in other situations, such as only owning and iPad, or having some strange combinations of phone service versus Wi-Fi only, I think you can extrapolate from the logic and recommendations mentioned here.
And finally, if you're going to go crazy like me, I would say have been an iPhone plus a Wi-Fi only iPad is a great combination that is supplemented by the Samsung tab. That way, you're not essentially pain for three phone services technically, although there are plans in Korea to share data on one plan, so the iPhone and 3G enabled iPad maybe economically feasible. In the end, however having all three with 3G access will probably still cost you per month less than happy and maybe one or two of them in the states. And that's the beauty of doing this in Korea on their cheap data plans and contract rates.
I hope you got a better sense of what these devices can do, especially in relation to each other. I know it's crazy to have all three, but it makes a certain kind of sense, especially since I will have to know the android market anyway, since I plan to be involved in the development of apps for both markets. And I certainly don't want want a galaxy phone, so…...
-- Dictated from my iPad on Dragon Dictation™