We’re jumping on the iPad bandwagon at DealerRefresh. Why? Well….why the hell not? Why does a dog….anyway. We’re on it, so now we’re going to have an article on it. So there!
Jeff and I are still waiting on our 3G iPads to show up, but I’m too much of a geek to wait. I picked up a WiFi one to tie me over.
Now that the early adopters have had theirs for a few days I’m reading a few things that are “de-ethered”. The first one is from one of our friends at HomeNet: Arnold Tijerina’s iPad review. Brian Pasch’s iPad video explains his opinion on how the right apps will make sales more personal with the iPad. And Joe Pistell is asking if the iPad is a gamechanger on the DealerRefresh forums.
Here’s my take:
The iPad now ranks amongst those products that I lived perfectly well without, but once it was invented I can’t live without it. Some of the other things in that category are power windows, smart keys, online banking, and the Gillette Mach 5 razor (okay, I’m stretching a little). But I can certainly say the iPad is better than I thought it would be!
Reading: It excels in reading applications. iBooks, Newspapers, and just about any app that was designed to be read is incredible. Sorry Kindle, I think you’ve just been assassinated.
Apps in General: apps are the future. I’m absolutely convinced of that now. They’re one thing on the iPhone and Droid, but they’re a whole ‘nother thing on the iPad. It isn’t just the screen real estate; it is the new enginuity that is being applied to a fresh device. I foresee things being developed for the iPad that will, later, find their way to the iPhone. There are some clever new twists to some great old apps.
Interaction: I’m going to bunch email and Internet browsing here because they’re the same old tools, but refreshed in a new way. That new way is simply “touch”. I didn’t realize it till I was on my third day of iPad ownership, but touching websites and emails is a very surreal experience (you’re right, I haven’t had a pysch eval in a while). It gives me the feeling that I’m more in touch with the emails I write and the websites I visit. I am assuming this feeling comes from adding another sense to something that has mostly only applied one human sense: sight. Now the web and emails POP from using touch and sight. I can’t really say much more about that – you’ll just have to try it for yourself.
How I’ve been using the iPad: In the morning I read the USA Today, Associated Press, and New York Times. Hop into Twitterriffic for the iPad and then get to my moderating job on www.S2Ki.com. Before getting into work stuff, I finish up by checking out the latest stuff on the DealerRefresh forums. Until I come home, the iPad serves mostly as a web browser and email client with occasional instant messenger use. After work, and whatever else was happening that evening, it comes back out to serve as a book.
Battery life: out of the box, it took me 2 days to get the battery down to 47% and you can imagine how much usage it got those first two days. On regular days (of course everyone and their brother has to give the iPad a try in the office) I have about 60% life left by the time I put it down to get some sleep. Even though I have not scientifically tested it, I think it has the advertised battery life in a real world scenario. Thank you for not BSing us here Apple.
WiFi vs. 3G: there have been quite a few times I have been wanting to use the iPad when a WiFi connection was not around. Many of the apps require an Internet connection, so I’ve got to say 3G is the way to go. I thought that I would be able to grab everything I wanted when I was within a WiFi spot, but I thought wrong.
Bad stuff: no Flash is a little bit of a pain. It isn’t the end of the world, but there are quite a few Flash elements still in the wild. Some apps are very buggy. The Wall Street Journal has been an absolute pain – it no longer exists on my iPad. I have had some connection issues. The connection issue that occasionally comes up is the only thing that I feel is truly a problem with the device. It is sporadic, but when it happens it is annoying. I have faith that Apple will get it sorted out soon.
What about using it at work? It wouldn’t be kosher to write a DealerRefresh article without relating it to the car business, so here we go.
Does your IT Department bottle-neck your dealership’s bandwidth with a whole bunch of job-justifying security crap? Is your CRM company getting tired of having to troubleshoot your IT department? Do you want to get your dealership into social media, but your boss won’t let you? There’s an iPad for that. Yeah, I know, that was cheesy. There’s also an iPhone and iPod Touch for that too. And now that there are 3 devices and the Apple App store is cranking hard, I see some of our vendors creating apps.
I can also see some very proactive dealers cutting hardware costs by using iPads or iPod Touches instead of clunky computers or ThinClients with huge servers. In many cases, most of the sales staff already owns one of these devices, so there could be only bandwidth costs to the dealers if they allow employees to use their own device (no worries about an employee breaking or losing it either).
At the end of the day, these Apple, Google, or Blackberry mobile devices are only as good as the apps that are written for them. So, Automotive Technology Vendors – untie our cords and make us some apps!