Well it’s been about 24hrs since I received the new Apple iPad so I thought I’d let my daughter have a turn with it while I sit down and write some notes regarding my experience so far. Let me first say when I get a new “tech toy” (as my wife would describe them) I can usually tell how much I like it by how late I stay up playing with it……..well it was after 4am this morning when my head hit the pillow so I would say this little puppy passed the first test of keeping my attention. The first thing you may be asking yourself is “what would I use it for?”, well once you hold it in your hands for about 5 minutes you start realizing you would use it primarily access and consume information and media. The color display is gorgeous and offers 1,024 x 768 720p HD viewing.
This is a great size for everything from surfing the web, watching movies, viewing photos, reading books etc etc. Beyond that the device is small enough that it tends to feel more personal after using it for awhile. What I mean is that I found myself using it a bit closer to me than my laptop and you can be sitting on the couch or even lying in bed while reading a book, surfing the web or just getting that last Facebook status updated before lights out.
It’s not perfect, I still wish it had flash support as many of the sites you visit online that use Adobe Flash do not display correctly but I do think this will be addressed pretty quickly, either by the death of flash, a third party app that converts flash, or Apple allowing it to run. With an estimated 4 to 10 million (depending on who you listen to) of these selling this year the demand will be too great and that problem will get solved (keep in mind flash is used in many types of online ads which means advertisers will demand that their ads will be seen on this device). I also wish it had a front-facing video camera for video chat etc. This too I believe will be in iPad 2.0 (or whatever they call it) later this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple pulled the camera (the technology already exists in the iPhone) as a result of negotiations with AT&T over the 3G wireless plan to be offered with this device. AT&T has already experienced network overloads due to the iPhone and they probably felt video chat on the iPad would bring their network to it’s knees so Apple may have given them a little time to get their network upgraded before offering video on the iPad and in exchange AT&T said they would allow unlimited 3G data on the iPad for $29.95/month without a contract… (just a hunch on my part).
Unless you have some other sort of wireless broadband device (like the Verizon MiFietc) or you just plan on using this at home on a wi-fi network I would definitely recommend waiting for the 3G version out later this month. That will give you the mobility (very important for real estate agents) to obtain data connections in the field (granted AT&T is not available or even acceptable in many areas) for a great price with no contracts .
I also wish the iPad had a USB port for external connection to any number of USB devices. There is an adapter that will be out soon for the iPad that will allow this and give the ability to insert SD cards to upload photos etc. I am hoping their will be an app out soon that will make file transfer easier between the iPad and SD/USB/PCs, right now the easiest way (outside of iTunes) seems to be emailing an attachment.
Ok enough on the negatives (which there are very few) I really do enjoy using this device. I truly believe that if some great apps are made for real estate agents and they can access their MLS along with other great information sources online this will become a very valuable tool in this industry. I can absolutely see this as the mobile information and media device that an agent uses throughout the day for catching up on email, checking in on their social networks, blogging, grabbing some quick info from the MLS while out in the field , meeting with sellers and giving an impressive listing presentation and even writing up contracts……..if and I said if, those applications are created to take advantage of this new device. At this point just using this device for listing presentations and throughout the day for Internet access justifies it’s usefulness to me. Then throw in the access to tools like the Realtor.com app(even it’s current iPhone version is very useable on the iPad) and online access to tons of data from county records to gis data to everything the web has to offer (as long as it’s not flash:-) and this device appears to have a bright future in the real estate business.
Here’s a shot of a home I pulled up on the Realtor.com app (if you have an iPhone or and iPad you need to get this app) and then when you rotate the iPad (just like the iPhone) the photo gets large in the landscape mode and it was pretty impressive. I can see meeting a prospective buyer at an open house and then pulling up more homes for them to look at right there on the spot (or better yet let them do it they will get a kick out of playing with this). With some of the latest research showing home sellers actually rank “agents use of technology” higher than “commission rate” as far as what’s most important when selecting an agent, this device may be the perfect way to show your customers you utilize technology in your business.
I will be posting another review soon regarding some tips and tricks I’ve learned and also talk about all the apps that I have downloaded and give you some ideas as to which ones I have found most useful and entertaining. Also keep an eye out for a FREE iPad Listing Presentation that I am putting the finishing touches on tonight. I will post a download link for all you new iPad Real Estate Pros tomorrow so check back (you will need to download and install “keynote for the iPad” ($9.99) from the app store but I think you will find it a very powerful program for this device. More later and oh here’s a video review I posted to youtube early this am. Take care…Max