• Is The iPad "It"

    After a full day using my new Apple iPad I am very impressed. I really like the device and think its potential is only limited by the imagination of application developers. I picked up the least expensive 16GB model for $499. The device is much snappier than an iPhone or iPod touch. I installed many applications this afternoon and every one of them ran very quick. The back-lit LED touchscreen is fabulous. As a whole the iPad build quality is typical Apple. The iPad will fit right into place next to an equipment rack full of audio components with equally impeccable build quality. From a music enthusiast and audiophile usability perspective the iPad may not be "It" or anything to write home about. Yet.

     


    iPod Touch Apps & iPhone Apps v. iPad Apps

    One of the first items on my iPad to-do list was to install the Remote application. I had grandiose illusions that the Remote app would be a full screen beauty ready to take on a Sooloos touchscreen. To my disappointment the Remote app is still the same old Remote app. I can handle the same functionality at least until Apple has more time to improve the app. But, I can't handle the visual quality. Apps built for the iPhone and iPod Touch only are made to fit the small screen only. These app are not like vector graphics that can be resized without loss of quality. Upon launch of the Remote app, and all non-iPad apps, most of the iPad's screen is black. The app only consumes an iPhone worth of screen real estate. Lucky for us Apple included a 2x button in the lower right corner of the screen for just these applications. As you may have guessed the Remote app certainly doubles in size but the text is very pixelated and disappointing. The album artwork was equally undesirable. I actually prefer running Remote at its native 1x size with clear text and graphic even though the rest of the iPad remains dark.

    In addition to the Remote application I tested many other non-iPad applications. They were all the same. At 1x they looked good. At 2x they were nonstarters. Fortunately the App Store clearly identifies the apps built specifically for the iPad. As I browsed the App Store this afternoon the iPad apps were listed with a tiny plus sign in the upper left corner of the listed price. These apps were also listed in a specific iPad section and each iPad app was clearly identified by the app developer as built for the iPad. As of this evening non of the usual remote suspects used by readers of Computer Audiophile have been give the iPad upgrade.

     


    Windows Remote Desktop Off To Great Start

    Windows users will be happy to hear there are a few really good remote desktop apps for the iPad. The one I am currently using is called WinAdmin, iPad Edition ($8.99). The most important part of a remote control app for me is speed. If the screen doesn't refresh quickly or my screen taps don't actually hit the PC until five seconds after I tapped the touchscreen then the app is out the door. WinAdmin is really quick. Some of this speed may have to do with the iPad's support of 802.11n wireless as well. Launching WinAdmin brings up a user configured list of remote controllable computers. This makes connecting very easy. If the server name or IP address needed to be entered every time the app was launched I would go crazy. Immediately after connecting to a computer the remote desktop consumes the full iPad screen. It really is like running Windows on an iPad. Tapping the start button instantly shoots the start menu upward. I used my recommended playback application J River Media Center v14 for a while without any show-stopping issues. Configuring JRMC for easy navigation via a touchscreen is a smart first step. Shrinking the size of each album cover and maximizing the size of the main JRMC window helps enable quicker navigation. Selecting the up and down arrows to scroll through album covers is not as difficult as it was using remote control apps on an iPhone. But, it can be a bit annoying because the arrow is smaller than one's finger tips. This makes it difficult to have pinpoint precision when selecting small items like scroll bars and arrows. Maybe a tiny Bluetooth® mouse would help people? There are no perfect applications and I am pretty happy with the pros and cons of WinAdmin.

    Another promising remote desktop iPad app for Windows looks to be Jump Desk by Phase Five Systems ($19.99). I haven't downloaded the app yet so I can't give it a recommendation. It appears that other users are happy with its performance and feature set. Hopefully some CA readers will download this app in the next few days and weeks, and provide some feedback for everyone. Knowing me, I will probably run out of patience and download Jump Desk as well as many other iPad apps in the name of "CA research."

     




     



     



     



     

     

    Plenty Enjoyable

    The iPad isn't the audiophile's dream device we all hoped for, but the future looks very promising. One must look beyond the initial "Giant iPod" and "Overrated" discussions by trying out some of the non-audio related applications. Doing this will provide a window into what's possible for us in the coming weeks and months. I've never read comic books in my life but after installing the Marvel Comics (FREE) iPad app I was amazed. The wonderful vivid colors and slick navigation is really something that shouldn't be missed. Apple's own iBook app is really neat and may be a great place for the multimedia Computer Audiophile book. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday each have pretty good apps. A unknown app to me, but surely familiar to many readers, is called Kayak Flight. It's a very nice interface for finding flights and hotels. In fact I used the app to find a flight to San Francisco and hotel for April 21st - 23rd. I'll be speaking at Music Lovers Audio in SF and Berkeley. It would be great to see a strong Computer Audiophile contingent at the events and I would really enjoy meeting many readers from the area. Much more information about the events to come. Anyway, now that I've gone way off topic it's time to wrap up my first but certainly not last iPad article. Good times are ahead for audiophiles and iPads. I assure you :~)

     

     
    Comments 52 Comments
    1. One and a half's Avatar
      One and a half -
      would be to have a portable book containing manuals of technical nature. I'm thinking of roaming techs, for aircraft maintenance, photocopying techs, medical specialists, any electrical person on the job that needs to travel and has the requirment for complex instuctional material to refer to. A notebook is too awkward to use on the job, but the ipad would fit the bill very nicely as it would be the right size and battery life would be the main restriction I could see now.<br />
      Everything is in pdf these days, the iphone had a reader app for pdf, but it wasn't the best to read on a small screen.<br />
      <br />
      Not everywhere has wireless and many industries on sites prohibit these, oil and gas come to mind readily and out in the wilderness...<br />
      The itouch/iphone will do me fine, it's great for remotes on iTunes for audio use. Besides, Sony Walkmans do sound better than ipods.
    1. firedog's Avatar
      firedog -
      Sounds like an interesting device. I was thinking of getting an iPod Touch to use as a remote for my Squeezebox systems, and as PC replacement for surfing and email when traveling (instead of laptop). <br />
      <br />
      However, now I'm thinking about the iPad. It apparently is quite a good competitor to the Kindle, also, which further increases it's value, as it saves putting out money for an additional ebook device. It would also work for the other purposes I mentioned, and the "killer" difference for me with the other Apple devices is that they will be offering 3G access on a monthly basis (no long term contract). <br />
      <br />
      I don't live in the States, but visit. Buying a month of 3G and using VOIP applications for phone calls when travelling in the States might make the money invested in the iPad quite valuable, as it could save me a lot of dough spent on cell phone use.<br />
      <br />
      Comments by anyone?
    1. jonmarsh's Avatar
      jonmarsh -
      Some of the things mentioned above I've already done- I'd been watching the Apps store in the days leading up to the release, and for example, I have "My PDFs" which is an iPAD app supporting supporting PDF storage and viewing; at the moment I'm looking at the owner's manual for the Alpha DAC, but I have many other technical reference on board, available with the glide and tap of a finger. <br />
      <br />
      Like others, I hope Apple will update the remote app. <br />
      <br />
      With Keynote I have an arsenal of my technical presentations (work) on hand, and it imports either desktop iWorks Keynote or PowerPoint with seemingly equal ability (not surprising, the desktop version of Keynote has done that forever). With the VGA dongle, presentations on the road to larger groups are a snap. <br />
      <br />
      One really can't emphasize enough how much faster this feels than an iPhone 3GS or late generation iPod Touch- they've done some new optimizations, obviously, and full screen graphics stuff just flys. Synthetic benchmarks show it running 2-4 times faster than a 3GS, but those don't seem to reflect the screen behavior and responsiveness adequately. Also, while some have run code which shows that Apps have access to just a 256 MB segment of memory and one core, X-Rays analysis at iFixit shows that there are two 256 MB memory chips stacked up in the processor package; it may be that one core and one bank of memory is reserved for the system routines. That might explain the performance better. <br />
      <br />
      I'm looking at this more as a traveling work tool to replace the MBP and save space, while offering better functionality on the go, but with time I bet there will be a lot of remote apps and interesting ways to integrate this into one's audio system. I'm already curious if it would work with a Wadia iPod interface; then it could be used for a good basic CD player directly, if so inclined. There are reasons beyond the obvioius that I'm curious about this, related to digital audio products the semiconductor company I work for has been developing, which accept SPDIF and USB inputs. Possibly for a portable demo system. <br />
      <br />
      By the way, the touch screen performance is really awesome, I was skeptical about the idea of some of the drawing and art products, but the feel and resolution are first rate. Makes it very easy to do editing, resizing graphics, working on page layout. <br />
      <br />
      Lots of potential, but very polished for a 1.0 product. Feels more like a 2.0 or 3.0- but then it should, based on iPhone OS. <br />
    1. Mister Wednesday's Avatar
      Mister Wednesday -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for your initial insights into the iPad. Very much appreciated. I was just wondering if the iPad can be used in the Mac "Share Screen" mode to control another Mac computer?<br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
      <br />
      Mister Wednesday
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      and can be used on a MAC for remote desktop work. Once I get my iPad it's the first or second (Apple Remote app will be first but will have no better functionality than my current iPod Touch....yet ) app I'll download. I wanna be able to run terminal commands (renice, etc), download player updates and launch PM or Amarra from it. My server is a Macbook SSD and I'll just use the VNC app to control the screen from my listening chair....rather than having the front-rack'd laptop open all the way and straddling my amps while I try to launch players and run downloads, etc on it.
    1. Phil Townsend's Avatar
      Phil Townsend -
      I'm listening as write...<br />
      Kinston Trio circa 1958...Recorded via Capitol/ Mastered by Pete Abott (U47 mikes) Yum yum.<br />
      The pad is driving The Millett Hybrid Tube/SS battery powered amp. AKG 701<br />
      Ill switch in my 26 tube amp in here soon. (best Triode ever built)(hums like a banshee if poorly treated)<br />
      <br />
      I first noticed the bajo sounded wrong... lost its banjoness. But the voices are stunning. Bass is tight and clean. 12 strings are thin and watered down. Banjos are good if they stay in the background but put them upfront and they go south. <br />
      This recording is very good on Pure Music with a very convincing presentation presentation. The sound stage is simply enormous as is the playback via the iPad. But I think that speaks for Mr. Abotts skill at the controls. I think he also recorded Frank Sinatra as well. (yes, u47 's)<br />
      The pad is nice for pleasant listen... Do not ask it to deliver all things it will not but I have had the cans on for nearly 2 hours and I still like it. When all is said and done Steve Jobs has done it again. Good boy Steve...Whats Next?
    1. PorkChop's Avatar
      PorkChop -
      In my opinion, iPads and their future imitators will not succeed as e-book readers until color e-ink technology becomes better and less expensive. All backlit displays cause eye strain after a while. Reading emails and articles is one thing...curling up with a good novel is another.
    1. jonmarsh's Avatar
      jonmarsh -
      I curled up with my iPad reading an older Jack Reacher novel (Echo Burning) that I'd never gotten around to before, (not easy to find in stores), I spent about three hours reading last night, no eye strain or even hints of it. <br />
      <br />
      Now, granted, my eyes are pretty close to 60 years old, so they have lots of practice, so they may be stronger than yours, and my vision is good enough I don't need glasses still, so maybe I'm some kind of special exception. ;^)<br />
      <br />
      OTOH, if you haven't actually held an iPad in your hand and looked at the display and used it for a while, it might be a little premature to pass judgement. (it's an IPS LCD display, In Plane Switching, the highest grade used for professional LCD monitors, not the HP and Dell crap you buy at Best Buy or Buy More, which is some variation of TN LCD with pretty mediocre off axis performance). <br />
      <br />
      YMMV, but IME, it works very nicely as a reader, and a couple of friends, similar age, now having seen it, are strongly considering purchases. <br />
      <br />
      Of course, what clinched the deal for me wasn't E-reader capabilities (though that's nice during travel), but Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, and being able to to presentations via an external VGA dongle to XGA projectors. Business travel is going to be my biggest use of this, I'm sure. <br />
      <br />
      And the web experience is among the best- particularly the ease with which you can resize the size of sites that use too small fonts in some locations, like Computer Audiophile! ;^)
    1. cfmsp's Avatar
      cfmsp -
      <br />
      <br />
      Ted, Chris, et al,<br />
      <br />
      Anyone who can comment on the iTeleport (aka Jaadu) VNC app? It's $25! wow!<br />
      <br />
      apparently, it's $25 just for the iPhone as well.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      I just picked up an iPad this evening - took all of 30 seconds at the Apple Store in Soho. As a NYer, I do NOT stand in line for anything! <br />
      <br />
      Very pleasantly surprised overall with the iPad. <br />
      <br />
      Viewing photos and movies are great.<br />
      <br />
      Wish I hadn't bought the fancy Sony LCD photo display last year! <br />
      <br />
      My Macbook Air has to go back to Apple for repair (bad audio board), I just might be able to get by with an iPad at work for a couple of days. Time will tell.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      clay<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Clay - Great to read you picked up an iPad. I looked at iTeleport / Jaadu last night but held off on the purchase for some reason. I know it's a favorite app around here though. <br />
      <br />
      By the way, my Air has had the board replaced for bad audio as well. The audio is out once again but I haven't had the time to bring it back in for another replacement.
    1. Lars's Avatar
      Lars -
      iTeleport app works very well here controlling my MacBook Pro. I was hoping that there would be an iPad version of Remote. Some network issues with the iPad-ordered an Airport Extreme Station. <br />
      <br />
      I'm not as impressed with this device as other seem to be, but iPad apps can be impressive.<br />
      <br />
      Steve
    1. mr macgee's Avatar
      mr macgee -
      Check out engadget.com they are posting quite a bit of different articles about usage, the OS and apps that are working and some not working. Some of the articles are pretty interesting, some not. <br />
      <br />
      There loads of other sites giving there angle on it as well.<br />
      <br />
      http://www.engadget.com/#latest keep scrolling down to find articles.<br />
      <br />
      Has anyone used skype on it yet? And can you use a USB dac with it?
    1. Wavelength's Avatar
      Wavelength -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      I pre-ordered the 64GB unit and it arrived early sat morning. I would have to agree it is a lot zippier. While I don't think this to be the ultimate audio device a number of my apps took on a whole new persona. I have nLog which is a synthesizer and man did it become a whole new app. I can't wait for the update they are doing for the iPad.<br />
      <br />
      The damn thing is going to pretty much delete the need for my MacBook Air.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks<br />
      Gordon
    1. jrobbins50's Avatar
      jrobbins50 -
      Chris, I take it that WinAdmin is essentially the same as Logmein Ignition, which I had for my iPod Touch and Logmein gave a free upgrade for the iPad version, which is quick and slick. I'd like to try WinAdmin, but I've never configured a home system for secure remote access, other than through Logmein. Can you provide a guidepost of how to actually set it up to work? Logmein has an annual fee and I suspect that WinAdmin does not to do the same thing.<br />
      <br />
      As to 1X size apps being double-sized on the iPad, I think that Rivermote isn't bad. I can set the iPad on its stand in portrait mode on the coffee table in front of my listening position and have a nice view of the app from that distance. The big buttons are certainly easier to hit correctly than on the iPod Touch.<br />
      <br />
      But, I agree that the apps designed for the larger screen are beautiful... JCR
    1. cfmsp's Avatar
      cfmsp -
      <br />
      <br />
      Gordon, <br />
      <br />
      I'd love for the iPad to eliminate the need for my Macbook Air, but two things prevent it thus far - the iPad doesn't yet support Excel/Word/Powerpoint (although there are rumours), neither will it connect to your own Proton for traveling audio. <br />
      <br />
      Other than that though, I'm with you.<br />
      <br />
      BTW, what VNC program are you using?<br />
      <br />
      thanks<br />
      clay<br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. Encore's Avatar
      Encore -
      Like Mister Wednesday, I immediately asked myself whether it might be possible to control another Mac computer and thought: Hey, if it can control a PC, it must be able to control another Mac... I mean, this could circumvent the serious limitations of the browser (no flash!!!) and the missing multitasking option. I like to surf when I'm not listening seriously, and I would really love to have the iPad as do-it-all device for the listening chair. Which essentially means browser and remote control for the music. I hope that my assumption is right, and that the iPad really is able to control another Mac. Can anybody verify?
    1. cfmsp's Avatar
      cfmsp -
      <br />
      Yes, there is iPad software that can control a Mac. There are apps for doing so - I'm looking at the iTeleport, but since it costs $25 I was hoping to hear from others what they are using - thus my questions about VNC apps.<br />
      <br />
      clay<br />
    1. Mister Wednesday's Avatar
      Mister Wednesday -
      Encore and cfmsp,<br />
      <br />
      I was thinking specifically about the internal Mac OS X Share Screen capability of controlling any other Mac computer that obviates the need for any third party software. <br />
      <br />
      I was hoping to find out if the iPad comes standard with this kind of Share Screen internal capability that allows me to use my MacBook Air to remotely control my MacBook Pro-based music system.<br />
      <br />
      Regards,<br />
      <br />
      Mister Wednesday
    1. cfmsp's Avatar
      cfmsp -
      <br />
      <br />
      Not that I've seen. I think of the iPad OS as more of a platform than anything else. There's not much provided by Apple other than very basic functions.<br />
      <br />
      Apple's Remote function would be the closest thing there is to a full-on VNC program.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      clay<br />
      <br />
    1. Matias's Avatar
      Matias -
      Why don't you review the HiFace transport? That would be far more interesting. I think it is a revolutionary little device that deserves your full atention.