As much as I expected Easter-inspired marshmallow Peeps commentary (or reviews of the new "Doctor Who") to dominate my Twitter feed this past weekend, the release of Apple's new "magical and revolutionary" iPad definitely seemed to fill the most overall entries. I follow a lot of comic book folks, mind you, so their tech leanings - especially concerning a device expected to impact their industry of choice - definitely angled overall trending topics in the iPad's favor. So what's the first weekend verdict? So far it's a mostly positive set of discoveries coupled with reasonable critiques.
Jim Lee took his iPad's Sketchbook app for a spin and created a Catwoman and Joker via digital fingerpainting, proving that even a limited device can churn out impressive art in the right hands. App crashes lead to some frustration on his part, however.
"incredible Hulk" writer Greg Pak had an extensive and pretty realistic set of comments. He seemed to dig its overall functionality in terms of media consumption and work tasks, but pointed out the hindrance in being limited to using only one app at a time:
How about that. The iPad comic page is exactly the same size as a Marvel digest comic book page. Maybe 1 mm difference. Wow... This is cool - the Marvel app has a "Buy in Print" button on the menu of individ. comics that gives your local comic shop... Realizing that manga would/will work tremendously well on the iPad. The dimensions are perfect - no shrinking of lettering. Not great as an input device for a pro writer. But I'm reserving judgment until I try out the keyboard doc.
Brian Bendis really likes his iPad. Like, a lot:
First iPad tweet ! And I am not kissing ass but the marvel app on this is amazing!! New avengers 1 for free... Sunday and my iboner has not subsided. the battery on this thing is a dream come true.
R Stevens chronicled his favorite iPad features most of the weekend (including Web browsing features), even waking up with his new love for the first time yesterday morning. That's love.
Metal hole in my sad little heart: temporarily filled. I think I shall name him either Grizz or Dot Com... If the iPad is "just a big iPhone," then I'm just a smart monkey... C64 Paint for iPad/phone is very recommendably fun! Tonight may be a doodle night.
Brian Reed shared his thoughts on the word processing pros and cons of the iPad's Pages app, which he found "mostly pleasurable," despite a few suggestions for improvement:
The page turn of iBooks is a testament to Apple's design know-how. The number of details worked into that simple act are mind blowing. iPad New York Times Editor's Choice app is pretty great. Tweetdeck iPad needs some work. It's my favorite on phone & desktop, but this version is missing basic features... Pages iPad is about 80% what I want. I suspect working w/a Bluetooth keyboard would help. Mostly, I want a toolbar when in landscape mode.
Ed Brubaker had a pretty conservative view of the iPad as a comics reader. He seemed to enjoy the experience, but noted that the experience wasn't as good as print in his opinion:
iPad seems cool so far. Surprised how good the comics apps all look on it, how good the pages read that size. Still, not as good as print. Fairly impressed with both iBooks n Kindle apps. Don't imagine I'll use them much. But they're nice. Bought my wife a magazine subscription already which is very cool.
Responding to a question about the DRM restrictions on sharing the digital comics you buy, Brubaker responded: "If people can just buy n copy to "share" with friends that's not much better than pirating."
Skottie Young shared his enthusiasm for the iPad's device as a comic book reader and distributor while pointing out the device's strengths communicating content exactly the way digital artists create it:
Comics on the iPad are amazing! Artists, imagine your colors looking EXACTLY how you created them and intended them. Beautiful. Once we start slightly adjusting font size, and widen the format by a 1/2 inch, iPad comics will be perfect without hurting print versions... Box 13 on Comixology has the size and fonts perfect. I have chills right now. I just fell in love with comics all over again.
It's important to take the early iPad praise with a grain (or two) of salt. Nobody wants to shell out $500 to feel underwhelmed and look like they've got metaphorical egg on their face. The most meaningful commentary is yet to come. But just like going to a friend's birthday party in elementary school, there's a little bit of joy (and jealously...and sometimes even resentment) that comes with watching early adopters tear open a new toy. Thankfully the comics set seems to be balanced in their collective assessment of the shiny new gizmo thus far.