Please welcome Federico Viticci the editor-in-chief of MacStories.net, where he always has great scoops on Apple and their products. Federico was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule and geek out about iPads with me.
Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live?
Hi, my name is Federico Viticci and I am the editor-in-chief of MacStories. I live in Italy and more specifically in Viterbo, a small town 80 kilometers away from Rome. Life is pretty good around here, although I wish I’ll be able to move to the States someday, both for work purposes and personal reasons.
What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?
I remember the months ahead of the iPad announcement. People were skeptical about the “Apple tablet”, they didn’t know how such a device would run OS X (yeah, some people actually thought Apple would come up with a new portable Mac) and, above all, they didn’t see why users would need another thing to fit in their workspaces. Personally, I wasn’t skeptical at all. I knew I needed a new device, possibly touch-based, to put between the MacBook and a smartphone, and Apple delivered just that.
Being based in Italy, I had to buy an iPad from the US on day one. Our editor Cody Fink drove to the nearest Apple Store to get one, shipped it inside a UPS box and, thanks to the super-expensive & super-fast Express shipment, I received it in 60 hours. When I first opened the box, first reaction was “Wow, this screen is large”. Second reaction was “Well, this is heavier than I thought”. I’ve been using the iPad since April 6th and I love it. I know we’re just getting started with the tablet market and better iPads will come in the next years, but the iPad 1 has definitely changed the way I work, read, play games and consume media.
I also remember being one of the few folks in my town with an iPad didn’t help getting people away from the screen.
Which model did you order and why?
I got a 16 GB WiFi-only model because a) WiFi model was the only choice available in April and b) I didn’t think I would need much storage on a tablet. Now I can say my next iPad is definitely going to be a 32 GB model with 3G connectivity. For as much as MyWi and, most recently, Apple’s Personal Hotspot have helped me using the iPad on the go, I want to be able to connect to the Internet using 3G with no additional devices or apps required.
How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?
Mostly for reading, writing and playing games. Well, actually my friends grab my iPad to play games, but still. The iPad is perfect to read long articles saved from the web: with the combination of Instapaper and Read It Later, I take the device off its stand to read and focus on what I’m reading (I can’t do that on a desktop browser) at any time. The iPad’s large screen is equally impressive to write down articles and quick ideas for MacStories: notes go into Simplenote, articles are written into Writings, a Dropbox-based text editor I started using a few months ago.
Overall, though, I believe it’s not about “how I use my iPad” — it’s about how I can’t use it. This thing can do almost anything besides Flash, movie and photo editing and other desktop-related tasks that require professional software. Which, as you can guess, it’s not really a problem for me. So every time I found myself using the iPad instead of my MacBook or the iPhone, I’m surprised of how this device is changing the way I work every day.
Can you give me a quick run down of the apps that you use the most?
I have too many apps installed on my iPad, but these are the ones I come back to on a daily basis:
Screens: Awesome VNC client I use to connect to my MacBook Pro and iMac;
Twitter for iPad: Many people and well-known bloggers hate it, I love it. It’s got its issues and bugs, but I believe the Twitter team will get them fixed soon. I use Twitter because it’s fast, intuitive and lets me see lots of information at once.
OmniFocus: See reply below. It’s the app for iPad.
Writings: The text editor I use to write articles for MacStories and sync them through Dropbox. With Notational Velocity running on my MacBook Pro, I can also sync these articles to Simplenote.
iFiles: A great app to get files out of the iPad (with a built-in WebDAV server) and into it via supported internet services. I use iFiles every day to share iPad screenshots with my Mac or upload them to Rackspace.
iCab: An alternative to Safari that’s actually great and good-looking. It’s got tabs, it’s fast and never crashes. I love it.
Reeder: I have tried several RSS readers on the iPad since April, but Reeder is where I sticked. I use Silvio Rizzi’s app on the iPad, iPhone and Mac. I guess I’m just too much of a Reeder fan.
Colloquy: IRC client to communicate with my team. The UI is minimal and it makes IRC easy.
1Password: Seriously, there’s no better way to manage passwords and logins. 1Password is must-have both on OS X and iOS.
Which app is your favorite?
OmniFocus. Ever since it came out it dramatically improved the quality of my GTD workflow by offering cloud sync, a great UI (way better than the Mac version) and an impressive feature set. Of all the apps on my homescreen and the ones I’ve tried, OmniFocus might be the single reason to get an iPad if I didn’t have one already.
Do you have any bag/stand/case recommendations for people?
Sure. I only use a case and a bag for my iPad: a Griffin Elan Passport case (ecru leather model) and a Tom Bihn Ristretto bag. The Ristretto is a great, high-quality bag that can easily fit cables, iPad camera connection kit dongles and iPad (inside the case) + ZAGGmate Bluetooth keyboard with ease. I also know some people who use the Ristretto to carry the iPad + MacBook Air 11-inch without any problems.
What features do you want to see in a future iPad?
I can tell you the features I can imagine, because you can’t really know what Steve Jobs will come up with. Anyway, I would like a front-facing camera for FaceTime and Skype, a thinner and lighter design, a higher resolution screen (even though it looks like we won’t get it just yet with the iPad 2) and the obvious faster processor / more RAM / more storage. I also think touch-sensitive bezels would help in allowing developers to enable multi-touch gestures without overriding Apple’s ones (that aren’t coming with iOS 4.3). Oh, and a software developed by Apple to integrate the desktop with the iPad. Like a full-featured VNC client + lightweight Finder + cloud-based file management. I think a future iPad with more powerful specs will be able to handle this kind of desktop -> iOS portability.
Last question: You seem to tweet all day while I am awake, yet I am in Seattle and you are in Italy — do you set your schedule based on U.S. times, or just stay awake all day long?
That’s a good question. Yes, even if I live in Italy I have adjusted my life to the U.S. time zone. It’s better for work, but it lead to some “issues” with my friends and family at first. They have come understand my needs and times though, so it’s not really a problem now. The amount of caffeine I have every day doesn’t help sleep either, so that’s why it looks like I’m always online and available.
Thanks again to Federico for taking the time to give us a peek at his iPad life. You can follow him on Twitter he is @viticci.
More iPad Life
To see more people’s iPad Lives take a look here.