Like many of us, I have an iPad Air2 and an iPad Mini in storage. My current iPad is the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, with the keyboard and I find that in many situations I can do most of what I do on my MacBook with it, especially while traveling or sipping an espresso at a cafe. But, really, one iPad was enough, and the older ones became hand me downs or simply sat in the storage drawer. Well, not anymore.
Over the past few weeks, thanks to pal Craig Walker, founder of Dialpad and creator of GoogleVoice (GrandCentral), I was able to put the new DialPad app through its paces on the iPad while the new version of the app was going through TestFlight beta trials. While I've used Counterpath's Bria and Skype on the iPad before as a way to make and take calls, I never really felt I was having a real "phone" experience. There was always something clunky about the way the call was being handled. Instead I would find myself reaching for the nearest smartphone, as they always seemed to ring first, even with SIM ring functions turned on, with GoogleVoice ringing every inbound number. Finally, I can stop that behavior.
The Dialpad iPad app is very different and may be the best softphone ever created bar none. First off, it rings at the same time as the SIM ring to my mobile phones. Second the audio quality is second to none. On a thirty five minute call with the CEO of a client yesterday not one pop, or drop or anything that one wouldn't have experienced on a cell phone call. Third is the ease of use and very clean, easy to use interface. It's natural and effortless, much like Skype was in its pre-Microsoft days. The consistency between the desktop, smartphone and iPad in look and feel makes it that way. If you are using the desktop app or plug-in, you'll have no learning curve as the UI (user interface) is identical. About the only drawback is the non-ringing when you have the app in the foreground, which is likely an Apple iOS notification issue. In many ways Dialpad's app on the iPad reminded me of the first experience I had with Gizmo, the company acquired by Google that was perhaps along with Truphone, the only real rivals to Skype. The Gizmo app always had this very natural, phone like feel to it, and also had the sound quality that was natural too.
The fact that I was calling from a tablet reminded me why the old Samsung Galaxy Tab 1.0 with both calling and data was such a great device, just not a great form factor. On the call, I used my wired headset that I use on my iPhone. The call sound was full, rich, robust. There wasn't any hiss or popping. On the other end, not once did my client, ever ask me to repeat what I had said, and he was on a mobile phone in a noisy environment. The large buttons made it easy to hit the mute button, and because of the adjacent "Recent Calls" tab, I was also able to text people who were calling me to let them know I was on a call.
Candidly, not having mobile phone service in the iPad prior to LTE was always one of the drawbacks, and I always felt Apple should have made the iPad a phone also, with the codecs and chips that would let it really be one. Well, Dialpad has made it just that good.
About the only thing lacking is video. Dialpad is experimenting with that on their Mac and PC desktop service so my guess is that, and Apple TV integration are not far behind.
If you're using Dialpad on your iPhone, you'll love it on your iPad, and if you're like me, you'll finally be finding use for those older iPad's that are sitting in the drawer somewhere.....