After a surprisingly positive experience at the Apple store (I picked up my reserved iPad at noon on Launch Day and was able to walk in and get helped immediately), I'm now 24+ hours into my iPad experience. My initial impressions have been incredibly positive.
WHAT I LIKE
It's really fast. (MUCH faster than my 3G iPhone). Everything just snaps.
Typing on the on-screen keyboard is much more effective than I would have anticipated. Typing with one hand while holding the iPad in the other proved quite accurate, and if you can rest the iPad in your lap and type with two hands, it has a very natural feel.
The battery has outlasted me. I'm still running off the "out of the box" charge.
There are a LOT of great "First Generation" iPad specific apps
The screen looks AMAZING
For the last year, I had been considering picking up a Netbook to perform "light duty" computing around the house. A computer I could leave on the coffee table, and grab for a quick e-mail check, look something up on the internet, or even an emergency SSH session (connect to a remote server for maintenance). As soon as the iPad was announced, I have been scouring the internet for scrapings of information as to the the type of apps that would initially be available in order to figure out which way to go -- iPad or Netbook.
I'm so glad I went with the iPad!
In addition the benefits of my initial impressions above, the best thing about the iPad might be that it's NOT a netbook. I spend all day on a computer at work, connecting to other computers, writing code, configuring software, tweaking settings so everything runs just right. At the end of the day, it's refreshing to now be able to pick up the iPad and have a completely different user experience. It's also great knowing that there are currently thousands of developers out there right now who are desperate to make a great application specific to me and my iPad.
As with any operating system, the real test is in the software. As much as everyone gushed over the great improvements of Windows 7, without the software, it essentially just comes with a built-in browser. Same case goes for the iPad. Out of the box, it's pretty fun to play around with iPhoto, Videos, YouTube, Mail and Safari, but the real customization comes through installing applications through the Apple App Store. The iPad version of the App Store is even better than before. With the extra screen real-estate, it more closely resembles the experience in iTunes than it does of the version for iPhone. Initial gripes from the iPad announcement were that it was essentially a bigger iPod Touch -- this is a gross over-simplification. The initial wave of applications have ushered in some very creative solutions and push the iPad closer to a full laptop replacement device.
Currently, I plan to use the iPad for the following tasks:
Checking and replying to mail
Streaming video via Netflix on demand, ABC Video, and even my EyeTV broadcast tv recordings
I'm currently on the hunt for a good application for SSH and Instant Messaging (iChat/AOL, Google Talk, Yahoo and MSN) so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. As it is, the iPad has already fulfilled all my requirements I had for the Netbook, and it offers a much better experience based on its speed and user interface (I was always discouraged by some of the more "creative" keyboard layouts found on some Netbooks).
One limitation of the iPad is the lack of ports -- it only has a headphone jack and the docking port. However, there are already accessories available which provide a camera card reader, VGA output and even a keyboard dock. While the lack of ports is a valid complaint, I think I like flexibility the "dock" port provides to third party developers. When I checked out from the Apple Store yesterday, they were using an iPhone with a credit-card reader attachment. There's no reason not to believe there won't be an explosion of devices which add even more versatility to the iPad.
THINGS I'D LIKE TO SEE ADDRESSED If I could make any suggestions for change, I'd love to see the following in a future hardware or software revision.
Allow for "multiple logins" so the Mail Accounts, contacts, calendar, apps and bookmarks are specific to each user. Since I see this device sitting on the coffee table, it would be nice if both my wife and I had our own set of preferences (however, I'm guessing Steve Jobs would just prefer we buy TWO iPads)
Add an IR receiver so it could work with the Apple Remote. In addition to switching music tracks, it would be great to be able to change Keynote slides using a smaller Apple Remote
Oh yeah... and a camera... I guess... but only because everyone else is asking for one, too.
Not all is perfect. The ABC App crashes on my constantly, and (very) few webpages have had some issues with forms. I'd also like a way to upload photos through a web interface without having to rely on a "proper iPad app".
Overall, I'm still incredibly giddy about my new iPad. At this point, I'm sure all the naysayers have labelled me as an "Apple Fanboy", and at this point, that's not too far from the truth. But everyone who has laid hands on this latest gadget from Apple have been impressed by every aspect of it. While I'm not ready to give up my laptop just yet, anyone who is considering buying a Netbook to complement their current computer would be well served to put their hands on an iPad. Apple puts a ton of thought into both their hardware and software designs, and it is immediately apparent on the iPad.
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About the reviewer
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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The iPad is a tablet computing device product from Apple Inc. The device was announced on January 27, 2010, at a press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The device was rumored for several months, with iSlate and iTablet among rumored names. The device is expected to incorporate a 10-inch (26 centimeter) multi-touch display made by Innolux, a subsidiary of Foxconn. The price is expected to be more than the iPhone but less than an Apple notebook computer.
The iPad's lowest grade model with a 16GB hard drive will run for $499 dollars with the 32 GB running for $599 and the 64GB running at $699. Buyers will also have the opportunity to purchase the iPad with 3G connectivity with the lowest grade model starting at $629 and going up. The Wi-Fi models will ship in late March while the 3G models will ship in April.
Yair Reiner claims the iSlate will compete in the market against dedicated e-book devices such as the Barnes & Noble nook and the Amazon Kindle while offering 70% of revenue to publishers, the same arrangement accorded developers of the App Store. These arrangements would also extend to print publishers who currently receive less in digital work royalties from companies like Amazon.com.