When we first unboxed and powered up our new iPad, it is hard to overstate how much fun it is. This is really a piece of computing consumer genius, I just can not see another device in recent history that comes close to the iPad's technology including the iPhone.
When you pick up the 1.5lb piece of glass and brushed aluminum casing, the weight and durability of it feels great in the hand. It looks smaller than expected but the 9.7 inch screen is plenty big enough to watch movies, surf the web and play games. After using and being pleased with the iPhone, this screen space is simply amazing to swipe and pinch with the finger tips.
The LED backlit IPS touchscreen display features 1024 × 768 pixel resolution. At the bottom of the device is the all too familiar "iPhoneish" home button, which takes you back to the iPad's main screen.
There is a headphone jack, a microphone, a volume control, an on / off switch and a new feature- a screen rotation lock. This disables the accelerometer so that the screen does not shift orientation when you do not want it to. I sure hope the new iPhone has this simple yet much needed feature. There are also built in speakers and the normal 30 pin connector. Oh and of course ……. Apple's favorite …. No removable battery.
The instruction card that comes in the iPad box only has about a dozen sentences on it. There is a user guide online but I did not have to use it. The iPad runs on the iPhone OS 3.2- basically a tweaked version of the iPhone system.
When you link up the iPad with your computer with the 30 pin connector, sync up iTunes and off you go. The pages load smoothly and quickly and the color is superb and vibrant. The user interface falls away and you tap, swipe, and pinch your way through the apps.
There is browsing of course, but the apps are the king to this device.
The one application you should download as soon as you power it up is the iBook app from the iPad app store.
A lot of people will be buying the iPad to read books on it, to replace the outdated Kindle. I believe this was Apple's main focus with this device as is feels more like a book than a typical computer.
The download experience could not be simpler and the processing behind the simple swipe to turn the page is very impressive. Prices are generally higher than Amazon's but 9.99 is not too high for the quality you get in return.
Most people will want to buy a stand of some sort for reading, but holding the iPad is not all that bad. Certainly people using it to watch movies will want a way of propping it up. Im sure you will be sure to see this in the iPad accessory store.
As for tired eyes from the screen, I found no trouble with it and the brightness can always be adjusted. Using the iPad outside in bright sunshine was a bit of a problem but I still prefer the reading experience to that of the kindle. Amazon should be seriously worried about the future of their Kindle hardware business.
The second big use for the iPad will be gaming. Gaming apps are sold for the iPhone more than any other category and the extra room on the iPad should ensure more of the same.
I downloaded a few games already, and needless to say, it was an amazing gaming experience.
And that is the thing with the iPad, you do not want to put it down. The touchscreen cries out to be touched and swiped.
The question is, will the iPad replace your laptop? My opinion is NO. Because although it can do many of the things that the laptop can do and in some cases do them much better. It still seems not to have the productivity of a laptop.
Having said that, I am surprised as to how easy it was to type on the virtual keyboard. It is roomy, comfortable and for the most part, error free typing. I still prefer the physical keyboard on my macbook pro, but of course that is my opinion.
I will be doing some E-mail, updating Facebook, and even Tweeting from my iPad. I can see it becoming my main method of my social media communication.
Apple has ensured us that the battery does not hinder content consumption. The iPad is good for 10 hours of life in between charges.
My macbook pro has become my alternative to music listening and Movie player while passing some downtime at my desk.
So will the iPad be the king of the publishing industry? No, I personally do not think so. Not by itself, but it is a building block in the bridge to a digital future for newspapers and magazines. Their products look awesome on the iPad and the Wall Street Journal app is amazing, but the public might just accept that it is ok to pay for apps, even as they shy away from website subscriptions.
With all that said, the iPad does have some serious flaws. In my opinion the lack of a camera is simply silly. The use of Skype or iChat with a tablet computer looks like such a simple and obvious concept, I cant believe Apple left this out.
The lack of Flash technology for playing online video looks less of a cynical decision on Steve Job's part. It appears to be more of a crusade against Adobe.
The lack of Multi-Tasking is also a bit aggravating. It makes the other seamless iPad experience a little stagnated at times. When you go into an app, you go out, and go into another one. Apple's apps run happily in the background but those who want to have Twitter feeds open or their instant messaging on the go will be dissapointed.
Prices range from $ 499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only Model, up to $ 829 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G Model.
The 3G plan will cost $ 14.99 a month for 250 MB or $ 29.99 a month for unlimited data, all through AT & T.