Few product releases have polarized and gained as much attention as the Apple iPad release… even between the Geeks at Gizmos for Geeks. I pre-ordered the device within 30 minutes of the Apple Store taking pre-orders and received the unit the morning of release. Here are my thoughts and opinions from my first week with the Apple iPad.
After allowing my 3-yr old to unbox the iPad, my initial impression of the device revolved around the design. The iPad easily fits in your hand thanks to the slightly curved bottom but was slightly heavier than I expected. The feature that had me in awe was the screen. The screen is simply amazing and has been the selling feature for at least one friend that checked out the device after it was released. Obviously I have the WiFi version (no 3G since it’s not out yet), and connecting via WiFi has been flawless at home and several restaurants and coffee shops, but I’ve had issues at the company I am consulting at using their guest wireless. While it would have been nice for GPS or a built-in camera to be included, neither of those features drove my decision to buy or not buy. Finally, the iPad is extremely responsive and quick.
The device has the familiar Home button, switch to turn off the display, volume control and a screen orientation lock button which is useful for walking around or watching movies and TV shows. Additionally, the device has a headphone jack and the typically iPod/iPhone 30 pin connector for syncing, charging and extending the device. I’m using the on-screen keyboard to write this article and it’s very usable. I have ordered the Apple Bluetooth keyboard for using the iPad at a desk since the iPad has Bluetooth support. The WiFi version does NOT have GPS which is fine for what I plan to use the device for. The assisted GPS using WIFi location has been very accurate and nailed my house and several locations such as a local Starbucks. The battery life is amazing and provides over 9 hours of active working time.
The standard apps are familiar but some have nice iPad-specific additions. For example, the Mail app has a new layout where the mail folder is displayed on the right side of the screen while the rest of the screen real estate includes the email content. You can select and move or delete multiple messages at a time too which is a new feature. Due to the additional real estate provided by the iPad screen, the Calendar, Contacts and even Notes apps really shine. For example, on the calendar view, the right side includes a small month calendar for quickly moving around to different dates as well as a list of daily events while the right side has an event timeline.
The media apps including Videos, Photos, and iPod have some nice features using the full screen of the iPad as well. The device definitely allows you to consume these formats easily with an incredible interface.
I will post an article about my favorite iPad apps shortly, including a couple that I have not seen mentioned around the blogosphere, but have to mention a few that represent nicely why I felt I wanted to purchase an iPad in the first place.