The iPad has shipped, the box has arrived and I’ve opened it and looked inside. Yes, the iPad is here. By way of refrence, I ordered a 64GB iPad with WiFi only. My rationale for this was I usually use most of my devices where there’s Wifi so the idea of having 3G capability on this iPad wasn’t really a factor.
Not only that, I don’t like the idea of giving AT&T any more money than I already do for my iPhone 3GS and I didn’t really want to wait another month to try out the iPad. So, Wifi version it is.
Although, after using it I may discover that having 3G is more important than I think it is. We’ll have to see about that one. I’ll do a more in-depth review a bit later after using the device for a few days but until then, here’s what I think so far.
Design and Build Quality
Apple designs nice looking productuct and nobody can deny that. They also tend to build them pretty well. The iPad is no exception. On first use it was a bit heavier than I expected but stil, as I usually carry a much heavier 13″ MacBook Pro around most of the time, the weight really won’t be a factor.
Also, once you see and use the iPad, the black bezel around the edges makes perfect sense. That’s where you hold it with one had while you use it with the other. In other ways, build quality is excellent with all the parts fitting together very nicely in a tight package.
Oh, and did I mention the screen is absolutely beautiful. Pictures and video look amazing and book text, either from iBooks or with the Kindle for iPad Application, is very readable. However, I would say that reading a book on the iPad is not quite as easy on the eyes as it is on the Kindle. I think the Kindle, at least for me, is a slightly better reading experience. But fortunately, the iPad does so much more and for shorter durations, or after I get more used to it, will probably end up being fine for reading books.
Setup and Ease of Use
Setting up the iPad was a snap. Take it out of the box, plug it into the iMac, launch iTunes, agree to a user agreement, click to activate and after a few minutes, all done. Then, it functions just like an iPhone and you can decide what to sync, if anything, from your iTunes library. These include music, movies, tv, podcasts (Like The Flickcast, of course) info (Your address book, ical and email accounts from Apple Mail) and applications.
I use Apple’s .Me service so I opted to have my iPad sync my contacts, calendars and Safari bookmarks over the air and entered my email accounts manually because I didn’t want all of the ones from my iMac to be on the IPad as well.
As for movies, tv, etc. I usually like to manage that kind of thing manually as well so I made sure to set it up that way. Once done, I can decide which media to sync and which applications to install or remove. Some people may want to sync everything and that’s fine. But for me, even with the 64GB of space on the iPad, it would not nearly hold all my music, videos, etc.
Next up, ease of use once I have it set up. Again, this is Apple so ease of use is of primary importance. The short of it is if you’ve used at iPhone or iPod Touch, using the iPad will be just as easy, if not easier, than those. If you’ve never used a touch device before, the iPad’s lack of physical keyboard and mouse may take a bit of getting used to. Although, once I had it in my hands I shared it with a couple Windows and non-iPhone using friends and they had no trouble figuring out the touch screen in only a matter of minutes.
The use of it is relatively intuitive and most people should be able to pick it up with minimal difficulty. When using the device it functions as the iPhone does and you click on one application, launch it, use it and then close it to move onto the next one. Some had complained that this was a problem and I would say that, like on my normal Macs, it would be great to have more than one thing running at the same time to switch back and forth.
That said, the fact that the applications open and close so quickly makes the process of switching back and forth almost the same as if they were all running in the background. Yes, the iPad is that fast.
At launch, a whole slew of Applications for the iPad were available and I’ve pretty much tried to download and use most of them — especially the free ones. Where I would normally reach for my iPhone to check email, news, Twitter and more in the morning, I found myself reaching for the iPad instead to do all of that this morning.
Due to its larger size, speedier processor, beautiful screen and more I was able to check email from multiple accounts, look in on Facebook via Safari, update my status on Twitter and browse some news via RSS on NetNewsWire and some other news applications all while sitting in bed. The experience is a far richer one when you have full color photos, video, audio and text. Reading USA Today and The New York Times on the iPad was easy and I will do it again tomorrow morning. This is one of the things the iPad was made for and it does it extremely well.
I hesitate to use the word “revolutionary” about anything. I think it gets thrown around a bit too much these days. However, the iPad is extraordinary in its design, ease of use and what it can provide in terms of content and I can see how it will become very popular with many different kinds of people. Sales figures are just starting to come in for the device and I’m sure those numbers will be huge.
The iPad represents a next step in the evolution of personal computing devices. Someday everyone will use a touch screen and we will look fondly back on the days when a mouse and keyboard was standard with every computer. I look forward to that time.
For now, the iPad is here and makes a great device which fills the gap between a laptop and a desktop computer. It can’t do everything, but what it can do it does extremely well.
I’m sure I’ll find things I don’t like about it and in fact, already have. Expect those to be included in the more in-depth review coming later this week.
If you did get an iPad (or didn’t), feel free to share your thoughts about the device in the comments.