Despite the millions of people who have already felt the need to give their two cents on the iPad, I have been asked quite a bit to share my thoughts on the device, apparently due to my critical honesty. And since I am in NO way an Apple fan boy, I guess my review can be a little less biased.First let me tell you how little I cared about this device before Saturday at 11 AM when I walked into Best Buy. I had no desire to purchase one, and saw no purpose for the device. I figured there would be some cool uses at some point, but nothing that would change my world. But I was wrong. This thing is amazing. I can now say that people who just call this device a big iPod Touch have never actually used the device and probably had preconceived ideas about it, rather than giving it a chance. The truth is that the iPad is a game changer, and I really do see a lot of potential for it. What it really comes down to is the large, high resolution screen. Screen real estate on a portable device is everything, and it's really what will make this device a success.
I've always been interested in non-phone mobile devices. Back in the day, I switched from a smartphone to a basic phone with a Palm Tungsten to use as an organizer. Then later I tried a Peek Pronto, an email-only device. But nothing had really impressed me until the iPad. I've always been disappointed with mobile devices that try to cram a bunch of stuff into a little tiny device. People want USABLE devices, not small devices. I would have been happy if the iPhone was 1.5x the size, giving it more screen real estate and making it easier to type on. The iPad is obviously much larger, and the size of it make it possible to do a lot of things that aren't possible with the small screen of most mobile devices.
The iPad feels great in the hand. It's sturdy, and the screen looks great. Two gripes here, though. My fingers don't glide across the screen as easily as on the iPhone. I'm not sure why. But when I need to drag from one side of the screen to the other, it doesn't always feel good on the finger, because it doesn't have the silky smooth feeling. The other issue is related to fingerprints. It's BAD. I get a lot of fingerprints on this screen, and they don't wipe off easily. I actually have to use a spray and cloth to get the prints off. This is probably going to happen every couple days. It might get annoying. Battery life is outstanding, although, this is the wifi-only version.
The biggest problem I find with most devices is the subpar keyboard. However, the virtual keyboard in landscape mode of the iPad is nearly as good as most physical keyboards. The screen is large enough to allow for good sized keys and space in between them. I can type with 8 fingers (no pinkies) extremely accurately - I would estimate around 60-70 words a minute. I can't type to save my life in portrait mode. Fortunately, just about all the apps support the landscape view, so I keep it in landscape most of the time.
Just like with the iPhone, the iPad's success will be dictated by the apps that make the most of the large screen. Apple did some cool things with the Mail interface, along with the other default programs that came with the device. Here are a few early iPad apps that I've really come to enjoy using:
- iMockups - A wireframing application for designers.
- HTML Edit - Not the greatest html editing app yet, but it's got potential. It has built-in FTP support and has it's own file management system, so you can edit files and upload straight back to the server. Although, without multitasking support, the usefulness of this app is limited for now.
- Weather HD - Visually shows you what the weather looks like with stock imagery. No need to open the shutters anymore.
- LogMeIn - Thanks to the screen real estate, the iPad version is much easier to use that the iPhone version.
- Touch Hockey - An incredibly realistic air hockey game. I can't tell you how realistic the game play actually is. You're going to have to try it for yourself.
- Harbor Master - Even better than the iPhone version - the large screen makes all the difference.
- Game Table - Comes with a poker table (and chips), and some other traditional games. This game completely eliminates the need for physical playing cards.
- Scrabble - Just a lot of fun. Also has multi-iPad and iPhone support for really slick integration.
The common thread in the above apps is that they really excel due to the screen size. Not only have the games utilized the screen in some great ways, but there are some practical business applications for this device. And the device has only been out for 3 days. I can't wait to see what people do with the iPad.
One thing I didn't realize when I bought it is how much these apps use the internet. It's hard to really do anything on the device without it constantly needing to connect to the internet for something. I definitely feel crippled when I'm not near a hotspot (and there's no way I'm turning on my wifi feature on my Palm Pre Plus since they Verizon charge an outrageous $40/mo for the service). Update: For now, I use the wifi feature on my Palm Pre Plus, since Verizon just made this feature free (smart move, Verizon), but I will still gladly upgrade to a 3G model when it comes out and pay the subscription fee. (My opinion on this changed once I got the device. I was totally against another monthly service fee, but now that I see the usefulness of the iPad, I no longer have any reservations about picking up a 3G model.)
So there ya go. Those are my thoughts on the iPad. I thought it was going to be an unnecessary, worthless device that didn't have a place in the world. Now every morning before I roll out of bed, I reach for my iPad and check Facebook, Twitter, open Drudge, and watch the condensed game video for the Angels from the night before in the MLB app.
The iPad has changed everything. Get your hands on one and you'll see what I mean.
Sent from my iPad