When the iPad launched in the USA on April 3rd, I was contemplating driving down to pick up an iPad to bring back to Canada (similar to my experience with the first iPhone). Lucky enough, one of my brother’s friends happened to be in Seattle during the weekend launch. He emailed to say that iPad were in stock and picked up a few iPads for us (thanks Ben!).
So as part of the first batch of Canadians to use an iPad on Canadian soil, I’m going to give my thoughts on how life has been over the past 7 weeks or so. I’ll provide my highlights with the iPad and hopefully you will experience what I’ve felt over the past little while. Your iPad comes tomorrow right? Hopefully this review will keep you at bay for the next 24 hours.
Unboxing the iPad
You’ve seen all the unboxing pictures on the Internet so I’m not going to regurgitate mine again. There isn’t much to the iPad unboxing. It’s all very simple as what you’ll see if your pristine iPad along with the USB cable and wall charger underneath. Oh, and you won’t need instructions. If you do, download the iPad User Guide in the iBookstore.
You will need to plug your iPad into iTunes on your Mac/PC to activate it. This can be a bit of a pain if you want to use the iPad immediately, and is something unnecessary for the iPad. I think it should’ve just worked right out of the box. With that being said, the battery on my iPad was fully charged so no charging was needed.
Finally Holding an iPad
After watching the Apple Keynote on the iPad, and hearing so much about it, it was absolutely amazing getting to use one. Holding the iPad is pretty special as the device is thinner than you think it is. As for the weight, it’s really lightweight but it can become a burden to support with one hand for longer periods of time. The Apple iPad Case has the perfect angle for typing on the iPad while it’s on your lap.
The iPad feels great in your hands and the black bezel has just the right amount of space for your fingers. I did have this strange feeling that the iPad would always slip out of my hands and fall to the ground at times. This is the problem with the slippery aluminum build of the iPad. However, after I installed my iPad invisibleSHIELD that feeling has since disappeared. Click here to order and save 20% off with our coupon code “iphoneinca”!
Setting up the iPad
The best part about using an iPad is that if you’re familiar with the iPhone OS, it’s a breeze to use. All the shortcuts and tricks you remember from using your iPhone also work on the iPad. One of the first things I did was setup my email accounts and customized some settings.
As for setting up the App Store, only US iTunes accounts can download apps straight from the iPad App Store. So I just logged in with my US Account and I was good to go. The first app I downloaded was iBooks. The free copy of Winnie the Pooh demonstrates the capability of books on the iPad. Turning pages for the first time revealed super smooth animations, just like turning the pages with a real book. Neato.
Using the iPad
This is where you really start to realize the iPad is more than just a “big iPod Touch”. Surfing the net using Safari is awesome. You’ll realize the speed of this device is even faster than those demo videos you’ve been watching online. Everything is so snappy. Being able to hold the iPad in your hands and get up close and personal with webpages makes it a joy to read. Reading up on sports on your laptop is fine and on the iPhone it’s great when you’re on the run. But on the iPad, seeing the page right in front of you immerses you into what you’re reading. I just love seeing large font and being able to navigate quickly with my fingers.
Also, it’s interesting to note the iPad does not run hot at all. Yet, there are warning messages that will let you know the iPad is overheating. I haven’t run into this yet.
The layout in the Mail app in landscape will allow you to blast through your emails quickly. Typing on the iPad though can take some practice. It’s okay for short email replies but I find my accuracy is not as good as I am on my iPhone. If you want to do some real work, a Bluetooth keyboard or wired USB keyboard (via the camera connection kit) is a must.
I bought Pages and the interface of that app is pretty awesome. It’s simple, extremely easy to use and coupled with a keyboard you could do some real work without lugging around the laptop.
Photos on the iPad look amazing. There isn’t much to say here other than the iPad is your new digital picture frame. Or presentation device for projects and meetings. iMockups works great on the iPad. It’s a must for web designers.
YouTube looks awesome. Embedded videos on websites play right within Safari and can be maximized to full screen.
One of the least credited features of the iPad is battery life. Honestly, this the only time when the indicated 10 hour battery life is not lying. Some people have actually been able to squeeze MORE than 10 hours. The iPad in standby and moderate usage can last you up to a week. When you get that “Low Battery 20% Remaining” pop up, you can chuckle and feel confident your iPad will just keep on going like the Energizer bunny! I can’t emphasize enough about how incredible the battery is. What will be interesting is to see how long charges will last over time. But for now, times are really good. Way better than my iPhone 3GS.
Something to Remember: The iPad is Not a Laptop
The iPad is not meant to replace a laptop. For real work, I still love my MacBook Pro as I can get work done faster on it versus typing on a touchscreen. It’s the perfect device that fits in well between your iPhone and MacBook. But for people who are “new” to the Internet or scared of technology, the iPad could be a very powerful device.
Imagine your grandparents (or parents, aunts/uncles, etc) being able to surf the Net, send email, and look at pictures without having to deal with the maintenance that is required in owning a Mac/PC. No viruses. No crashing. No formatting. No defragging. No slowdowns. With the iPad, it can deliver a powerful Internet experience that is “dumbed” down and foolproof. It’s the Apple user experience and it certainly is worth considering.
Grandma: how do I look at photos?
Me: Easy. Just tap the photos icon.
Shortfalls of the iPad
- no multitasking yet but it’s coming in iPhone OS 4.0 due in the Fall for iPads
- no Flash so certain websites/videos (HTML5 FTW) won’t work
- typing can take some time to get used to if you have large man hands
- iPhone apps maximized on the iPhone look like garbage. So when that iPad commercial says “over 200,000″ apps it’s lying because the iPad apps are still growing
- quality iPad apps are there, but the App Store is nowhere near as complete as iPhone apps
- accessories can add up (Apple Case, external keyboard, camera connection kit, dock, etc)
If you’re looking for more customization, USB ports, built in this and that, the iPad isn’t for you. You’re better off saving your money for an upcoming tablet based on Android OS. But if you want to keep things simple and focus your energy on important tasks, the iPad can help you get work done as all that other clutter is just kept out of the way.
Conclusion: I Love the iPad
The iPad has many uses but it really comes down to what YOU will use it for. For me, it’s more of a “coffee table” device that allows me to check email, surf the web, look at photos, watch video podcasts and use various iPad apps. It will allow me the freedom of no longer being confined to my desk or having the burden of my laptop sitting on my lap. I won’t have to stare at my iPhone anymore as the iPad has now become “the one” when I’m on the couch or reading in bed. The form factor is awesome.
I hope this review (or my random iPad ramblings) has given you a decent overview of my iPad experience over the past month or so. Go play with your iPad when it is finally delivered, then come back to this post and let me know how your experience has been. Don’t forget to watch these iPad Video Tutorials from Apple to get yourself prepared!
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