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iPad Review: What to Expect When You Get your iPad This Week

by on May 27th, 2010

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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Posted under: Recommendations, Reviews

  • Eric Armstrong

    “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. ” I don't think this is true anymore. My brother-in-law has an iPad and since earlier this week he has been able to access the Canadian app store. iWork and iBooks are all available through the iTunes app store—I've already purchased them so that when my iPad shows up, I can load it up with all the things I want!

  • Steve

    When the new OS comes out – will the iPAd be able to take advantage of it? Or will we have to wait for the new iPAD to come out to get multitasking

  • Jeremy

    Gary and all,

    Very much looking forward to receiving my iPad tomorrow. I'm in Toronto. Here are two questions I have:

    To my dismay, it appears that the Canadian App Store does not sell bestseller books and only has classics. Has Apple given any indication as to when (if at all??) Canadians will be able to buy books other than the 500 some odd classic books that are listed?

    My second question relates to getting books through the American App Store. How does this work exactly? I understand that there is a way to open up a US acct and buy books that way. My question is, is there a downside to doing this? Does it complicate things in any way? Will it pose a problem for me when I want to download other apps or books in the future? Can a Canadian and an American acct be active on the same iPad? In short, is this a recommended solution for a typical user who likes to download LOTS of apps, games, books, movies, etc?

    Thanks very much!

  • Jeremy

    Gary and all,

    Very much looking forward to receiving my iPad tomorrow. I'm in Toronto. Here are two questions I have:

    To my dismay, it appears that the Canadian App Store does not sell bestseller books and only has classics. Has Apple given any indication as to when (if at all??) Canadians will be able to buy books other than the 500 some odd classic books that are listed?

    My second question relates to getting books through the American App Store. How does this work exactly? I understand that there is a way to open up a US acct and buy books that way. My question is, is there a downside to doing this? Does it complicate things in any way? Will it pose a problem for me when I want to download other apps or books in the future? Can a Canadian and an American acct be active on the same iPad? In short, is this a recommended solution for a typical user who likes to download LOTS of apps, games, books, movies, etc?

    Thanks very much!

  • Jeremy

    Gary and all,

    Very much looking forward to receiving my iPad tomorrow. I'm in Toronto. Here are two questions I have:

    To my dismay, it appears that the Canadian App Store does not sell bestseller books and only has classics. Has Apple given any indication as to when (if at all??) Canadians will be able to buy books other than the 500 some odd classic books that are listed?

    My second question relates to getting books through the American App Store. How does this work exactly? I understand that there is a way to open up a US acct and buy books that way. My question is, is there a downside to doing this? Does it complicate things in any way? Will it pose a problem for me when I want to download other apps or books in the future? Can a Canadian and an American acct be active on the same iPad? In short, is this a recommended solution for a typical user who likes to download LOTS of apps, games, books, movies, etc?

    Thanks very much!

  • Jeremy

    Gary and all,

    Very much looking forward to receiving my iPad tomorrow. I'm in Toronto. Here are two questions I have:

    To my dismay, it appears that the Canadian App Store does not sell bestseller books and only has classics. Has Apple given any indication as to when (if at all??) Canadians will be able to buy books other than the 500 some odd classic books that are listed?

    My second question relates to getting books through the American App Store. How does this work exactly? I understand that there is a way to open up a US acct and buy books that way. My question is, is there a downside to doing this? Does it complicate things in any way? Will it pose a problem for me when I want to download other apps or books in the future? Can a Canadian and an American acct be active on the same iPad? In short, is this a recommended solution for a typical user who likes to download LOTS of apps, games, books, movies, etc?

    Thanks very much!

  • Jeremy

    Gary and all,

    Very much looking forward to receiving my iPad tomorrow. I'm in Toronto. Here are two questions I have:

    To my dismay, it appears that the Canadian App Store does not sell bestseller books and only has classics. Has Apple given any indication as to when (if at all??) Canadians will be able to buy books other than the 500 some odd classic books that are listed?

    My second question relates to getting books through the American App Store. How does this work exactly? I understand that there is a way to open up a US acct and buy books that way. My question is, is there a downside to doing this? Does it complicate things in any way? Will it pose a problem for me when I want to download other apps or books in the future? Can a Canadian and an American acct be active on the same iPad? In short, is this a recommended solution for a typical user who likes to download LOTS of apps, games, books, movies, etc?

    Thanks very much!

  • Jeremy

    Gary and all,

    Very much looking forward to receiving my iPad tomorrow. I'm in Toronto. Here are two questions I have:

    To my dismay, it appears that the Canadian App Store does not sell bestseller books and only has classics. Has Apple given any indication as to when (if at all??) Canadians will be able to buy books other than the 500 some odd classic books that are listed?

    My second question relates to getting books through the American App Store. How does this work exactly? I understand that there is a way to open up a US acct and buy books that way. My question is, is there a downside to doing this? Does it complicate things in any way? Will it pose a problem for me when I want to download other apps or books in the future? Can a Canadian and an American acct be active on the same iPad? In short, is this a recommended solution for a typical user who likes to download LOTS of apps, games, books, movies, etc?

    Thanks very much!

  • Eric Armstrong

    The new OS will come out for the iPhone/iPod Touch this summer; the iPad team won't have their version ready until Fall. This is because the iPad team was working in the dark and the OS team knew nothing about the iPad specs until it was released. So they're a few months behind. I suspect that once the iPad catches up this fall, all future OS updates will work for both iPhone and iPad.

  • Eric Armstrong

    I believe that you can have more than one account be accessed on your iPad. It's like putting music from more than one account in your iTunes music library: if you have the password, you can do it. To set up the US acct, you have to have a credit card with a US address. For Canadians with no US address, the trick people do to get around this is to buy the “Vanilla” pre-paid MasterCard, and create a US account using that and then spoofing any address in the US. Note that, if you buy content that is dependant on location awareness (such as the ABC app for watching TV) you have to set up a VPN account so you can pretend that you are based somewhere else. There are companies that sell access to their VPN system on a monthly subscription plan, so you can pretend that you're from the US (or the UK, if, for example, one liked the the BBC iPlayer).

  • Eric Armstrong

    As for your books: you buy them through iBooks, and not through the App Store. I don't have an iPad yet, so I can't tell if you're mistaken here or not. I don't know what books are currently available in the Canadian iBooks app (and if you're waiting on your iPad, too, then you probably don't know either). Once you fire up your iPad and load iBooks onto it via your iTunes account, you'll be able to open iBooks and order books online. I think. (I could be wrong; I don't have an iPad, yet.)

  • Jeremy

    Eric – when I go into iTunes on my MacbookPro and click on “store” and then “apps”, and then “Ipad”, I get access to the apps available for the Ipad on the Canadian Apps store. When I then clicked on iBooks, I was able to see the list of books available. I then did a search for “books available for the Ipad in Canada” (or somethiing to that effect) on Google and found articles noting that commercial bestsellers are not available for Canadian consumers at this point…

    I guess I'll be setting up a US acct to buy books…

  • Adrian

    Can you recommend a company to use for VPN access? Thanks in advance.

  • Mike E

    I've been accessing apps in the Canadian iPad apps store for a week or so now…. everything is good that way!

    For VPN I think this site has a link somewhere to Witopia with a discount code. Great VPN that works very well.

    FOr those starting out, here are my favourite iPad Apps so far in no specific order:

    Gravilux
    Epicurious
    Good Reader
    Drop Box
    Twitterific (Though Tweet Flow has a pretty cool interface)
    PopSci
    WhatsOnHD (TV listings…. works great on the iPad… created by Zap2It… can localize to your provider and customize listing in the app to your subscribed channels…. )
    ebook readers (Kindle, iBooks, Kobo)
    CraftFinder (I have three daughters who love crafts)
    Pages

    What's been dissapointing:
    the speed of Kindle in the iPad id horrible… Kobo and iBook are much more responsive. Unfortunately Kindle has more books currently.
    'Pages' (iWork wordprocessor) only transfers files through iTunes or email… no Google Docs, or DropBox support…

    Waiting for:
    QuickOffice or Documents to Go which will allow files to be saved and accessed through DropBox
    Canadian TV station content and more US station content (CBS is working on it for the fall)
    OS 4 :)
    Bejeweled and other iPhone games to be made better for iPad
    No facebook app

    Fun things to try out:
    Atomic Browser — uses tabbed browsing
    Scrabble
    Adobe Ideas — free drawing tool that is pretty well done for version 1 — will go with iMockUp long term
    IMDB – great iPad app
    Weather Channel — neat iPad implementation
    Need for Speed Shift — great racing app!

  • Pingback: iPad Launches Today in Canada: Where to Buy an iPad | iPad in Canada - Canada's iPad Blog

  • Lauren

    Try http://www.acevpn.com . I found them better compared to witopia.

  • http://www.funnyunkle.com Funnyunkle

    iBook is working now and more books are coming online but I think after try all the the different e-reader apps…KOBO is my favourite so far. Even I have been one of those people who have been using a US ipad…I am missing the buzz that the Canada release brings. My Canada iPad arrives soon from online store.

    Great over-review :) BTW I have made the my 1st iPad a great productivity tool for work (working with people with intellectual disabilities) and it as proven to be a real asset. Only downside is specialty apps are more expensive than average apps.

    I love pages though it is very limited in scope…being only able to add photos I have to scan PDFs etc and transfer them in with another app and then import it as a photo to Pages. Can't wait for multitasking!

    have fun with yours!

  • Chris

    I finally had a chance to try an iPad. One thing I found while using Safari was when I was on a web site like PCMag.com, when I tired to scroll down a list of articles under their “The Latest” column, the whole page would scroll..

    I tried tapping on the scroll bar and tried to used the little blue scroll “button”, but I just wasn't able to scroll past the bottom article.

    Have you come across any sites like PCMag.com and not be able to scroll down in boxes like this box for comments?

    Thank you

    Chris

  • Reginald

    Guys, from now on there is no need to sign up for two Ipad microsim plans! A week ago I bought the micro sim adapter from http://www.gomicrosim.com, and now I can use one micro sim card for all apple stuff and other mobile phones. Costs only 4.5 EUR. Really worth it. Should save me 1440$, since now i have no need to sign for another 2 years plan with AT&T. Highly recommend this seller, his price and delivery options are the best so far.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    check out our post on Witopia

    http://www.ipadincanada.ca/tutorials/how-to-use