In typical minimalistic fashion, the packaging is more environmental than impressive, however the first thing you realize when you take the iPad out is how sleek it feels. The weight isn’t heavy, but has a solid feel to it. Most people claim it’s “light” on first touch, whereas kindle user proudly claim that its “3 times heavier than the kindle”. The black glass front, slim-line profile and smooth aluminum backing all come together to what is a very sexy product. Visually, this is something that turns heads (much like the iPhone did back in 2007), as I noted while using it in public and having 4 people approach me within 15 minutes.
When switching it on, this thing is fast. I mean, really fast. Having used the iPhone original, 3G and 3GS, the iPad is to the 3GS, as the 3GS was to the 3G in speed. It actually feels like the iPhone OS has now reached optimal speed and was really designed for hardware for the likes of the iPad.
When thinking about the common complaints: No multi-tasking, no flash, no Mac OSX – it really comes down to what this device is about: Getting what you want, in a fast and visually impressive way. The thing the complainers need to note, the more features you add in a mobile device, the slower the device (and shorter the battery life) – and there’s a whole host of examples out there that do just that. The iPad is an output device. It’s what you use to browse sites, read books, watch YouTube or videos, and play games. If I wanted to input data into a spreadsheet or reply to emails with attachments, the iPad can do it, but I would be better off on my laptop. So for the more simple things you want to do, the iPad is fast and stunning.
Soon after you familiarize yourself with the basic features, you suddenly feel wanting more. And that’s where Apple’s App Store fills the gap. With the already huge selection of iPhone apps available (at last count, 150,000) that will work on the iPad – the drawback is that its quite pixilated when enhanced to fill the large 10” display. However, there are around 3,000 apps, specifically designed for the iPad which takes advantage of the beautiful LED IPS Display. If you really want to see how news should be read, check out the Bloomberg or BBC News app. Other notable apps are the ABC app (for last nights episode of Lost), Marvel comics (you have to check out the guided view for the hulk comic) and Kayak. Really, once you are used to some of the fully loaded iPad specific apps, it actually feels nicer to read on than a laptop. Personally, I’m enjoying reading Bloomberg news more on the iPad than on my MacBook, and its an excellent replacement for flight entertainment.
Slight drawbacks thus far have been a rather fingerprinted screen, absence of a camera and some rather finicky apps – but that should be expected on day 1 of the iPad app store. It will be interesting to see the quality of the apps on this device in a years time.
With an amazing display, solid feel and an infinite range of applications, it’s no wonder it sold over 300,000 on it’s opening day, tripling expectations. Steve wasn’t kidding when he said “it feels like you are holding the Internet in your hands”.
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