Naturally, most of my friends weren't terribly surprised when I told them I was getting an iPad. I had formulated the strategy back in January when Mr. Jobs threw his little coming-out party. When we first got our house, I had a Viewsonic smart display--a wireless Windows CE-powered touchscreen terminal that allowed me remote access to my main PC upstairs. Unfortunately, the housewide upgrade to Windows7 meant I lost that access, so the Viewsonic went out via eBay and I picked up a Compaq TC1100 tablet. A big thicker, a bit heavier, and burdened with a proprietary stylus, but also more powerful--even capable of streaming video.
So, I placed my order (a base 16GB unit, no 3G) just a couple of days after sales officially started, and got the unit, as promised, on April 3. In fact, to their credit, Apple apparently cut a deal with UPS, as the delivery folks called me to invite me to come out to their normally-closed-on-Saturday offices to pick it up.
So, after nearly three weeks, what's the word?
The word is 'impressive'.
- Design. As you would expect, the same clean, simple elegant design you expect from any Apple product. The rather large bezel looks a big awkward, but definitely serves a purpose. Also, the external speakers sound great.
- Speed. Wow. Slick, smooth, stutter-free.
- Interface. Yes, it's a giant iPhone, but who cares? Great multitouch activity, and the onscreen keyboard--which I'm using to write this--is pretty touch-type friendly.
- HD apps. Software designed take full advantage of the iPad display is gorgeous.
- Kindle for iPad. All the goodness of the Kindle store, plus full color and animated page turning. Only thing this doesn't do--that iBooks does--is change fonts.
- Goodreader. $1 full-function reader for PDFs and Word docs, among other things, and a movie player for mp4 files you can't import into iTunes. Drag and drop capability in iTunes makes it dead simple to transfer files.
- Apple's case. Feels great, low profile, and multifunctional stand capability, for either typing or watching videos. Only downside is the challenge of getting the unit in and out of the nonskid slot.
- Battery life. Unlike my MacBook Air, this thing just keeps going and going and going...
- Weight. The downside to feeling sturdy and substantial is that it also feels heavier than it looks. It does feel lighter than either the aforementioned Compaq or Viewsonic, but quite a bit heavier. I can still read in bed or in an easy chair, but it sometimes feels a big more awkward.
- Fingerprints. Great shades of Elvis, this is probably my biggest single gripe. It's most noticeable when you watch a movie, but is still annoying otherwise. A Boxwave screen protector has fixed that problem.
- iBooks. What a shame. About one fifth the selection of Amazon, no recommendation engine, and I found several listings of books which had no description whatsoever. Who expects someone to drop $10 on a book without knowing what it's about? And for all this, I now have to pay morer for my Kindle books?
- App prices. Even though I was used to paying $10 or more for software back in my Pocket PC days, I kinda got spoiled by cheap iPhone apps--so all of a sudden things seem a little pricier.
So, as I said--"impressive"...