“Where is the USB port, Dad?” That was daughter’s first question, and a good one at that. “How can you connect it to your computer?” I showed her how and then…no worries. But it was interesting to hear her first reactions. She wasn’t sure what the iPad is. I’m not yet either. But, I can tell you this. The “hype” over the iPad was pretty much well deserved. Apple has been describing the iPad as a whole new way to experience the Internet. They are right. The touch screen interface allows you an immediacy to anything you are viewing that has never before been available. I hate to use the word “intimacy” but I’m not sure what other word to use to describe it.
The iPad is fast, very, very fast. The faster your connection to the Internet, the better, of course, when you are doing things on the Internet, which will be…a lot of thing. Everything “pops” instantly, a testimony to the custom chip with onboard RAM Apple designed and built for the iPad. Resize images? Move to new apps? Move around within apps? Instant response.
The built in speakers are really quite startling good, and of course, the less ambient noise around you the better. The display is stunning. Crisp. Sharp. Eye-popping color saturation.Text is easy to read. There is nothing “fuzzy” or visually distracting. I set the desktop image to one of the simple slate backgrounds. I’ve never liked “busy” background images. I love the “real estate” you have on the iPad, the ability to put quite a few apps down in the permanent dock at the bottom. I quickly moved the settings and app store apps down to the dock.
The sooner Apple comes out with OS 4 for the iPhone and, I assume, applies the same to the iPad the better. We’ll finally have multitasking, more important now than ever. It’s more than irritating to have to quit watching a video in order to turn the brightness up or down. ’nuff said.
At first I thought it was too heavy, but now I like the “substance” of the thing. With the Apple cover for it, and I hear there are better ones available, it has a nice tactile “heft” that is not too heavy, not too light. iPad screams “quality” while the Kindle screams, “Cheap piece of plastic.” Interestingly, I have spent perhaps 90% of my time with it in landscape mode, not portrait.
Is the iPad a big iPhone or a small MacBook laptop? Yes, kind of. Well, no, not really. It’s hard to say. I had just received my new desktop iMac the previous week and it came with the smallest of Apple’s bluetooth keyboards. Which is kind of funny and pathetic. You get a huge 27″ iMac and a tiny little keyboard. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the keyboard, but then iPad showed up. Once I figured out how to shut off the keyboard being recognized by the big iMac, bang, iPad recognized the keyboard and the cool thing is that when it did, it shut off displaying the keyboard on the screen of the iPad. Very convenient to use at a desk. I am pretty sure I’ll be getting the cover you can use to adjust the display angle, but it is great using the iPad in landscape with a keyboard. Mouse is next. So, yes, in this way, it is a nice little netbook/laptop.
But, I wonder, if this is how I would use it most of the time, why not just buy a MacBook 13″ model? Well, apart from spending a whole lot more, I suspect the reason I would use the iPad is to retain all the portability of the iPad.
I’m enjoying using my favorite apps on the iPad. The Kindle app makes using/reading The Lutheran Study Bible on the iPad a real joy. The Crossway ESV iPad App is stunningly beautiful and useful. I’m pleased to see the Crossway ESV iPad app is ranked up in the top free 50 downloads for the iPad. I downloaded a few paid apps and they are all beautiful and show the potential reading experience possible on the iPad. Of course, as one wise dad of young children put it to me, “I can replace a $4.99 book a lot more easily than a $500 iPad if a child happens to drop it while having fun reading on it.
Where it really shines is as a personal video viewing device. Netflix’s app works well on it. I went ahead and downloaded a movie, Star Trek. Plugged in a spare set of ear buds and, “Beam me up.” Wow. What a great viewing experience.
Battery life? Impressive. I took it out of the box and it had a 95% charge. I fired up the 3G connection, and WiFi connection and Bluetooth, and turned the brightness all the way up, and….finally had to recharge it after at least seven hours of nearly use over the course of the afternoon and evening, with everyone having a turn with it. Seven. Hours. I drained the battery down to 10% and plugged it in overnight, so we’ll see what a full cycle charge is like.
I’ll be spending more time today reading with it, trying out books and online magazines, etc. The Wall Street Journal for the iPad is fantastic. NPR’s iPad app and the BBC’s apps are terrific.
So, first impressions? This thing is a game-changer. No doubt about it. Was the hype, just hype? Sure, to some extent, but frankly, to my surprise, not as much as I thought. The “wow” factor with this thing is very high. And yes, sorry everyone, but it is a Kindle killer, and a Sony Reader killer, and a Nook killer. In light of Google’s plans to release something similar, on an Android platform, I really see no future for those devices. I know the price point is an obstacle/barrier for many, compared to the Kindle and its kin, but honestly, if you are going to buy a Kindle, and spend a few hundred bucks, I’d say, save up and get yourself an iPad. You’ll have all the benefits of the Kindle (thanks to the Kindle app for iPad) and a lot more features and opportunities with the iPad. Of course, if you are wise, you’ll wait for iPad Second Generation, which will mean a lower price and improvements. But, what can I say? I had a chance to get the iPad, and I appreciate it!