Couldn’t resist popping into the iStore yesterday and playing with one of their new demo iPads. My verdict? Don’t believe the hype: the iPad is WAY better in the flesh, so to speak.
Admittedly I only spent about 10-15 minutes playing with it but that’s easily enough to show off its many attributes which themselves only hint at its potential. So, first impressions? It feels heavier than I thought – not overly so compared to the weighty books on my bedside table but the 1.5 pounds feels a lot more substantial than a Kindle, for example. The most impressive feature right off the bat is the responsiveness. You’re already used to something like this from your iPod Touch or iPhone but this is so lightning fast and scrolling and flicking pages and so on is just a joy. The iBooks app knocks spots off the Kindle – you can see how books will come alive with the rich colours that the iPad screen offers.
I spent a bit of time exploring the New York Times app – something of a Times Lite called “Editor’s Choice” as their Kindle deal prevents them offering the full Times on the iPad yet – and it’s is very well done. It so easy and intuitive to touch on stories, pictures and video. Stories fill a whole screen making them as readable as a real paper – if this is how newspapers are going to look then I may never buy newsprint again. The BBC and NPR apps were equally impressive. Also, they were easy to read flat down like a real book or paper.
It already looks a mature and stable platform for games and video – again, so easy to launch and view, I can see this fitting in so easily at home (can I keep the kids off it – doubtful!) and it will be a great travel companion. The only real issue I’m going to have with the iPad is choice – there’s so much you can and want to do on it.
I spent some time typing on the on-screen keyboard and had no problem at all – in fact, if you;ve mastered the iPhone/Touch keyboard, this is a breeze.
I know there’s a lot of talk about lack of a camera, multi-tasking and so on. Some of that will be dealt with in the new iPhone 4.0 OS release later this year and future versions. The continued failure to support Flash is irritating and the lack of a camera is perhaps more puzzling than it is on the Touch as the iPad would clearly make a great video conferencing tool.
But right now, if digital media and the iTunes Eco-system is a big part of your life, I can’t think of a good reason why you wouldn’t want to buy this right now unless you absolutely have to wait for 3G. No it doesn’t do a lot of things a laptop does but this is not a laptop – it’s a whole new niche and its portability and ease of use, for me, make it more compelling and usable than a laptop.
Prices in Bermuda will start around $800 for the 16GB version.