My 16GB iPad arrived late this afternoon. I've been fiddling for a couple hours now, so I thought I'd weigh in with a few initial observations. Your mileage -- and opinion -- can and will vary.
The iPad is heavier than I expected. It's going to take a while for me to develop the dexterity (or the hand strength) to really find my optimal comfort/work zone. Frankly, I'm surprised it's not easier to cradle in one hand.
Update, 4/7/10: As Damien Stolarz noted during our recent panel discussion, the iPad really should come with a case. I spent my first two days without one, often fumbling for the best position. The device becomes much easier to handle when it's tucked into a protective sleeve.
Keyboard: Way better than I thought
Joggers get runner's high. I get "typist's high." I actually experience joy zipping my fingers over a keyboard. That's why I've got zero patience for mobile keyboards, virtual or otherwise.
I thought the iPad's keyboard would be on par with a kiosk or an ATM touchscreen; a grueling mechanism that's only useful when input needs are minimal. But that's not the case at all. I'll never achieve desktop/laptop speeds on the iPad, but it's at least 50 percent better than the iPhone's keyboard. It'll certainly suffice for writing email and moderate editing. I might be able to write full blog posts once I figure out the quirks. (Related: It's time for Google Docs to activate full editing capabilities in the iPhone/iPad interface.)
Sound: Built-in speaker is aces all around
I rarely use headphones with my iPod Touch because 90 percent of my time with the device is spent reading; tweets, Facebook, email, RSS, that kind of thing. But on those occasions when I want to watch a video clip or tune into a ballgame via the Slingbox app, I have to interrupt my flow to go dig up earbuds (I know, tough life). That's why the iPad's speaker is a godsend. I needed a built-in solution with audio quality that's good enough for those one-off moments -- not great, but reasonable -- and that's exactly what the iPad offers. I might even use it as a radio of sorts.
Screen: A beautiful thing
The screen is gorgeous. Images pop. It reminds me of the first time I saw a 1080p video feed. Interestingly, I think the resolution will also serve as a wake-up call for laggard app developers. The low-res icons attached to unoptimized apps are scarlet letters. Fuzzy = bad.
This screenshot is a feeble representation
of the iPad's resolution.
Horsepower: Way, way better than a smartphone
I often use VNC to log in to different computers in my house. I have a VNC app installed on my iPod Touch, but that device lacks the horsepower to do anything substantial. I was pleasantly surprised to find the iPad has more than enough juice to handle VNC. Response rate over my home network is great, and I can move windows and interact with programs easily. I'll be using this all the time.
What's your take? Did the iPad meet your expectations? Anything surprise you? Any disappointments? Please chime in through the comments.
- iPad quirks and criticisms (O'Reilly Answers)
- iPad: The First Six Hours (Joe Wikert's iPad Hound Blog)
- My top iPad pet peeves… so far (CrunchGear)