I bought an iPad this weekend and I love it.
It is not without it's limitations, but I have to say, this thing is the wave of the future. I mean, it really, really is. I'm not sure if you'll get this reference, but it's like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is real. I even bought a sticker for the back of it that makes me happy:
I reserved him and went to pick him up on Saturday morning. It was, even here in Charlotte, a madhouse. There were 2 lines: The Reservation Line and the No Reservation Line. The Reservation Line moved faster than the other. All in all, there were probably a couple hundred people waiting. Not bad for Charlotte.
Apple handed out bottled water and cookies. It was sort of a party atmosphere. I waited for about 45 minutes and played with my phone the whole time. The iPad would have been good to have for just such this occasion.
Once I got to the door, I was assigned my own "Apple" guy. He made everything go very smoothly and I had his full attention and assistance. After I bought the iPad, he handed me off to another person who helped me set it up, initially. It didn't take very long but it was great to have a person's undivided attention to help me. I didn't mind waiting to end up with that kind of service and I think they moved it along as quickly as possible. Also, it is my understanding that by 2 P.M. all the lines had abated and you could just walk into Apple and buy one. I haven't read anything about a sell out. At least not yet.
I'll try to give you my impressions of it, but bear in mind that I'm not a tech geek.
First, the Good:
It's super cool. I don't know if that counts, but it just is.
Books download quickly and easily and the iBookstore is connected to my iTunes account. It makes it incredibly easy to spend money.
It syncs just like an iPod and if you have an iPod Touch, it works just like one.
It is very, very easy to use and to navigate. I'm going to make my mother get one because it is so easy to use that even she can do it and it will serve her main computer purposes, which are light web browsing, photos, email and reading.
The books appear crisp and are easy to read. It's also easy to flip the pages like a real book. Winnie the Pooh comes preloaded on the Ipad and the color illustrations are beautiful. This is a significant improvement over the Nook and the Kindle, which don't have color. Although I am not a comic book reader, I believe that comic books would be amazing on this thing.
It does the things that you most want to do when you're on the go. You can read while you're bored. You can watch a movie on the plane. You can listen to music while you wait in line. You can browse the internet, return emails and shop while you sit around waiting for the plane. You can pull up nearby restaurants when you're on vacation, check the weather, read your hometown paper. It's a portable media and entertainment device.
It's light (1.1 lbs) and very portable. The screen is big and rotates to orient itself either vertically or horizontally. You can make the pictures or the text bigger by "pinching" it. You can adjust the screen's brightness to suit your situation. You can read it on the couch or the patio or from the bed. It fits quite nicely in your purse or your backpack. If you're a student, I would imagine it would be wonderful to carry this around as opposed to all those books (like I had to do a million years ago.)
Picture and Sound are also great. The iPad will be wonderful to watch movies and TV shows, which you can buy or rent from iTunes or link via a Netflix App which will allow you to download your rentals directly to your iPad.
Since I don't play games, I can't speak to the job this does, but given the picture, sound quality and ease of use, I would imagine gaming to be very fun and easy with this.
The battery life is very, very good.
Now, the not so good:
The iBookstore is limited right now. Much more so than Amazon or Barnes and Noble (if you have a Kindle or a Nook). I suspect that that will change pretty quickly. Also, while the books are cheaper than they would be if you bought them in a store, it's not like they're going to be half that. Maybe 25% less.
The web browser is Safari, of which I am not a huge fan. I can't understand why Apple can't make an easier web browser.
You're still going to be tethered, in some way, to a laptop or a desktop. I'm not sure what the answer to this is or even if it is a problem. I kind of think that one day, we'll have some sort of "virtual" storage site. Until then, you have to sync your iPad to something.
It's not a replacement for your laptop. At least not yet. There is no USB port. And while you can buy an actual keyboard to go with it, I'd think that would defeat the purpose. I don't think it would be feasible to create documents or do actual "work" on an iPad. I'm not sure it's really made for "work". Some people may be put off by that.
All in all, I think that my iPad (his name is "Milo" by the way) will do exactly what I want him to:
He'll go along in my purse so I can read my books while I wait at the doctor's office or for Court to start. He'll go with me on vacation so I don't have to carry 6 books in my suitcase. I will use him to watch TV, movies and do crossword puzzles on the plane. I will use him to browse the internet in my hotel room or in the airport or at the courthouse. He would have been great to have along during my mom's tests and surgery because the hospital had free Wi-Fi.
I'll update in the future on how he's doing or any cool apps I find.
Until then, he will just be riding along in my bag.