The iPad – A Quick Review

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Normally, we are not first adapters, but…

Yes, Greg got one, the 16 gig model.

We’ve had it for a day now, and here are my thoughts.

When the iPad was first revealed a few months ago, I was skeptical. Just google “computer tablet” to get an idea of how many times this concept has been tried and flopped. Kind of like the mythical youth vote that will swing the election every year, the market and demand for such a device has never materialized.

The iPad may succeed, because it’s by-passing that mythical market. How do I mean? There is no stylus to write with. That was always one of the key features of tablets in the past. Still, with the typical Apple suite of office apps, typing is very easy, and you’ll be able to take note with no problem. On the iPad though, taking notes is an afterthought. This is a multi media device, an iTouch all grown up.

You can play movies and music with ease. Last night we had a few guests over, and the iPad was channeling music through the stereo for half the night via Pandora. We had it running continuously for five or six hours, and the battery indicator was at 86%. That’s pretty darned good.

So, if the iPad is not a “tablet”, what is it? I can’t say for sure, but here are a few things that this device excels at. Maps, which uses “Google Maps” data, really shines on the iPad. On smaller smart-phone devices such as the iPhone or my Nokia N97, this type of program is indispensable when traveling. The large screen of the iPad gives you a wonderful perspective of where you are in regard to your destination. Sky Walk looks soooo cool, it might just motivate me to concentrate more time on astronomy, one of my scientific knowledge weak points.

There is a lot of buzz about this being a potential Kindle-killer, and Amazon should be worries. Not only are book pages very easy to read, but one could spend hours simply turning the pages on the device. It’s not done with a button, but with a swipe of the finger across the screen. If there is one thing Apple absolutely excels at, it’s the GUI interface.

And here is the real “Kindle-killer”. This displays things in vivid color! The Kindle can’t display color pictures, which robs you of seeing many wonderful illustrations that accompany many books. Comic books, which aren’t available on Kindle type devices, look stunning on the iPad. You can zoom in to just one illustrated frame on a page to examine the details and art of your favorite super hero. Now you have opened the window to the full world of literature.

Another plus is the form factor. It’s easier to hold and use than a standard laptop. In my opinion, typing on the iPad is a bit easier than typing on the average Net-Book.

Given the state of the economy, I’m not sure if this is going to sell quite as fast as Apple is hoping. But when compared to all the other devices out there, and the fact that this is so good at so many things, despite the fact that it is only a first generation device, this may very well be a game-changer in the industry.

PS. On further reflection, maybe I can’t call it a “first generation” device, since it is an over-sized iTouch. Never-the-less, I do think there is quite the potential for this to really put the squeeze on other manufacturers to improve their products… In a big hurry.