121 Comments

Summary:

After spending less than 24 hours with the iPad, I can confidently stay two things: One, it will re-define how we consume information and how we interact with information. And two, it will surely make us think differently about the very idea of computing.

So I was going to go to the Apple Store and stand in line to buy an iPad — if I could. Instead, I ended up staying up really late, playing around with the review unit I received from Apple and as a result, didn’t get to sleep till 3:30 a.m. And now I’m extremely tired. So I will get to the Apple store a little late, check out the retail display and if I can, will buy an iPad.

So much has already been written about the iPad that I wonder if my review will really say anything new. I mean, what’s the point of repeating the feature-oriented stuff that’s already been written? Most of it is banal and predictable. Instead, I wonder if you have any questions I can answer. If you do, please leave them in the comments and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. Now remember, this is based on less than a day’s use of the iPad.

Now let me give you some of my impressions of the device. They may seem a little disjointed but bear with me, for it will be a while before I can make up my mind. One of the hardest things about the iPad has nothing to do with the device itself — but rather is about the legacy of computing we have in our head. (Related: Why I Am Excited About the iPad.)

Almost inadvertently, you will start out looking for the keyboard, the mouse and essentially a less interactive experience with this device. This isn’t going to change anytime soon — don’t let anyone tell you it will — because our brains have been programmed to type on a keyboard and use a mouse/trackpad to navigate through the computer. It will take a long time before we are completely de-programmed. Perhaps that’s why it will feel absolutely normal to kids and others who don’t typically use computers all day.

Since I like to store bookmarks, PDFs, photos and videos — everything, really — in Evernote, it was the first app that I downloaded. I started writing my blog post in Evernote — a very typical thing for me to do. I wasn’t sure how I would take to the virtual keyboard on the iPad.

Sure, I can type really really fast on the iPhone keyboard, but the iPad keyboard was an unknown. In the past, when using virtual keyboards on tablet-sized computers, I’ve been disappointed. So with some trepidation, I tried typing on the iPad. So far, what was virtually impossible for me to do on other devices feels almost natural on this one.

To be honest, I haven’t spent much time creating content — instead I have been consuming content voraciously. I have downloaded about 25 apps so far and most of them are oriented around reading, watching and entertainment. The vivid colors of the gorgeous 9.7-inch screen do actually make a lot of difference and make consuming content more enjoyable. Among the apps I’ve downloaded:

* Kindle for iPad: I think it’s a great substitute for those of us who have invested heavily in the Kindle ecosystem. I have been buying fewer and fewer books on Kindle lately, mostly because I prefer the old-fashioned book format. But I see the iPad as a perfect way to carry my Kindle books when traveling.

* Netflix for iPad: Even though it has some rough edges, Netflix for iPad is a perfect app for this platform. I normally stream a movie or television show to my laptop before falling asleep and I can easily see iPad becoming an even easier way of watching movies. Last night (or was it this morning?), I watched the BBC show “Wire in the Blood” (season 5) before I got some shut-eye. I felt more immersed in the show compared to watching it on my laptop.

* This morning, I read all the papers I normally read on my laptop on the iPad: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Now this is where things get exciting. With a few taps and a little touch, I am interacting just with the story on a one-on-one basis. It does feel more personal. I am not yet convinced why I should really pay for the apps for these outlets, though.

That’s it for now. I will be back soon with further impressions.

Related iPad content from GigaOM Pro, including our exclusive forecast of iPad sales and sales of iPad-related applications

  1. Go to any one of the billions of websites that run Flash, and the iPad will show it so so perfectly.

    Share
    1. And your question/point being? I am not so sure I understand.

      Share
      1. Lack of Flash for consuming content is just one of the many missing features that makes the iPad fall short of being a really useful device. It’s larger, netbook-size, an oversized iPod Touch, and does the same things as a Touch. As for a really revolutionary machine interaction experience, maybe Apple should push the wearable technology envelope alot more. A virtual keyboard on a larger device is a poor mimic of a physical keyboard and mouse. For convenient information snacking on the go, just whip out the phone from your pocket. For more content consumption, and creation, there’s the netbook or laptop, and the desktop. The iPad just doesn’t fit the space between a Touch or a phone, and a netbook or laptop.

        Share
      2. So many people seem to point to lack of Flash support as a killer, which I continue to not understand. There isn’t a single site that I use on a regular basis that relies on Flash. There is no important content-rich site that requires Flash. If you want games, then of course, but the iPad concentrates on native-app gaming, for obvious reasons.

        Share
    2. Good point. One of the biggest strengths of the iPad is that it DOESN’T support Flash.

      It already has YouTube, as well as Hulu, plenty of music streaming and Netflix as I hear. Who needs Flash, again?

      Share
      1. Flash is required when you want to watch the earth quake video on CNN.

        Share
      2. CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and man many more have dropped the requirement of having Flash to watch video. This is a good thing as in 2010 should we be depending on a proprietary plugin just to watch video?

        CNN is included in Apple’s showcase here:
        http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/

        Bye Flash, I will not miss you!

        Share
      3. thanks,
        That is impressive. Its still needs few names there, Discovery, BBC .. Overall it in interesting to watch APPLE forcing everybody to adapt HTML5.

        Share
    3. Tim, here’s the million dollar question: Have you actually used an iPad?

      Didn’t think so.

      Share
      1. Josh, here’s the thirty million netbooks answer: It’s Saturday, April 3, 2010. You should go down to an Apple store or Best Buy and use the iPad to check out the bazallion websites that use Flash.

        Didn’t think so.

        Share
      2. Tim raises a good point, but not a good argument to back it up. 30m netbooks weren’t sold because of Flash. More important factors caused the sales, chief among them, the long battery life and portability of a usable mobile computer. Those happen to be two primary aspects of the iPad. Lack of Flash will bother some, but it clearly didn’t hurt iPad sales, just like it hasn’t stopped Apple from selling more iPhones than netbooks from all PC makers combined.

        Share
      3. You guys are kidding yourselves. The only reason netbooks sold were because of the price. And you know what? Once you actually played with them you found that they were underpowered and not really very good.

        30,000,000 netbooks sound like a lot. But not a huge figure when you split that across all the companies that sell netbooks. If you look at the iPhone however it has now cleared 42.48 Million units as of Quarter 1, 2010 which tends to cut down the success of netbooks buy over 25%.

        So Tim, keep telling yourself that the iPad is going to fail because of the lack of Flash and then consider that the iPad can view all the web sites that the iPhone can access.

        Flash is dead. It’s just thrashing around.

        Share
      4. They have sold more like 100 Million netbooks thus far. The netbook is about to be about 50% of the global laptop market. The main reason netbooks are popular I think is because they are cheaper than previous laptops. More than 60% of laptop and netbook users never take it outside their homes, so battery runtime is not an important factor.

        The ipad is not cheap at all, especially compared to the upcoming Android tablets that are going to sell below $200 and not come with any of the camera/usb-host/video-codecs/Pixel-Qi hardware problems of the ipad.

        Share
      5. Lack of Flash for consuming content is just ONE of the many missing features that makes the iPad fall short of being a really useful device. Steve Jobs compared the iPad to the netbook, and the netbook does more and cost less than the iPad. As important as long battery life and portability of a usable mobile computer (by the way, it can be said that iPad isn’t a computer when the iPad needs to be synched to a computer to even get it started for the first time), is also the more affordable price of netbooks. The 3 years of constant Apple overhyped hasn’t stopped RIM from selling more Blackberries than iPhones, nor has the iPhone OS toppled Symbian as the most dominant smartphone OS on the planet. And here comes Android.

        Share
    4. eheheh

      Share
    5. What are the top 3 sites that you currently regularly visit that would be unusable on the iPad?

      Share
      1. On a netbook, using the Chrome browser, since app version is inferior experience compared to using Chrome: Farmville, abs-cbn.com- 2 of top 3 would be unusable on an iPad. Number 3, of course, is Apple fan, gigaom.com. By the way, not very likely that Chrome nor Firefox will be on the iPad soon.

        Share
    6. The flash whining is getting old now. I don’t think the thousands of new iPad owners miss it at all.

      Share
  2. Om – check out Zillow on iPad – really curious what you think of the new photo-driven home shopping experience built for the iPad

    Share
  3. Dear Om,

    Can you pick one up for me when you do manage to leave the house and send it to the UK please? I don’t think i can wait another month. Its killing me :-(

    (more seriously, now that you’ve used it which is the model you think most should go for storage wise?)

    Share
    1. Haha. Well hopefully I think you guys get one soon. I would say the 32 Gb is the perfect model in my opinion. Price wise. I do want a 3G version though — I am not sure if WiFi one is enough ;-)

      Share
      1. I was toying with the 3G but i have an iPhone which i use constantly when I’m on the move, so can’t personally justify spending an additional $130 (or rather the pound sterling equivalent) plus the monthly rental.

        You’re right about the 32gb – that seems to hit the right spot, although the 64gb is so so tempting.

        I’m now going to go away to an ashram for the next month to avoid more heartbreak as I watch all you Americans cavorting with the device. And I thought the US and UK had a special relationship. Pah!

        Give us our Jonathan Ive back thats what I say! :)

        Share
  4. At least one reviewee suggests waiting for the next version (next year, perhaps) when the price should be lower and the features more robust. What do you think?

    Share
    1. I am pretty sure that is what is going to happen but that happens for all devices to be honest.

      Share
    2. Generally Apple keep the price point but up the specs. The iPhone is a special case in that it is still selling for the same price just the carriers are ponying up the difference.

      Share
  5. Hello,

    Any word on the ABC app on 3G? So far, I’ve only seen Wi-FI. Thanks!

    Share
    1. There is no 3G model available just yet so nothing I can say about that.

      Share
    2. Andy Ihnatko demoed the Netflix App streamed via his mi-fi on fox on Friday. The demo is around 8 minutes or so in.

      The episode can be viewed:

      http://media2.foxnews.com/040210/040210_strat_gadgetspodcast_20100402_150714_FNC_040210_16-19_FNC_MED.mp4

      Share
  6. Based on your experience and day-to-day tasks, iPad will take away your time from which device(s) and by how much?

    Share
    1. I would say it can easily siphon away about 3-4 hours of usage for me. I typically use computers for between 14-16 hours a day so from that perspective i see it becoming a pretty important device for me

      Share
  7. Om – how is the sound? We all know that sound on iPhone is not gr8. Curious about ipad sound. Also, how is the book reading on the eyes in the night?

    • thanks
    Share
    1. The sound is pretty robust and is good when watching a TV show or a movie. The sound on the music side of things is pretty stunning when coupled with a decent set of headphones.

      Share
  8. I so miss not being in US at this time. I would love to be in one of those lines for buying apple products and this would have been the perfect occasion. Michael Arrington says it is a perfect device for business use too, do you agree?

    Share
    1. I wouldn’t go as far as that just yet. I think it is prudent to say that with right apps and usage, we can eventually get there.

      Share
  9. How is the battery life?

    Share
    1. The battery life is pretty awesome. I got about 11 hours out of it on the first charge.

      Share
  10. Did you read the newspapers on the browser or thru’ their apps? is the WSJ app a better experience than the browser version ?
    Doe it ge hot when playing media ?

    Share
    1. Shiva

      Most of the newspaper sites I visited were on the web and not apps. I have not had time to check out all apps just yet.

      Share

Comments have been disabled for this post