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The iPad has been out here in the U.S. for 48 hours and many us here at TheAppleBlog have been using ours obsessively in that time. Here are our first impressions.
Waited outside in the cold for 15 hours. Store opened at 9AM. Had it at 9:08. Interviewed by a variety of local reporters and Molly Wood on CBS. The iPad is heavier than I expected. Very smooth transitions. Apps designed specifically for the iPad are beautiful. Apps that haven’t been adapted for the iPad are ugly in full screen mode. Typing with two fingers is fast. Typing with ten fingers seems impossible so far. I can’t wait to try all the new apps, but for now I must sleep.
Apps are significantly faster, virtually instant on the iPad. I’d appreciate a faster bootup time, though. The sound is incredible and unexpectedly brilliant. Netflix streaming and LogMeIn are killer apps for this device. I also like Gmail’s new iPad web interface for email. The smudges on the screen are frustrating me, though. I’ll wait for screen protectors, though as we know you won’t find those at the Apple store. The most annoying aspect of the iPad is the inability to easily share it with others. Unlike a MacBook or a netbook, I can’t login with my own settings. Sharing it with the spouse is proving to be a problem and I’m sure not going to buy two! I’m using the Facebook App while anyone else that uses it has to use the web interface. For other things like twitter, we are using different clients.
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The iPad just might deserve the “magical” moniker. This device is an absolute joy to hold and use. It feels very responsive and quite fast compared to an iPhone. I fired up the Netflix app and started a movie, launched the ABC Player app and watched a show and I felt like I was visiting the future. Can’t wait for Hulu. I think Apple got the screen size just right and the orientation lock was a better choice than the original mute switch. Native apps are wonderful, but iPhone apps on iPad are only so-so (especially true for games).
I think the iPad will highlight the importance of good UX design in software. There is just enough room on the screen that well designed interfaces are going to shine on the iPad. It was possible to scoot by with a simple, list-based UI on the iPhone. That approach will not cut it here. The early efforts on native apps like Omnigraffle and Twitterrific for iPad (amazing to think that they were designed with only a simulator) show just how good native iPad software can be.
The interface is incredibly responsive and video playback is immediate. The virtual keyboard is a lot better than I expected; typing is faster than on my iPod touch, especially in landscape mode. It’s also heavier than I expected and my arms got a little tired in the five minutes that I played with it, but they weren’t falling off. The hardware is sleek: Imagine taking the screen off a MacBook Pro and adding some thickness.
First thoughts are this thing is heavy. It has some weight to it and takes a minute to figure out the best way to hold it. Second, it makes my iPhone look tiny after using the iPad for a while then move to the iPhone. Third, fast. The iPad screams with the speed. Snappy and loads things super quick. Fourth, my new favorite app, ABC Player. Great quality video and the speed is again fast. Fifth, non-iPad apps look like garbage. The look of these apps makes me not want not want to use them. iDisk and Gallery apps are great examples of how these iPhone apps do not look great on the iPad. It is a neat idea that Apple used to blow the size of the apps up to fit the iPad screen but I think that it makes the apps less appealing on the iPad.
A few things I really like on the OS. When you plug in the iPad you get a pop up window on the lock screen that tells you the percent the battery is charged. Nifty little addition. The screen rotation switch is amazing. The speakers are not awful like I thought they would be. The last is the little flower icon on the lock screen, a nice touch to make the iPad a picture frame while it is docked and charging.
The screen is never better than I had imagined. I have no problems withe the virtual keyboard and can even thumb type in landscape mode. It’s very fast and responsive. The Zinio app is amazing. It’s the virtual magazine reader I’ve always wanted. I’m less happy Apple is apparently censoring what Zinio can display in the device. I’m finding Pages to be harder to figure out than I expected. It seems not very Apple-ey, in that there is an extra step to complete a task. I’m also not thrilled you can’t create your own templates, and moving files isn’t intuitive. I’m also amazed it doesn’t support iDisk.
iPhone apps in 2x mode look like crap.
So far all I have been doing has been content consumption. I’m looking forward to creating content this week.
As others have mentioned, my first impression was that the iPad felt a lot heavier than I expected. Sure, we all knew that it weighed in at 1.5 pounds but I know I didn’t have any sort of real idea of how it felt to hold a device with that weight. I still haven’t figured out a really good way to hold the device for reading.
The device is blazing fast and all the iPad-specific apps I’ve tried have been beautiful. iPhone apps blown up on the iPad look awful. But those few issues aside, it’s just plain fun to use.