The iPad, the first 30 or so hours

So, I went ahead and did it: I got an iPad. Here’s the scoop so far:

I’ve been interested in some kind of tablet/electronic textbook sort of tool for a long time, so when the long-rumored and poorly named Apple iPad finally appeared, warts and all, I was intrigued, but I wasn’t that crazy about ordering one before I actual saw one/touched one. Then I started seeing more and more hype, more and more cool apps. I think the one that really changed my mind was Netflix– I don’t know, but that just seemed like something I had to have, and I regretted not pre-ordering.

We were planning on having Bill and Leslie HD down for dinner iPad talk Saturday (Leslie wanted one big-time too), and I figured I would take my chances at the Apple store. I wasn’t willing to wait in line, so the plan was to go by about 10 am and see what I could do. I figured I would at least be able to order one. Well, Leslie called before that, said she was at a Best Buy and she could buy one for me if I wanted it. Oh yes, I wanted, I wanted.

I went to the Apple store anyway, and truth be told, I think I could have gotten one. They had quite an orderly set-up: people who were going to buy got in line in a designated area, and everyone else was free to browse/monkey with the demo models. I would be surprised if getting them on Monday or Tuesday of this week at the store will be a problem.

I’m not going to bother to rehash all the various reviews, praises, and condemnations that have come out over the iPad, but I will offer a few scattered impressions after having one for just over a day now:

  • It is super-duper zippy with everything, browsing, email, the apps, etc. Surprisingly fast.
  • The lack of flash thing isn’t that big of a deal to me, though I don’t regularly use a lot of super-intense flash kinds of sites, either. And I don’t care that much about not being able to run multiple apps at the same time. And I don’t care that it doesn’t have a camera or a phone because I have an iPhone already. Which leads me to the next point:
  • It is definitely not a substitute for a laptop and it isn’t quite a netbook either. It really is like a giant iTouch, and I mean that as a good thing. The capabilities it has over an iTouch are nice, and the size of the display makes a huge (no pun intended) difference.
  • The apps that are not iPad ready are fine to me, and for some of them, the bigger buttons is kind of a plus, like those over-sized remote controls they sell for old people. Kinda nice. Of the iPad native apps I’ve played with so far, I really like IMDB, the NPR app, the weather bug app, and the USA Today app (and I don’t usually read that paper).
  • As for the well-publicized iBook reader: I think it’s totally sweet, especially when I combine it with the iPad version of Kindle. But what I really REALLY like is that there is already the app I was really wanting, something that would allow me to take notes on PDFs. It’s called iAnnotatePDFs, and it’s a perfect example of how the size of the screen matters because this would be completely unworkable on the iPhone. It’s far from a perfect app, but it I’ll do what I need it to do, and considering the fact that the iPad has only been on the market for a day, it’s a pretty good start.
  • Last but not least: the long life of the battery is no joke, and the keyboard issue is not that big of a deal to me. I wrote this on the virtual keyboard in landscape mode, and for me, I can basically touch-type on it. I might get a separate keyboard eventually, but I’m in hurry.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go back and play around with this thing….

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