We went to the University Village Apple store this morning to get our iPads. We got to the store after 11am, 2 hours after it opened, and there was a long line to get in. Oh no, I thought. But that was the line for people who didn’t reserve one. We did reserve ours so we got right in. Ha ha. They assigned a guy to us who made sure we understood the iPad and offered to sell us any accessories. How nice of him.
We got out 15 minutes later and went next door for lunch thinking we could play with the iPads. They require connecting them to iTunes before you can use them so we just had lunch and went home. It took an hour and 15 minutes to sync it before I could use it.
It’s pretty amazing. The big screen makes all the difference! Reading web sites has never been as good, it’s finally like having an electronic book/magazine. And I’m typing this on it with the WordPress app for the iPad.
Updated April 5: After using it for 2 days, here’s my short review…
I’ll never use a laptop again. I’ve never been a fan of laptops in the first place because they’re more expensive and less powerful than a desktop. I’ve never been one to take my laptop to a coffee shop to do work so I don’t need portability either. The iPad does everything that I could want from a portable computer. And with Apple’s camera connector kit (coming later this month), I can take it with me on trips and still be able to download photos from my camera, which is the only reason I ever take my laptop on trips.
The iPad is a better experience for browsing the web than even a desktop. Using a mouse and looking at a web browser on a screen will seem weird in a few years. I prefer the iPad to a desktop so much that this morning I sat at my desk in front of my desktop computer reading news and email on the iPad rather than my desktop.
I love the Kindle and was very skeptical that the iPad would replace it given the backlit screen, it’s higher weight and shorter battery life, but I’ve already switched to reading Kindle books that I’ve bought in the Kindle app on the iPad. iBooks is better than the Kindle because it can display color, has better/easier navigation and is much faster at turning pages. I’ll buy any new books using iBooks.
Typing on the iPad has taken some getting used to, but I’m getting better at it. I’m very fast on the iPhone, so I’m sure the iPad’s keyboard is workable. My biggest problem is hitting the space bar — using my thumb to hit it usually fails so I have to backspace a lot and retry the space bar often. I’m trying to train myself to use my fingers to hit the space bar but that’s unnatural for someone who has been typing for years.
Netflix finally released an app (iPad only for now) to allow me to watch movies on it and that’s a great experience. The kids are going to love that too. ABC also made an app that lets you watch full ABC TV shows on it, which is also a great experience.
The biggest negative so far is that it requires a high voltage USB port to charge it and I don’t have one of those on my desktop computer. Even the powered USB hub I have isn’t high voltage. So I can’t sync and charge it at the same time. I have to plug it into the wall when I want to charge it and then plug it into my computer to sync it. That’s going to be painful. Correction: it does charge from my USB ports, it just charges very slowly.
The iPad is going to be very successful. I’d argue that the majority of people don’t need anything more than an iPad and they can get rid of the immobile expensive computer taking up deskspace at home. I’m a software developer and even I only use my desktop for doing “real work” now. Frankly, when iPhone OS 4.0 comes out with multitasking, I will be able to do web development work on the iPad! If I don’t need a desktop, very few people do. Tech nerds who think they’re smart because they know 3-letter acronyms and the clock speed of the CPU in their computer won’t ever like a simple device like an iPad, but it’s the computer for the rest of us.
I hope other PC makers can wake up and make a tablet that doesn’t suck (hint: forget Windows, Microsoft will never figure out how to make a good UI, and put a good touch-focused UI on Linux!) because if they don’t, the iPad will be the only option for most people as their only computer. I think PCs are finally a dying breed of device.