Last Saturday, like a apple fanboy, except dressed like a pc, I went to the local apple store and bought an iPad. I had decided not to- they're just oversized iPods. I was going to wait for the HP slate or MS Courier to drop. But news started to trickle out - Netflix was available day one, and Hulu was 'working on it'. And I remembered waiting on the iPhone because "Windows Mobile 7 is coming out." Now, 4 cycles of iPhone later with WiMo7 still "about to come out", I don't regret my switch. So, following spousal approval, I went to the Apple store and picked one up, thinking I'd sell it on ebay if i didn't like it. Will I regret jumping in the iPad frenzy? Time will tell, but here's my two bits on a week with the gadget.
First, the bad. Hardware teardowns reveal that the iPad is, in fact, pretty much a large iPod touch. The UI is not much different from the phone, and $500 for an oversized iPod with only 16 gb storage is steep. The keyboard is also a little clumsy. It's too small to two hand type, but too large to thumb. It's growing on me, and I'm typing this on it, but natural it's not. Finally, iBooks scares me. I'm reading a Michael Chriton book now, and it works great, but I worry that I will always need an Apple device to read it. I like the idea of chipping away at the cluttered bookshelves in my house, but it bugs me that to read it again in 10 years, I'll need Sr. Jobs latest creation. I suppose it's the same with music, but drm just seems even worse against the written word.
With that out of the way, I love this thing. I haven't opened my laptop once at home since I got it. For checking email, weather, news, reading books, watching netflix, or the limited number of available tv shows (Lost and V), it's the bees knees. It's instant on, light, easy, and fun. You quickly realize that there are so many everyday things that an oversized iPod is really well suited for. And, I should mention, it's an oversized iPod with a beautiful right sized screen, a fast processor, and a nice 10 hour battery. Painting with Brushes on this device is much fun, and I hope to be picking up that again soon.
In the end, the iPad is a netbook killer. Light, and fast, its suited for most common home uses. For work, a few things like more support for stylus note-taking (looking at you Evernote) may make it more handy. This one's not going on eBay any time soon...unless that Courier drops tomorrow.
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