iPad First Impressions…Yeah, I Broke Down and Got One

After all my initial thoughts about the iPad being an interesting curiosity that I would probably pass on getting, I found myself in Best Buy checking out the latest Apple phenomenon. I picked one up, played with it for a bit, and found the graphics and display speed more impressive than I expected. The applications that were optimized for the iPad are excellent and make full use of the increased screen real estate. I played some music to check the speaker volume, ran through several of the photos that were available, and watched a few scenes from several movies in both portrait and landscape orientation prior to giving the onscreen keyboard a brief test. Since I was curious about how well the ereader worked, I opened up a few books and paged through a couple before turning the device off and being favorably impressed with its dimensions ans overall build quality. Then I left the store and went home.

Once I got home, I spent a little time reflecting on how to justify a potential purchase. How would an iPad factor into my current inventory including an iMac, a MacBook, and an iPhone? Could an iPad replace my Kindle 2? Would I be able to use the iPad as a substitute for my MacBook when my needs are best suited by a slim multi-media internet device? I wasn’t sure of the answers to these questions so I returned to the store so that I could buy an iPad and conduct a proper study to resolve these important issues. That’s the best I can do with a meager effort in justification.

My initial thoughts: The packaging is simple and straight-forward but not as stylish and fashionable as I’m used to seeing from Apple. The screen is gorgeous but the device is much heavier (over half a pound) than the Kindle. Although the screen is much bigger allowing for greater use of the wonderful keyboard, the device isn’t as comfortable to use for extended typing as a notebook computer, but it comes pretty close in landscape mode.

Multi-media is where the device excels. It’s much better for watching movies than an iPhone or iPod touch. Viewing pictures is a joy. Web surfing with full page functionality is simply amazing and you can keep up with your social networking sites to your hearts content. There aren’t many things I don’t like about having an iPad so far (aside from wondering whether I really needed to get one), but as I spend more time with the device, we’ll see if it answers the questions I asked myself after playing around with the ones on display in the store. Right now, things are going well but it’s still early. If all goes well, the Kindle may be headed to eBay and my Sprint MiFi high speed wireless network may become a frequent take along companion on extended travels.

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