As Sumocat mentioned earlier today, we hit a snag with our iPad weekend coverage. I hadn’t planned on buying an iPad, but figured we should have one around on day one. I drove to the Apple Store at about 2PM and was somewhat surprised that there was no line at all. The store was packed with people playing with demo iPads, but the buying rush was over. I was in and out in about two minutes. I picked up a 32GB iPad because they were out of 16GB models. There was a huge stack of them behind the counter and I was told there were a lot more 16GB models coming in towards the end of the day. There is no shortage of iPads, at least here in San Francisco.
I unboxed my iPad and synched it to my MacBook Pro. I considered setting it up with one of my PCs, but decided to sync it with my MacBook Pro after Kevin Purcell told me that his iPad is not charging with his PC. One thing that’s frustrating is that the you can’t start using the iPad until you sync it with your computer. It’s kind of a buzz kill, but after updating to the latest version of iTunes I was good to go.
I’ve only just begun to really dig into the iPad, but here are some of my initial impressions:
- The iPad is a lot thinner than I’d expected. Sure, I saw the photos like everyone else, but it was still surprising
- The iPad itself feels extremely solid and well built. It feels very similar to a MacBook Pro in terms of materials and quality.
- Typing on the iPad is incredibly frustrating. In landscape mode, the keyboard is simply too big to type on with my thumbs, even though I have big hands. You can forget about typing with two hands in any way that resembles using a real, physical keyboard. If you plan on writing a lot you’d better get the iPad keyboard doc.
- Playing iPhone games, such as Madden 2010 is a lot easier and more fun. I have a lot of games that aren’t optimized for iPad and there’s actually a lot of detail that I never noticed before. On the downside, everything’s incredibly pixelated.
- Apple really needs to make it possible to charge the iPad with a PC. I tried charging it on several notebooks, my TouchSmart all-in-one PC, and my MacBook Pro. Apple was aware that this would happen according to the iPad manual, but didn’t bother to warn anyone about this issue. I’m sure at least some customers will be returning their iPads because of this issue.
- It was nice to see video ‘just working’ on sites like NYTimes.com and YouTube. However, there are a lot of sites that rely on Flash, which means it’s hit or miss as you browse the Interwebs with the iPad. Geeks will understand what’s going on, but a lot of users are going to be frustrated.
- The iPad needs a second speaker. When holding the display in landscape mode it’s irritating that the sound is coming out of just one side. It might not matter at all on a smaller device like the iPhone, but it feels like something’s missing here.
- Browsing the App store isn’t as fun with iPad sized app prices. One of the joys of shopping in the App Store with the iPhone is that pretty much everything is cheap enough to buy on impulse. The App store is now stacked with $7.99, $9.99 and $14.99 apps.
- The screen rotation lock is a great feature that Apple should carry over to the iPhone.
- News apps like USA Today are nice , but in my opinion don’t really do enough to warrant being independent apps. Why can’t these guys just apply stylesheets to their sites for iPad visitors?
I recorded a call with Sumocat where we discussed the iPad in depth. I’m going to bring the iPad to Easter tomorrow to see what my family of non-geeks think about the device.