In the last 24 hours, I spoke to five of my friends that got their hands on Apple’s iPad. All five of them are avid iPhone users, so keep that in mind as you read their opinions. Here are their sentiments, along with my thoughts on them.
The Form Factor is Sexy and Useful — Well duh. For the most part, Apple’s products always look good. My pals said that the iPad feels great and they can see themselves using it on the couch or in bed. All five raved about the its looks, but to me it looks like another Apple product. That’s not a bad thing at all, but I have to think they’re drawn in by the newness of the iPad and Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field”.
The Virtual Keyboard is Good — Four out of five of my friends (as opposed to dentists that recommend Trident gum) loved the virtual keyboard. They said the ample screen made typing very accurate. I’m sure that’s the case, but I can’t see typing for an extended period of time on this thing. The lack of tactile feedback is one thing, but typing on a hard surface can’t possibly be comfortable. I loathe the virtual keyboard on my (sim-less) iPhone and while I imagine that the iPad’s is better simply because of its size, I doubt that I’ll “like” it.
The good news is that one of my friends asked a rep about other wireless keyboards for the iPad and was told that any Bluetooth keyboard will work with the device. I hope that’s true.
It’s Just Like Using an iPhone — I think everyone was expecting this. On the plus side, it has the same simplicity and ease-of-use that the iPhone and iPod Touch have. The downer is it had the same limitations (no multitasking…yet) and quirks that the iPhone and iPod Touch have. When I was irked about the lack of multitasking, one of my friends said, “You do most of your work on your browser and Google Docs so why do you care?” He has a point. I could work efficiently on an iPad, but I would like multitasking and I’m sure many of you would too.
The Processor is Snappy — Continuing with the “iPad is the Mark McGwire of iPhones” theme, the device sports a zippy processor. Considering that some of the planned games and apps for the iPad are more robust than the iPhone’s, this was totally necessary. For entertainment purposes, the firepower was needed to play high-quality video at 1,024×768. Hopefully the fast processor will lead to multitasking on the iPad at a future date.
The Screen is Lovely…But Not Widescreen — As I noted yesterday, the iPad has a strange aspect ratio for this day and age. Considering it’s being positioned as a data consumption device, it’s unusual that it’s 16:9. All five of my friends at the event were puzzled by this and none of them could get a good answer.
Apple is Being Mum on VoIP — I was annoyed that only one of my friends asked if Skype would work on the iPad. It can and it should, but the communications aspect of the device were not mentioned at all. My friend that asked this question was met with a big IDK. If Apple blocks Skype on the iPad, its usefulness to me goes down by 44 percent.
No Camera? — Considering how cheap a 640×480 camera would be and how large the iPad’s bezel is, three out of five of my friends were shocked that it didn’t have a camera. It seems like it would be a great device for video chatting. I’m with you brothers!
GPS Mystery — The WiFi only models of the iPad lack any kind of GPS. The WiFi + 3G models have assisted GPS. Two of my friends asked if it had “real” GPS and were met with crickets (not actual crickets or the Disney variety).
24 hours later, the device is less interesting for me. I have an iPhone 3GS and I’m getting hooked up with a Kindle this week. The iPad is cool and beautiful, but for the price of the high-end model, I can get a pretty powerful thin-and-light notebook from Asus that would be way more useful. I do think the iPad can be a productive and entertaining device, but my bases are covered already.
So there you have it! Given the information I received from my five pals at the event, has your opinion on the iPad changed?