Apr 032010

I’m usually not in line for 1st gen Apple products. It’s not that I don’t think they’ll be great; it’s that after having the desktop, laptop, smartphone and set top box categories covered, I just don’t feel the need to line up for products that don’t fill an obvious void.

I came around on the iPad roughly 2 weeks before SJ’s presentation, when it became obvious to me that a tablet computer from Apple was going to be a big deal. I followed some developers’ blogs and heard the cool stuff they were planning for the device. Then I saw Jobs’ presentation. The device’s implications for how we consume content was going to be big.

The pre-launch reviews on Thursday from the Pogue/Ihnatko/Mossberg Apple trinity were as swoon-tastic, as you’d expect. Apple also expanded their review unit program to a couple of other publications, with a couple of surprises. Bob Levitus (Houston Chronicle) and Stephen Fry (Time Magazine) got “Lifetime Appreciation” units (I assume Stephen got his before Time announced their iPad magazine pricing). Ed Baig from USA Today got the generic newspaper unit; Xeni Jardin from Boing Boing repped the edgy, hip publication. Tim Gideon from PC Magazine got one, a move I like to call “Smell the Glove, Bitches”. Some dude from theroot.com also got one. I can only assume some kind of Wonka lottery was held and he won.

So like several other mortal Apple bloggers, I bit the bullet and pre-ordered in mid-March. UPS taunted me up until the morning of April 3rd, showing my unit in China when I went to bed on the 2nd. But in the wee hours, my iPad made its way through Customs at EWR. Brown came through for me, as I imagine it did for Ballmer and Bezos when they read the reviews.

Dateline: 10:09 AM: Fistpump

Hello World! I own your face!

There’s about 10,000 other blogs who will rattle off the specs of the iPad, so I’m not going to go through the effort of copying and pasting someone else’s work. I’m going to assume you’re up on the device and likely lost if you happen to be reading my blog.

Here’s some of the things that surprised me about the device:

1. The keyboard. I hope to explode some freetard’s head by saying this: I can type 90% as fast on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard as I can on my MacBook or on an Apple wireless keyboard. I suspect some of this is because the keyboards are spaced similarly. What I do know is that the biggest obstacle for me – and a lot of people – to have the iPad serve as a laptop replacement is the quality of the keyboard.

2. Native Apps. There’s a few apps that showcase the iPad’s potential. Because I’m kind of a science nerd, I downloaded The Elements (it’s huge; be patient). Suffice it to say, if I had this app in 1988, I would have aced Chemistry. The intro song alone is worth the price of the app. It also showcases how absolutely stunning the iPad’s IPS screen is. Netflix was good enough to get me to reactivate my cancelled account. It is liquid awesome.

2b. Non-native apps. In the “slight frustration” column, 30 of the apps I had on my iPhone would not transfer to my iPad because they were not Universal (which in this case means runs on the iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad). I had assumed that all apps would run in “1x” or “iPhone-sized” mode right out of the box on the iPad. Not so. Out of the ones on my iPhone 3GS (approximately 1 metric shitton of apps), 1Password Pro, Facebook and 2Do are the ones that currently work for me.

–UPDATE 4/8: What I previously attributed to an issue with apps transitioning from the iPhone to the iPad was actually caused by Pogoplug. Long story short: having your iTunes Library (where your synced apps are) reside on a Pogoplug-connected drive is asking for trouble. If anyone knows a way to consistently make this work, I would love to hear about it in comments. Anyway: mea culpa. All apps I have downloaded from the app store or have since synced from my iTunes library (since i moved it locally) have successfully run in “1x/2x” mode.–

I assume a flood of apps will be updated in the next 48 hours to run on the iPad. Some developers may use this as an opportunity to optimize the program for the iPad’s additional real estate and possibly add features. It will be up to individual developers to decide if, when they make their apps compatible, they will charge anything additional for additional functionality.

3. The battery. I didn’t bother to charge the device before whaling on it, because I do not possess one ounce of restraint. The battery showed 92% pre-whaling. Starting at 10:30am, I commenced downloading a couple pages of apps (which I would argue chew through battery faster than video), and basically ran through every downloaded  or transferred app I could shove onto it. It’s 8pm now, and it’s still showing a 35% charge. I’m not going to say I ran this thing bumper-to-bumper running video the whole time, and the device did slip into sleep a few times, but for my use case, the battery performance was well into “holy shit”.

As I paw the iPad more, I’ll be sharing my observations/frustrations/snarky commentary with my tens of readers.

 Posted by at 8:09 pm  Tagged with:

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