At last, the new iPad has arrived. This post will capture my very early impressions. I will have more to say after I have gotten to work with it a bit more.
First, the setup was smooth and was done using a backup I had stored in the iCloud. That was really neat, and it saved a lot of time — I was done in less than 5 minutes. I was up and running in just a few minutes. After the initial setup was done, I went back in and changed some sync preferences since this iPad had a little more space so I could carry some movies with me now.
The display is absolutely amazing. The HD clarity is a big improvement over the iPad 2. The dictation feature seems to work well also. The device itself looks almost identical to the predecessor. If I had to say anything, it might be a tad heavier, but if it is actually it can’t be by much.
More to come later as I use the device a little more. At this point, I say “well done, Apple!”
Thanks to my wonderful assistant, I am now a user of a new iPad 2. I have had a chance to use it for a few weeks and have a couple of observations. Impressive device, overall, with some new key features.
First, it is much thinner. The specifications suggest 30 percent or so smaller, which when you set it along side a version 1 model, you will notice that it is a significant. It slides nicely into my briefcase, and takes less space. It’s also slightly lighter, but less noticeable than it’s overall footprint.
With the A5 processor, it is faster. I am definitely noticing that while I have used it so far. Cameras on both front and back are new also, which creates the opportunity to do a video teleconference.
Adding the dongle accessory, I can also do full screen sharing which has already come in handy. We had an important executive presentation a few weeks ago where we ran the entire slideshow and related demonstrations on the iPad connected to a large HD monitor through an HDMI cable.
The most noticeable thing overall, in my opinion, is the anti-smudging material for the screen. Unless you have been enjoying some greasy fried chicken, the iPad 2 screen stays relatively free of smudges. When I set my iPhone next to it, the difference is really noticeable.
The market has responded well. There are a number of reports about how many have been sold, and extended delivery dates, and so on. The most compelling statistic, in my opinion is that 70% of buyers in the first weekend were first time buyers. This is telling me that the tablet is not a fad — it’s here to stay.
I was one of the 50,000 who got in on the first pre-order from Apple for my iPad. I bought the 64 GB model. I was very excited when it arrived, so I immediately opened it and started playing with it. I found it very easy to setup and run, but that’s not a surprise after I don’t know how many iPods I have bought and setup for myself and my family.
Let’s get the criticism out of the way at this point. Here are the key things I see as deficiencies with the current version of the iPad, in no particular order:
- No camera
- No USB port
- Screen gets dirty very easily (easy solution: 3M Electronics Cleaning Cloth — works great!)
- Glare in bright rooms has been problematic
- Ability to multi-task applications
- Limited number of applications in the early days — was surprised that some key apps did not have an iPad version (e.g. Facebook)
- Maybe a little heavy for its size?
- I know the 3G version is coming, but do I really need to pay for internet access (data plan) a third time?
There’s a bunch of reasons to love this device, however. The 1 gHz processor is plenty snappy, especially compared with my 1st generation iPhone. The applications optimized for iPad, such as iBooks and YouTube, really work well. I also am enjoying the USA Today on the iPad. It feels almost like I am reading the paper. The best use I came up with so far is to share YouTube videos with a colleague during an impromptu meeting. No searching for the cord to connect to a projector or using crappy laptop sound. Using my clever protective case (from Apple) and the speakers in the iPad, I quickly started and ran a video with no disruption to the flow of the meeting. This is very good.
My next steps are to continue to walk around and use this as a productivity tool. I intend to buy at least some of the iWork tools offered. Inside the corporate firewall, we may have a printing and file sharing solution. More on that later. I am also awaiting a VGA adaptor, which will allow me to connect to a projector. That will make for some interesting demonstrations, to be sure.
All in all, I would characterize myself as one who likes this technology, however, I am not a raging fan. This is a very solid first release, true to Apple’s form. If I were going to buy this myself for personal use, I can’t say with absolute certainty that I would make the investment. I think it’s too early to tell how this tablet computing market will play out. But while we wait, I will enjoy downloading more applications to my iPad and get as much out of it as I can.
This week’s announcement by Apple was once again flawlessly executed. It reminded me a lot of a church sermon. By the time you are done, you realized that what Jobs is selling is exactly what you didn’t know you needed. Apple knows how to do a rollout, that’s for sure. It’s this kind of buzz which will send many of the early adopters to an all-night vigil the night before the device is available at their local Apple store.
I have been following the conversation via Twitter this week, and my anecdotal assessment is that the reception was very much mixed. The name of the device (iPad) has a negative connotation to its female audience — I didn’t think of that right away (duh), but that was a pretty big deal. Also, I’m not sure I really need a big iPhone. I have one already and it wouldn’t replace any of my existing devices. The relationship with AT&T for 3G service isn’t a strong selling point. I hear it is opening to other carriers later, but that will take some time. I was surprised that the camera wasn’t included either.
There is a lot there to be excited about, though. When I think about some of the applications running on my iPhone, a larger screen size would make movies and games a much better experience. I am sure with Apple’s reputation for quality, the device will operate flawlessly.
Tablet computing has been evolving for some time now. Is this the breakthrough that will finally help the idea come of age? Or, are we still not ready for it? Only time will tell. I will still get one at work for experimentation. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.