Now that it's been out for a week, I finally made my way to an Apple Store to check out the iPad in person. There isn't much I can say here that hasn't already been discussed in reviews where people spent more than five minutes with the iPad, but that won't stop me from writing.
1: The iPad Makes Me Look Fat
My first impression of the iPad wasn't very good because it was an unflattering reflection of my own face leaning down over it. I've been putting on weight for the past couple of years and recently decided that it's time to get serious about shedding the pounds. If the iPad did anything for me, it proved that decision was necessary and past due.
Get used to seeing your jowls hang down off your face in the reflection, unless you're already perfectly fit. Every once in a while, you're going to catch a reflection of yourself that you just do not want to see. It's an uncommon angle for most people to view themselves. I'm already lifting weights and started up my cardio again, but using an iPad will definitely make you think twice about your next meal.
2: The iPad is Fat
By that, I mean that the iPad weighs too much. I've read that in other reviews and comments, but I still wasn't quite prepared for the actual weight of this device. It's deceptively slim in appearance, but the weight reminded me of a college algebra textbook full of assignments I didn't want to complete. Given that the iPad is mostly battery weight, I understand its heft. I don't care, though. Future versions of this thing need to trim the weight, probably down to half a pound. A pad needs to be light and easy to hold. Whatever else the iPad may be, it's not light enough.
3: It Didn't Blow Me Away
There are people all over the Internet who are either gushing about the iPad or condemning Apple to hell because of what it does or doesn't do. I didn't feel any emotional attachment to it at all. Yes, I was very impressed with the clarity of the screen. If any part of the iPad came close to blowing me away, it was iBooks. Many people expressed concerns about reading on a tablet without e-Ink technology. I've seen the Kindle and I like this much better.
My initial perusal in the iBookStore found a pretty weak selection of titles to purchase. I'm not overly concerned. iTunes didn't start with every song in the catalog, but it turned into the premier place to buy music online. Letting Apple and Amazon battle for this market should, I hope, be good for consumers. The rest of the apps on the iPad seemed snappy and performed as expected. Perhaps that's why I wasn't blown away. It does a very good job of meeting high expectations, but nothing about it exceeded my expectations. That left me focusing on the gaping flaw – the weight.
That's my initial list. Unlike my MacBook Pro or iPhone, or even my first iPod, this device doesn't excite me at first touch. Maybe I'm becoming a bit jaded to Apple product releases, or maybe it's because this isn't really as magical as Apple keeps telling us it is.
I'm not disappointed in it, though. I ordered a 32 GB iPad+3G and I'm looking forward to its delivery in a couple of weeks. Not so much because it's a new toy, but I actually have some uses for it where my iPhone, iMac and MacBook Pro just don't fit. I think the idea of using it for video on the go or as a book reader as excellent features, but they're incidental to my needs. Once I have it, I'll likely lug it around to places where I wouldn't take my MacBook Pro.
With that in mind, I'd say that Apple succeeded with its stated goal of creating a place for a new device between an iPhone and a full-fledged computer. It won't work for everyone because there's no point in it for them. To me, the iPad is like a toaster oven. I don't always need the full range for cooking and a weaker appliance is just right. My expectation is to use the iPad like an appliance. We'll see how that works out.