Update (Apr 8th): Big thank you goes to @CanoeKing for letting me play around with his shiny new iPad, after he drove down to the US to buy it.
I was very impressed by the device’s responsiveness. It was quick and very smooth, especially when it comes to zooming in and out of a page. Remember those annoying checkerboard things when panning around a webpage on the iPhone? That is nowhere to be found on the iPad, everything loads and renders beautifully. Having said that, I’m still having doubts on the “iPad will save the publishing industry” idea. The screen is crisp and bright… but it is certainly NOT as book friendly as the eInk powered Kindle. Yes, the iPad lets read in the dark too… but your eyes get tired even faster in that case.
Lastly, the device is heavier than I expected but it feels sturdy and rock solid. However, in order to cut cost Apple left out the headphones and even the screen cloth that normally come with iPhones. To sum up, I was impressed with the device and the screen size makes many apps much easier and more fun to use. Let’s see what Apple can do with OS 4.x for the iPad and iPhone.
-introduce iAd for developers confirmed
-better app management on the device confirmed
-limited multi-tasking. (I say limited because I don’t think Apple will let you run as much apps until the memory gives out) confirmed
-more voice control options for the OS. ex. cut copy paste, speech to text nope
-better management of notifications. ex. SMS, push nope
-All mail folder in Mail app confirmed
-iBooks on iPhones confirmed
-More features added to moibleMe, esp iPad specific features nope
-OS 4.x will be released to iPad owners first? drops support for 1st Gen iPhone semi confirmed. iPad update actually comes out later than iPhones/Touch. 1st Gen iPhone/Touch is not supported. Multitasking is not supported for iPhone3G/2nd gen Touch <-Ouch!
iPad seems to be the hottest new gadget in town. Today Apple reported that 300, 000 units sold on US launch day, which is a lot better than the original iPhone. (but remember the original iPhone was a lot more expensive)
Personally, I never buy any first generation product, especially not from Apple. The company is known to introduce cool concept products into the market that need major polishing, especially on the software side. The iPad is essentially an iPod Touch with a 9.7 inch screen, and a slightly faster processor. It offers NO new features in the package other than the large screen real estate.
Apple is being smart in leveraging its position as a market leader to introduce a dirt cheap tablet before anyone else and even before its own software team could finish iPhoneOS 4.0. It was a gamble but I think the odds are agreeing with Steve Jobs. Even if iPad doesn’t sell as well as iPhones and iPods, the launch is significant enough to position the company as one of the pioneers of modern tablet computers.
My guess is that Apple probably already has the next generation iPad sitting in its vault somewhere. It probably has a camera or two built-in for video conferencing. However, the first fight that the company wants to win is PRICE, and they have already won even before the product shipped out. Its $499 starter unit price is unbeatable so far. Now come to think about it… the removal of that camera on the iPod Touch 3rd Gen could be related to the decision to launch the camera-less iPad.
Therefore, the bottom line is that Apple scored a winner either way. Competitors can easily beat iPad in features, but will fail tremendously in pricing. For the rational person… will he/she spend $500 on an iPod Touch XL or $600+ on a HP tablet that runs Windows? The decision is tough… and my answer will be NEITHER… but I won’t denied the appeal that the iPad has over the tablet PC.
Apple will be giving everyone a sneak peek at the iPhoneOS 4.0 on Thursday, April 8th. Let’s see what this software update can bring to the table. Either way, personally I’ll be waiting for iPad 2nd Gen before telling Apple my credit card number.