iPad: Our First Impressions

To bring you a few different perspectives on Apple’s new tablet, we decided to do a quick round-up of first impressions from those of us who purchased an iPad today. Read on for the goods.

Robert Downey

The iPad is finally here. After spending a good amount of time with it, I can tell you honestly that is it quite an exciting experience. The pure speed and responsiveness of the OS and touch sensitivity really makes the iPad a unique device. I was one of the many Apple fans who watched the announcement and thought “Oh, it’s a big iPod Touch.” In some ways it’s true, but when you fire up Safari and iBooks and see the fit and finish of the OS you’ll notice the difference. Having pinched and zoomed my way around some of the new iPad apps, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what developers are going bring us in a few months after they’ve had chance to use the device themselves. There are many iPad fans that believe it be the future of computing. They may be right, but any computer platform is only as good as the software that it runs. If the surprise inclusion of the new Netflix streaming app is any indication of what is coming down the line (Hulu, I’m looking at you) then we have the future in our hot little hands.

Grant Holzhauer

The iPad is more or less exactly what I expected. Is it a device that is going to solve all my problems? No. Is it pretty fantastic nonetheless, despite only having mostly rehashed software on day one? Yes. Running iPhone/iPod Touch apps on it isn’t really practical, but developers who have taken the initiative to get upsized versions out today have generally done a great job. New apps such as Netflix and the iWork suite are incredibly useful; the latter especially shows just how powerful this platform can (and will) be. I am a satisfied customer.

Shawn Leonard

After months of waiting and frothing at the mouth for Apple’s ‘magical’ iPad, Nerdmas has finally come. The iPad is finally in my hands, and the look and feel of the hardware is signature Apple. It’s sexy, smooth, refined, efficient and solidly built all the way around. While the hardware is an engineering marvel, the software is what’s ultimately going to determine this thing’s fate, and the early view of the landscape is promising.

Jumping in and out of various applications, both native and third party, the next impression I got was how ridiculously snappy it is. Outside of the initial sync of about 10 GB of content, Apple’s A4 processor is a show off. Even though I was swiping and zooming around like a kid with ADD, the iPad didn’t flinch at all. While it’s early, the iPad has the most responsive and snappy touch-screen I’ve ever worked on. Observing how developers leverage this thing will be a sight to see.

Holding a 10′ tablet computer is a new one for me. Apple says it’s only 1.5 pounds, but it feels good in your hands like expensive tech should. Believe the hype about the screen, it’s crazy gorgeous.The depth and lushness of the colors on this thing is shocking. It truly feels like you’re working with a little HDTV in the palm of your hands.

When the iPad was first announced, many folks had trouble understanding what the ‘why’ was. For me, I can totally see this being an awesome convergence device that’ll continually redefine why it’s important to me. Whether it’s consuming interactive media in new and exciting ways, writing editorial content, playing iPad exclusive games or discovering some new mind-blowing application I didn’t know I needed, I’m convinced this is the evolution of personal computing. Happy Nerdmas!

Steve Palley

Welcome to the world of Minority Report, minus the paranoid dystopia and Cruise’s scenery chomping. I’ve had the iPad for all of two hours, and I can already feel a subtle shift occurring in my consumption of media, use of the Internet… Everything.

The device is as great for gaming as everyone expected. Real Racing HD looks simply incredible, and Tap Tap Radiation is a blast on a screen this big. But I am honestly most impressed with the iPad’s non-gaming chops. The touch keyboard works surprisingly well, although I’ve had to cut my pinkies out of the equation. I think I’ll be typing almost as fast as I do on my laptop before too long–in landscape mode at least.

I am also very impressed with the iWork suite and iBooks. I’ve been fooling around with Pages a little bit, and I can easily see using it for elementary word processing during class. iBooks is a completely different animal than what you see on Kindle–so much more user-friendly–but the jury’s still out on whether iPad will actually replace my Kindle. The books are pricier and the backlit display presents problems, too. More on that later.

Overall, though, I’m loving this thing. I don’t actually want to stop using it, and that’s a good sign in my book.

Oh also: anyone that hasn’t built an HD version of their app for the iPad (including STP!) had better do so, because screen doubling is janky.

Tim Rattray

At around 8:30 this morning, I arrived at my local Apple Store in search of their latest slice of heaven. The line was long, but totally worth the wait: the iPad is a sleek, beautiful device. The back slides right into your hand, and it is just the right size to make it easy to take anywhere with you. Jony Ive should be proud; this is his greatest design yet.

After spending about a half hour playing with the iPad’s OS, it is shocking beautiful. While one may call it an iPhone OS rehash at a glance, it is so much more. Every app has be redesigned with some great innovations, such as drop-down menus and a full-size keyboard. The zoom is fast to the point of awe. This is an OS that just works.

I can’t wait to try my hand at some games and apps. This thing has the potential to change how I live, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Chris Reed

I’m not usually an early adopter. The last gadget I got on day one was a Playstation 2, and I regretted it. No must-have games were out yet, and the DVD player had annoying audio/video syncing issues, which drove me nuts.

But since I work for STP I figured I’d better grab one up. And man am I glad I did. This thing has a magnetic appeal I’ve never seen in another device. I scoffed when Steve Jobs used the word “magical” to describe it in January’s press conference, but when you actually use it, that word seems much less hyperbolic.

The tech reviewers aren’t exaggerating when they say that the user interface disappears when you use it. Flicking around web pages, thumbing through comics, and watching videos on Netflix or ABC’s app are astoundingly simple. Apple nailed it on the hardware too: the tiny speakers sound excellent, and the battery keeps going and going. Overall, the feel of the thing is just right.

If you’re holding off on getting an iPad, I understand. But for anyone on the fence, I say go for it–you won’t be disappointed.

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