First iPad Impressions

by Dean Mattson

When the iPad was first announced, it seemed like the most common reaction I heard was, “What am I going to use that for?”

I knew right away. While I liked all the capabilities and the portability of my iPhone and it was the device I had with me when I was in my living room while I was relaxing at the end of the day, it wasn’t ideal. It was too small to comfortably read a lot of text or do a lot of typing with. Very soon I figured out I would use my laptop at my desk, I would use my iPad in the rest of the house and I would take my iPhone with me whenever I left the house.

So in late April, I finally ordered it. I ordered a 16 GB model with 3G, and it was finally delivered on Wednesday.

So far, I’ve really been enjoying it. As a reading device, it is a much superior devise to read books and longer newspaper articles on it then a laptop or a mobile phone. The text is sharp (and adjustable!), and my eyes don’t feel strained after reading on it for long periods. Besides that, I’ve used it to check email, do some light web surfing and play audio. I haven’t watched any video on it and this blog entry is the first time I’ve tried to write anything on it.

Like the iPhone, I find the iPad’s keyboard a bit of a limitation, although I find it preferable to the small physical keyboards you find on many cellphones and the Kindle. Even in landscape mode, the keyboard is still too small to fit all your fingers to type with. Instead I’ve starting using a two-fingered method which seems to work fairly well, though not nearly as fast as I can type with a conventional keyboard. (I do have an older Apple wireless keyboard but my iPad couldn’t pair with it.)

Otherwise, the battery life is impressive as is the quality of the audio it plays from it’s miniscule speakers. Fingerprints are very noticeable when the device is off or in sleep mode; when the screen is lit up, I don’t notice them at all.

My only regret is not spending the extra money to get the 32 GB model. I easily filled up the 16 GB I have now and don’t even have any movies on it. I haven’t activated the 3G on it, I’ll try putting that to use next month when I go on a trip to Colorado and Minnesota.

“Should I get one?” you might be asking. It depends. If like me, you’ve been wanting a good e-reader, this would be an excellent choice. Or if you spend a lot of time on iPod Touch or iPhone apps but often wish the screen were larger, than an iPad is definitely for you. Otherwise you may want to hold off for awhile and see what kind of apps get developed for it.