Is there anyone that doesn’t know what an iPad is or that it’s released today? Well actually there is as when I texted and tweeted my family this morning to let them know that I was at home waiting for the delivery at least 3 of them asked “What’s an iPad”. However, for the rest of the world and certainly those of you reading this you know that Apple’s latest “magical” device has hit the road via UPS and has been landing on people’s doorsteps all morning.
I woke early this morning, part anticipation of the impending arrival of my iPads, (yes plural, one for me and one for my wife), and part because Man Utd v Chelsea was kicking off at 6.45am.
With most Apple products that I’ve brought I’m always a little disappointed with the size of the box that it comes in as it’s never big enough, big equals exciting but with Apple’s wonderful packaging there is never any wasted space. That disappointment is short lived however as after gently rippling through the protective plastic covering and lifting the top off of the box the iPad is immediatley displayed in all it’s glory for you to see.
After having seen so many videos, pictures and write ups of the iPad already most people opening up their iPads this morning are not going to be too surprised with what they find as they take the device out of it’s packaging but even so holding it for the first time allows me to experience it all for myself and it’s a great experience. The device is not too heavy and can easily be held in a single hand allowing the other one free for using it. As you would expect the build quality of it is wonderful too. The sleek contours of the device sit comfortably against your hand and look beautiful too while divisions between the casing and the screen are smooth and fitted perfectly.
There are 4 physical buttons in total on the device, the volume and lock buttons are location on the side of the case in the top right hand side while on the top the is the sleep button. The final button is the regulation iDevice ‘Home’ button located as you would expect front and centre at the bottom of the screen.
My first activity was to plug the iPad into my Windows 7 laptop, I had already downloaded a few iPad applications. After agreeing to yet another set of Terms & Conditions and signing into my Apple account the device started syncing as you would expect with any other iDevice. Despite my ability to sync my iPad the driver installation failed and my iPad still states that it’s not charging despite being connected to my laptop. Whether this is because the iPad will only charge from the mains or was due to the failure of the driver to install it remains to be seen. The iPad came with a full charge so I’ll have to investigate that later.
My next task was to set up and connect to my wireless network so that I could synchronise my Gmail, Contacts and Calendar. The settings tab is going to be familiar with anyone that already as an iPhone or iPod Touch but the extra screen space allows for the menu of options to appear on the left while the details of each tab appears on the right. This is already a great feature and makes using the iPad much easier. Within seconds I had connected to my wireless network and a couple of minutes later my Gmail, Contacts and Calender was also synchronised.
During this time I was extremely impressed with the responsiveness of the touch screen. Scrolling between the pages was effortless and scrolling through my emails was also smooth. For testing purposes I sent off a couple of emails to show off the fact that I was emailing from my iPad and to test the on screen keyboard. Having used multiple devices, not just Apple, that use touch screen keyboards using the iPads larger keyboard is nice to use. Don’t get me wrong using a full size physical keyboard is always going to be my preferred choice but in it’s absence I feel that I would easily be able to write decent length articles on the iPad.
Web surfing is going to be one of the many activities that my iPad gets used for so I immediately attempted some of my favourite web sites. I was immediately disappointed with the first site I went to which was the BBC iPlayer site that I was hoping that I would be able to use to watch BBC shows on a larger screen that I currently can on the iPod Touch. However that was not to be the case as neither the full or mobile version of the iPlayer was compatible with the iPad. Hopefully that will change in the near future.
Testing some of the official iPad ready websites though was a different matter with the pages rendering fast, crisp and clear and watching the the video’s play in the page quickly and smoothly is a real pleasure. Hopefully more and more websites will be fully iPad compatible soon and take full advantage of HTML5 which clearly Apple and Steve Jobs are relying on.
I’ll be spending some more time with some applications later including reviews of some brand new iPad applications but initially I wanted to see how well some of the 150,000 existing applications work on the iPad. Unfortunately my initial thoughts are not great. They certainly work and at 1x they look good but a small app sitting in the centre of the screen doesn’t look great and using the 2x option results in a pretty graining display. This was only with a couple of apps though so some apps may work better than others.
The one new iPad app that I did try immediately was Tweetdeck which I was very pleased with. The extra real estate of the iPad allows for multiple columns in both landscape and portrait mode and as I have come to expect it’s responsive and great looking.
For now I am extremely pleased with my investment and I’ve only just begun delving into to what it has to offer. Next up for me is to test out some of the brand new iPad dedicated apps and of course bring my thoughts on them all to you.
For those of you that have picked up your iPads today what do you think so far? Does it live up to the hype or have you been disappointed? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
iPad Unboxing Pictures