As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I took the plunge and bought myself an iPad, as a kind of post-exams, post-degree celebratory splurge.
I have to say, so far I’m really rather enjoying it. It feels like this slab of glass and metal has just arrived from the future; it has this sense of violating usual expectations simply by existing.
The screen is glossy and beautiful, and it feels dense and sturdy. It’s heavier than you’d initially expect, but certainly not uncomfortably so. I’m not exactly a bulgingly muscular he-man, but I don’t find it uncomfortable to hold. They’re not wrong about the keyboard being large, it’s actually pretty comfortable to type on with the iPad in your lap, and you can get a pretty respectable typing speed with a little practice.
Pages load fast, browsing is fluid, and video on sites like the iPlayer work great. I started watching a Bettany Hughes documentary on Atlantis earlier on here, and it was a very pleasant experience. YouTube videos too look great, and I just last night found a service (although I now remember being told about it by Will Otter) called TV Catchup that allows me to stream live TV directly to my iPad, which is pretty cool.
As apps go, iPhone applications look flat-out ridiculous on the iPad. There’s not really a way around that one. They run, but you have the choice of running them at normal size, isolated in the middle of your display, or blown-up to fullscreen where they really just look appalling, pixellated, only having the iPhone keyboard rather than the superior iPad one, etc. You’ll want to use dedicated iPad apps wherever possible.
The catalogue of available iPad apps is comparatively smaller than its iPhone stablemate but there are already some pretty impressive apps available, and the number will only increase as more developers make iPad optimised versions of their existing apps. For instance the brilliant Google Reader client for the iPhone Reeder should be releasing and iPad version soon, and I can only hope that the Twitter for iPhone app formerly known as Tweetie will too receive an iPad version.
The in-built apps all look and work great, and one thing that surprised me was that even on the wifi-only model, location still seems to work fairly accurately, if not pin-point. I thought there was no GPS hardware, so I suppose it’s doing a trick using wifi hotspots to figure out my location. Whatever it’s doing, that’s quite cool.
I have a feeling that i’m going to change my habits quite a bit having this. I’ve already been tempted to impulse-purchase a movie from iTunes, and the iBook store would look terribly appealing if I didn’t already have a backlog of physical books (currently going through Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman) and I can see a lot of sitting in bed, browsing, tweeting and reading email in my future. Apart from high-powered hard-core gaming and writing code, there isn’t a huge amount of reason to go turn on my PC any more.
Anyways, I really like it, so there. This post was entirely written on the iPad.