Image by Lyn Millett via Flickr
I have owned an iPad for 5 days. Here's a preliminary report. It's not magical but it is really pretty cool. At the moment, I predict it will serve 4 main purposes for me: casual browsing, games, reading, and movie & tv watching.
For purposes of scanning email, Twitter, the web, checking in on Facebook and reading the news, it's just great. I do all these things on my phone, but the experience on the iPad is far superior. And I've already downloaded The Economist and Financial Times iPad apps, yes, adding these pubs back into my already overloaded reading queue, but still useful.
There was a great article recently about casual gaming and I seem to be squarely in that demographic.
Casual games are defined by the ease with which they can be picked up, including by players bewildered by more complex "hardcore games" for PCs and consoles, with their intricate story lines and controls. The category spans early sensations like Tetris, the Russian-made puzzle game for PCs and consoles from the 1980s, to Bejeweled, a decade-old shape-matching game that is still in wide use in mobile devices. The average mobile-game player is 45 years old and nearly as likely to be female as male...
...Angry Birds has attracted an unusually high-brow roster of fans. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he plays the game on his iPad, according to Andy Payne, chairman of a British games-industry trade group, who spoke to Mr. Cameron at a group dinner in September. (A spokeswoman for the prime minister didn't return a request for comment.) The author Salman Rushdie in a recent radio interview called himself "something of a master at Angry Birds."
Now, I'm not very good at Angry Birds, but it makes me giggle and passes the time on Metro sometimes. Oh, picturing Salman Rushdie playing Angry Birds also makes me giggle. Just for the record. I'm also a big fan (although, again, not very good) of PopCap's Plants versus Zombies. All of these are just lovely on the iPad. And there's the mesmerizing app called Uzu which lets you create pretty images (like the one above) on your iPad or iPhone. Probably good for meditation purposes, too, I suspect! (If I were any good at meditation. A topic for another post.)
Apart from the magazines I mentioned earlier, I haven't had a chance to do a whole lot of reading on the iPad yet, but I have tossed a few free classics from the book store into my 'iBooks' reader. I already used the ebook readers Kindle and Stanza on the phone and will try them out on the iPad, too. It's a bit heavy to use as a reader, but propped on a small pillow or something seems to do fine.
Movie and TV Watching.
The same issue with angle and propping holds for movie and tv watching. But Youtube and Netflix on the iPad are lovely and for watching short trailers or news clips it's just great. I've watched a television episode (42 minutes or so) on the iPad but haven't yet tried to watch a whole movie. Browsing photos is fantastic on this device, as well.
You might ask - what about work or other actual content creation and writing. Notwithstanding John Gruber's insistence that the iPad is a device for creativity, not just consumption - and it is, I don't disagree with him - after a mere 5 days I still find myself resorting to my laptop for a real keyboard if I want to actually do any writing. And I use my desktop with a large monitor if I want to do any serious photo editing. (Here's Gruber's original in-depth review of the device.)
Overall, I'm enjoying it. We did not, by the way, spring for the 3G connection. I still expect to need my laptop for work travel, so I won't carry the iPad in addition to the laptop+phone. Since we currently expect to use the iPad only at home or perhaps in coffeeshops with wifi, we decided not to spend the extra for a 3G connection.