Hands on with the iPad

To sit by and just watch one of the most important days in the history of technology pass me by without the least bit of action would be, in my opinion, a catastrophe! So this past Saturday, I set my alarm for 8 am, got a hot cup of Java for the road and headed over to my favorite Apple Store in Las Vegas at Town Square to get a feel for the iPad. Why am I aggrandizing the launch of the iPad? The answer is simple— it makes all of the devices that I’m using now, save for my iPhone, feel obsolete and that they will soon become just that. Soon, millions of people will realize that it is possible to interact with “technology” that gets out of your way so you can enjoy the experience and not be burdened with dusting off instruction manuals and brushing up on your computer science skills. Not to mention, realizing that you can do more things, more conveniently from almost anywhere with the iPad. Here are a few key points I gleaned from my short foray into the world of Apple’s iPad.

First, it’s really fast. In the reviews I’ve read, including Mossberg’s and Pogue’s, this characteristic has been brought up repeatedly.

The vivid 9.7” gorgeous capacitive touchscreen follows the commands of your fingers; no matter how fast you use them, the iPad keeps up with aplomb.

No significant time lag was noticeable when launching apps or playing graphically-intense games as compared to my iPhone 3GS, and that is one fast iPhone!

The iWork productivity suite, which includes a word processor (Pages), spreadsheet (Numbers) and presentation app (Keynote) at $9.99 each, feel incredibly responsive and fun to use through the new multi-touch interface.

Typing on the iPad in landscape layout was easy enough. Much easier to type than on the iPhone and, thanks to the word auto-correct feature, typing on the touchscreen shouldn’t be a burden, it just may take a short amount of time to get use to it.

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Thumb typing in portrait mode is doable, albeit a little more difficult to hit the middle keys if short fingers are used.

The screen is truly wonderful to consume content through. Videos come through beautifully and the experience is much more intimate than through a laptop or your HDTV.  eBook text is crisp and easy to read.

The small graphical flares with which Apple imbued the iPad, including page turning with your finger, make the experience that much more satisfying and fun. Surfing the web is by far the most awesome feature.

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The layers of time and space defy the laws of physics by eliminating those obstacles to immerse you in the content of whatever page you’re surfing.

The only downside I could see during the time I spent with the iPad was using third party apps that were not specifically made for the iPad, such as the third party apps that were created for the iPhone and iPod touch.

When expanded to twice their native size to conform to the iPad’s full screen, the resolution left a lot to be desired. The pixelation in some apps really had me yearning to download the iPad-specific version. This, I understand, is keeping the iPhone/ iPad app developers busy with native iPad versions already out or coming soon.

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All in all, using the iPad was a truly magical and revolutionary experience.

The potential of what this tablet can do, the least of which is to transform an industry that hasn’t changed the user interface in over 25 years (and the way we interact now with our desktops and laptops were pioneered and delivered to the mass market by Apple), is remarkable.

How we interact with future technology might well be similar to the way I tried out multi-touch on Apple’s latest and greatest device this past Saturday!

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I’ll be waiting to purchase the 3G version later this month! What are YOUR thoughts on the iPad?

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