Software and advice that’s not of this verse

iPad First Impressions

I’ve had an iPad now for 24 hours and these are my initial impressions of the device and its software.

Hardware

  • It’s heavier than I expected, but feels nice and solid. I do seem to get tired holding it, but I guess my hands and arms will get used to it.
  • The plasticky power switch, orientation lock and home button click sound and feel cheap.
  • The screen is awesome. Bright, colorful, wide viewing angle and totally smudged by my fingerprints. I need to wear a T-Shirt to keep it clean. And its just as reflective the the iPhone screen.
  • The software keyboard works great. I can two-handed type on it, way faster than the iPhone and I like the hide-keyboard button for some strange reason.
  • The battery goes on forever. Charging from USB on the Mac Pro also takes forever.
  • The metallic rounded back feels nice, but makes the device float around the desk, especially when placed flat to type.
  • The rotation sensor is very sensitive. Whenever I place the iPad flat on my desk, it usually rotates to the opposite direction from where I am sitting. A quick flick brings it back.
  • The ambient light sensor does not work at all. Yes, I set it to auto, but the brightness never changes.
  • I’m getting a case, I am too afraid to take it out and scratch that beautiful glass.
  • The wi-fi connection does seem to drop out a bit. Not sure if this is because the antenna is at the back, my FIOS router is rubbish or the OS/hardware is new.

Software and Experience

  • It’s fast. Email, news updates and app installs are quick enough.
  • The screen size and font rendering are brilliant. I love seeing the whole email and whole web page. My 3GS looks small and cramped now.
  • Kudos to the folks at the IconFactory for Twitteriffic (iTunes Link), NewsGator/Brent Simmons for NetNewswire (iTunes Link) and Marco Arment for InstaPaper on the iPad at launch. It takes courage to release software on a device sight unseen. They are my most commonly used apps and I would have missed them on the new device.
  • Lots of app crashes, not unexpected since the developers had no access to the device. Having followed most of them for years, I know they are working feverishly to fix them.
  • The HIG needs some work. The standard splitview column on the left means that an right-handed pointer like myself has to block the content area to choose a new email or item to view. When in portrait, the next/previous in the top left is the worst place for it, again having to either slide my left hand up to reach it (and unbalance the device), or block the content with my right hand. Placing these at the bottom left or right would work better for my hands.
  • I need to redesign all my planned iPad apps. Having used the device and seeing how my hands interact and cover the content, I need to move my icons and touch areas away from the top and more to the sides.
  • I have only installed a few iPhone apps on it. They work fine, but the pixel doubling is not very smooth. Will monitor the store for iPad versions of these apps.
  • I have created a few of my own ePubs using my own content and loaded them into iBooks. They look terrible on the Mac and awesome on the iPad. I happily volunteer to write a very sexy ePub format viewer (and maybe even creator) for the Mac, but I need to figure out how to get Apple to agree to let me access through their DRM. No good being unable to view purchased content on the Mac. If anyone at Apple wants to talk, email me. If you want me to do it, email me too.
  • My resume looks great in Pages. My spreadsheet tracking iPhone app sales took a while to load in Numbers, then looked fine.

In the last 24 hours, I have already moved my email, tweet, web and news reading to the iPad. This product is a winner.

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