I had a chance to duck into Best Buy with Mr. Quinn yesterday, to take a look at the iPad. My local BB had four of them on display, and I toyed with one for a few minutes. As I’m sure you’re just dying to know my first impressions of the thing, here’s a quick list of thoughts.
- It feels really substantial, and it’s quite a bit heavier than I thought it would be. You’d figure that a device with an uncovered ten-inch glass screen would feel fragile, but the iPad doesn’t.
- The tactile factor, like with most Apple hardware, is something you can’t get through looking at pictures or reading a review online. It feels terrific in the hand…rounded edges, the texture of the aluminum back, everything just makes you want to handle it.
- The interface is super-slick. I opened a few apps and did some panning-and-zooming in the photo album, and the user experience is something that’s never been there before. It sounds like a breathless affirmation of Apple fanboi-ness, but using an iPad really makes you feel like you’re holding a piece of the future…or at least what we imagined the future to be like back in the 1980s. It’s a very intuitive and pleasing way to interact with a piece of technology. You may scoff at the thing from a distance, but I’d challenge anyone to pick one up, play with it, and not be impressed by it. It’s like nothing else on the market.
That said, I am quite aware of the fact that the iPad is neither fish nor fowl for me right now. It sits in the niche between desktop and iPod touch/iPhone, so the closest functional equivalent I can think of would be a netbook, for which I also have no need right now. (I leave the house by myself once a week for a few hours, and when I do, I take along pen and paper for work, and the iPod touch for those rare times when I need to Google something, or show off a picture of the kids to an unsuspecting victim.) Do I want one? Oh, hell, yeah…I’m a tech hound, and Apple makes shiny tech like nobody else. Do I need one? Absolutely not, at least not right now. Will I get one? Probably…but it’ll be one of the 2.0 versions that’ll invariably pop up in another six months or a year. It’s simply too cool a piece of technology…and it’s not that much more than the Kindle I wanted to get, with a ton more functionality, and a much higher shiny factor.
So yeah…the iPad is a very slick, impressive, techno lust-inducing piece of gear. Apple will likely sell a metric hojillion of them, and I’ll own one sooner or later.
Oh, crap. I blogged about gadgets again, didn’t I?