Having now used the iPad for at least 72 hours, I thought I would write to advise my experiences with it so far.
After setting the iPad up (plugging it in to my laptop and opening up iTunes), the setup was completely painless. I had my emails, photos, music and apps synched quickly and easily.
I bought the 3G version and got a free mini-SIM card with the purchase and have inserted it into the iPad making use of the free SIM Eject tool that came with the iPad, but have yet to sign up to a 3G package – usually £2 for 1 days use, £10 for a 1Gb download capacity with a monthly recurring charge, or £15 for a 3Gb download capacity with a monthly recurring charge (O2).
One point that I noted was that the iPad will not charge via a USB connection from a PC as it requires 10 volts to charge and USB only pushes out 5 volts, so the power adapter that came with the iPad is an essential item. This came as a surprise as whilst plugged into my laptop, the battery symbol showed that it was not charging.
Another thing that I noticed was the absence of a Calculator App. Not the worlds biggest problem as the App Store does have a few other free ones floating about, but the iPhone comes with a Calculator App, so why not the iPad? It is very handy to have a calculator and I use it regularly on my iPhone when I run out of fingers!
A lot of the iPhone Apps do not work full-screen on the iPad. Not really a surprise, but they do work and display on an iPhone sized window in the middle of the screen. There is a 2x button you can press to make the size twice as big and for some Apps this is fine, but others look a little bit fuzzy. As a result, I have deleted some iPhone Apps and upgraded the m to iPad Apps and look forward to synching the iPad back with my laptop and then plugging my iPhone into my laptop and seeing what happens to the Apps on the iPhone.
Having only used the iPad on Wi-Fi so far and only having a Wireless G signal at home (I must upgrade at some point to Wireless N), I noticed that the Wi-Fi signal keeps dropping from time to time (possibly my router), so I kept getting prompted to sign up for a 3G service which I politely declined. After a short while, the signal was picked up again and all was well.
Surfing the web is a dream. It is fast and the pages load quickly. Still no Flash Player for the iPad or iPhone and apparently there is never going to be, so some sites like BBC News Website lack the ability to see video because they use Flash Player.
With the iPad, I bought the optional iPad Keyboard Dock which only seems to come is US style layout (@ and ” are swapped and the \ key is in the wrong place) which means I keep typing the wrong symbol for emails – but I will get there. The keyboard allows the iPad to sit upright which allows you to type into it more easily and cutting / pasting is made a million times easier because you have a shift key, control key and arrow keys.
Using the optional keyboard dock does make using the iPad much easier, so if you are considering buying an iPad, I would recommend spending the extra £50 (ouch) on a keyboard dock.
I love the instant on/off ability of the iPad (and iPhone) when you compare it to a laptop. With a laptop, you press the on/off button, wait a while, press CTRL + ALT + DELETE, enter your password, wait a while longer and then you can start to use the computer. This can take several minutes before you can do anything productive. With the iPad (and iPhone), you simply turn on the device, slide the unlock bar across the screen and/or enter your unlock code, select your App e.g., Safari and off you go. No waiting. No wireless network selection or waiting for the computer to find the wireless signal. No delays at all, which is a complete joy.
Battery life is much better than an iPhone. So far I have only had to charge it once and I have been using the iPad regularly for the past 3 days. It was useful having an 80% charge in the iPad when you buy it and the battery does not seem to run down at all when switched off, only when you are using it : )
I have already shown the iPad to one person and they are already talking about buying one instead of a new laptop. They only need a device for email, web and for photos. With an iPad they can do all of that and also read books, although that is not a huge selling point for me, it was a plus point for them.
So, in summary, the iPad is much like an iPhone only bigger, faster and with a decent battery life. There are lots of things it can’t do (no memory card slot, no USB socket), but what it can do, it does brilliantly.