If you’re after a thorough and insightful rundown of what the iPad was like to touch and use after the Apple demo event last week, I’d recommend Andy Ihnatko’s hands-on piece for the Chicago Sun Times.
The article is full of great information and really makes you feel almost as if you’d handled the device yourself.
Here are a few slices of the article that were especially interesting to me …
On the size and feel of the iPad:
It has a feeling of being The Right Size. It’s smaller in your hand than what you might expect, which means that it feels manageable and easy to carry around. But it’s big enough that you don’t find yourself asking “what’s the point of having this and an iPhone or Android?”
Its weight is just fine. I had no problem holding it in one hand as I worked the UI with the other, though for long periods — like reading a book — you’re going to want to two-hand it, or rest a corner on a table. When it’s on a table you can use both hands to input touch gestures — as in Keynote, when you’re sizing and rotating content for the screen — which is a real “welcome to the future” moment.
On the iPhone OS in use on the iPad:
This really is the iPhone OS. I tried every trick and technique available to me on the iPhone and it all worked…except for the Screen Capture trick (hold down the Power and Home button to take a screenshot).
My very first impression is that I’d like to see Apple give us a better version of Springboard (the application launcher). The iPad versions of the iPod, Mail and the photo viewer apps aren’t just scaled-up flavors of the iPhone editions. But that’s the feeling I get from Springboard on the iPad.
On Performance and Speed …
Fast. Fast, fast, fast. I did absurd things, like zoom in and out of webpages with fast twitches of my finger tips. The iPad kept right up with me, millisecond by millisecond. When you drag something, you feel like you’re physically sliding a photo across a surface; no need to wait for the OS to catch up with you. When you turn the iPad, the screen switches display modes almost instantly.
This sort of responsiveness enhances the whole experience.
On running current iPhone apps on the iPad:
The iPad’s support for existing iPhone apps is a mixture of Awesome and Awkward. In general, the only iPhone apps that won’t run on it are ones that require the device to be a phone. They all work great at original iPhone size (postage-stamped into the middle of the screen).
When you tap the "2X" button to scale the iPhone app to iPad dimensions, the results will depend on the app.
On the lack of multitasking:
But instinctively I think that an app running on a $500 thing shouldn’t have to resort to tricks for something so basic. There are loads of tasks in which the simple ability to create a file, edit a file, and move a file someplace useful is key.
On the Battle Between Two Philosophies:
Otherwise, the release of the iPad marks a classic battle between two philosophies:
Is it better to have a device that is loaded with bullet-pointable features?
Or is it better to have a device that has a shorter list of specs … but which does everything right?
That’s not a loaded question. It’s the key difference between the Android and iPhone operating systems. It’ll also define the difference between a netbook and an iPad. The former looks great on paper. The Apple product looks great when you’re actually trying one out firsthand.
I love that last section, and think it’s a brilliant set of questions. Reading the whole piece just has me even more excited about getting my hands on an iPad.
Whenever you have a chance, go give the whole article a read: