iPad with iPhone and Bluetooth Keyboard

By: Tony Pittman [ tony@getthenext.com ]

Apple's iPad arrived, as planned, on April 3, 2010. Some analysts estimate that as many as 700,000 iPads were delivered to customers on launch day, making iPad one of the most successfully launched consumer products of all time. Prior to launch, some pundits panned the iPad, calling it nothing more than an overgrown iPhone, without the phone.  Well, in some respects they turned out to be correct.  iPad is larger than iPhone.  iPad can't make phone calls.  But, wow...it can sure do a lot of things well.

First, the most unexpected surprise: iPad's speaker.  I wasn't expecting much in this department.  I figured that Apple would include the obligatory speaker - a plain, unimpressive component that would just be enough to get by with.  Wow, was I wrong.  iPad's speaker is very robust for its size.  I was honestly astounded by the loud, clear, and dynamic sound.

Next, you'll be amazed by iPad's battery life.  By making the device so much bigger than iPhone, Apple was able to do wonders with battery life.  So far, I have no reason to doubt Apple's claim of 10+ hours of continuous use on one charge.  After a day of hard use, I've hardly been able to make a dent.  The battery life is impressive, to say the least.

The on-screen keyboard exceeded my expectations. I was mentally prepared for a new experience, remembering what is was like the first time I used an iPhone keyboard.  iPad's keyboard does not disappoint, especially in landscape mode.  Granted, I wouldn't want to use it to write a novel, so I did pick up one of Apple's $69 bluetooth keyboards.  But, for short bursts of text, the on-screen keyboard is more than adequate.

Finally, the muli-touch IPS display is nothing short of mind-blowing. Prior to iPad's launch, I was thinking more and more about how great it would be to be able to use my Kindle DX as a truly connected, dynamic device.  I found myself wanting to touch the Kindle's display and try to manipulate the connected internet world.  But, everything was just beyond my, and the Kindle's, grasp.  Well, no more.  iPad's multi-touch display not only produced brilliant images, but it's responsiveness is off the charts.  It responds to your touches instantly, allowing you to truly escape into a world that I thought to still be years and years away.  Many had said that you can't appreciate iPad until you have a chance to hold it in your hands and feel how it works.  They were right.