I have read every review about Apple's new iPad leading up to -- and after -- its launch today. I've seen just about every possible adjective used to describe the brilliant, 1024-by-768-pixel screen; have heard every imaginable description of how "fast" the iPad responds, thanks to Apple's custom A4 chip set; been told how the 1.5-lb. device disappears, leaving you alone with the content on-screen. And I've seen reviewers struggling to fully articulate what using an iPad is really like.
Virtually everyone has gushed about the iPad in the run-up to day's release, yet I haven't seen anyone really capture the essence of using one.
I admit to a certain prelaunch bias after watching the iPad demonstrations. Never having touched the product, it seemed to me that Apple clearly had a winner on its hands ... under the condition that the iPhone experience scaled with the larger 9.7-in. screen available on the iPad.
Now that I have one of my own, I realize it might not be possible to capture in words the "Eureka!" moment a few minutes with the iPad delivers.
Yes, everything you've read about the iPad is true: It is immersive, it is a device whose presence fades away when you use, and it is very fast and responsive. Given that Apple uses iTunes for content management -- just as it does in the iPhone and iPod Touch -- and uses the same home-screen-with-icons design on the iPad as it does on the iPhone/iPod Touch, iPhone owners will feel immediately at home.
The UI is both as limiting and as straightforward as you've come to love/expect/loathe. But the native software available for the iPad is what makes it stand apart from the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Best for viewing content
I've always used a Mac because content creation was a hobby and a pastime, and always felt that the Mac is the best tool for that kind of work. Having now spent an afternoon with the iPad, I'm convinced that this device is the best tool available for viewing content.
I would even go as far to say that this is the Apple product that should legitimately be called the real Mac Mini. The other computer from Apple that bears that name is merely a desktop in a small form factor running the full version of Mac OS X; the iPad truly is a mobile version of desktop computing.