Last Monday, my 16-gigabyte wifi-only iPad arrived. To note, this iPad is the property of NAPCO, the corporate owner of TeleRead, and was sent to me for review. I only get to keep it until they ask me to send it back—whenever that might be. I hope it isn’t for a long time, because I’m growing quite attached to it!
In this entry, I will focus on the process of getting up and running with the iPad, and will cover my overall experiences using it in later ones.
I recorded the unboxing of the iPad here, as you saw. After recording the video, I hooked it up to my computer and, once iTunes found it, noticed that it did indeed have a full charge.
That’s a nice touch on Apple’s part—to allow the consumer to start having fun with his new toy right out of the box, rather than having to wait several hours for it to charge up. I think a lot of Apple’s success can be laid at the feet of these little tiny grace notes that aren’t anything big by themselves, but they sure add up when you put a lot of them together.
But what I was faced with next was a bit of an ungraceful note: arranging dozens of my iPhone apps into the order in which I wanted them to appear on the iPad’s screens. That sort of thing takes a lot of time and effort.
It would really be nice if Apple would allow you to import the order of your applications from your iPhone or iPod Touch profile, if available. There would be a different number of apps per screen (20 for the iPad, rather than 16 for the iPhone), but at least it would save on some sorting to get them out of alphabetical order and into order by usefulness.
Even with the drag-and-drop interface in iTunes, that took a while (especially since dragging an app onto another screen often causes the focus of iTunes to change to that new screen—highly annoying if you want to move more than one app at a time). After that, I started checking out applications to see which ones had high-resolution versions.
The first really impressive one I came across was Moonlight Mahjong, a tile-matching game I originally purchased a long, long time ago. I did not need to download a new version of the app; since it is a universal app, the one I already had downloaded for my iPod Touch contained the higher-resolution iPad format within it, too.
You’ll have to click on the thumbnails to get the full effect, but suffice it to say the difference is impressive. (The iPhone version is the one on the left.)
Other applications I use that had seamlessly updated to iPad-compatible versions included Evernote, Bookshelf, Instapaper Pro, iSilo, and, of course, the Kindle Reader. Some are still adding it, of course; the brick-breaking game Blocks Classic updated to a combined iPhone/iPad version just the other day.
A number of applications had different iPhone and iPad versions, however, and I found a lot of these by going to the iTunes store and searching on “HD” or “iPad” within the iPad applications category. (Since an application for iPad would say “for iPad” only if there was a separate iPhone version, I figured that was a good way to filter out the ones that had changed.)
A number of these cost additional money, which is annoying, but most were fairly inexpensive so I was not too upset about upgrading. These included GoodReader (99 cents), NPR (free), Wikipanion (free), TweetDeck (free), Kobo (free), AccuWeather (99 cents), Words With Friends HD ($2.99), Comic Zeal ($7.99), Twitteriffic (free), Scrabble ($9.99), and Plants vs. Zombies ($9.99).
There were some high-resolution apps that were entirely new to the iPad that I downloaded as well, including the Internet Movie Database app Steve Jobs talked about at the iPhone OS 4.0 event, Netflix, and of course, iBooks.
I was slightly annoyed to notice how many applications I had assumed would have HD versions did not yet. These included Tweetie 2 (though, given that it was recently purchased by Twitter and will become the official iPhone platform Twitter app, I would expect that to be fixed soon), Facebook, Google Earth, the Reeder RSS reader I recently bought for my iPod Touch, and the newly-introduced Opera Mini web browser.
And, of course, neither Stanza nor either of the eReader apps has been updated to high definition. Classics has not been updated either.
Some apps really don’t require high definition in order to be useful, especially word and tile games such as Bookworm. For the most part, though, iPhone apps look rather fuzzy when pixel-doubled.
And one iPhone app, TouchTerm SSH, does not quite seem to work properly at all. Hopefully its developer will soon come out with an iPad upgrade for it.
I threw some videos on the iPad, too: the Speed Racer movie, and a few episodes of various animé titles, and also a few hundred of my recent digital camera photos. Then I was ready to go try it out.