iPad Impresses On First Play

Had my first hands-on with an iPad today and I wasn't really expecting to be impressed. Which just goes to show what a good job Apple have done with the iPad because I thought it was exceptionally good. Everyone who tried it had the same comment to make though: I think it would be great for my mother... not many actually considered it something that they would use themselves.

Its a lovely piece of kit and nothing like as heavy in the hands as I expected. However there were a number of very real issues which will need addressing if Apple aren't to gather themselves a large number of disgruntled customers. The keyboard is dreadful, its only really usable if the iPad is laid on a flat surface, in which case its almost possible to touch type on it. However held in the hands its impossible to 'thumb' the keyboard for even a couple of words (even in portrait mode) and you'll inevitably resort to holding the iPad in one hand and pecking at it with one finger of the other. The second two problems relate to the screen. Use it with any kind of light source behind or above you and the glare and the reflection are incredibly distracting. That's when you can see anything on the screen through the build up of skin oils and fingerprints which look deeply unpleasant when the iPad is off and affect its usability (if only to a small degree) when its on.

These items aside there is much to like about the iPad, its as slick and easy to use as the iPhone or iPod Touch, its fast (although I noticed that the Map History app took upwards of 30 seconds to 'build' a map onscreen, this was atypical) and it looks good.

Am I tempted to buy? No, but I can really see why millions of others won't be able to resist...


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