The iPad

I got my iPad on release day and it's much more that I expected. I got it at the Freehold, NJ store and the Majewski family interviewed on this article was in front of me. Having had an iPhone, I expected the iPad just to be a big iPhone without the phone or more exactly, an iPod Touch but the big screen along with the apps that came out on release day really makes a difference. Let me list the top ten items that made the difference for me.

1. Big Screen - I do most of my news reading through My Yahoo! I downloaded the free apps for New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, BBC News, AP News, SkyGrid, and Yahoo Entertainment. These apps have convinced me that there is another way of viewing news. The experience on the iPad is really different compared to navigating on your computer. The touch interface will surely be a blessing to a lot of people who have a hard time navigating with the mouse. The display comes alive especially when I am able to customize the fonts to my old eyes. Most of these sites provides you todays news but if you have to look at past issues and extra content, you probably will have to pay a subscription.

2. TV and Movies - Free apps released were ABC TV and Netflix. If you have a Netflix account, you can now watch movies available to view online. You can also go to the CBS website and their content is iPad ready. I was expecting to be disappointed with no-flash support but thank goodness for html 5 video support and sites converting to it to make the video experience on the iPad worthwhile. I can't wait for Hulu to show up on the app store and hoping that they won't charge for subscription. I also have a SlingPlayer that lets me watch live TV and I'm hoping that they would enhance their software so that it displays a higher resolution on the iPad compared to the 320x240 resolution on the iPhone.

3. Weather Apps - Weather Bug, Weather Channel, and AccuWeather. They all provide similar content but in different formats. Especially in a 4 season state, having access to instant weather is a blessing.

4. Photo Viewer - It doubles as digital photo slideshow viewer. The Origami transition works best!

5. App Store - The paid cheap apps for iPad seems to range from 3-5 dollars. 90% of the apps I bought for the iPhone are 99 cents each. It's great that all those apps still work with the iPad.

6. NBA Courtside app - although it's not fully functional until the playoffs, it promises to deliver real-time stats while watching an NBA game. Hopefully, this will make interactive TV easier for the viewing public.

7. No phone - Although it doesn't have a built-in phone, you should be able to get around it with Skype or any VOIP app like Line2.

8. Battery time - 10 hours of usage is expected but some reviewers have managed to get up to 12 hours on a single charge. There are no spinning dvd's so watching movies makes no difference on battery usage.

9. iTunes software - I didn't expect it to be easy to manage a 2nd device on iTunes but it's really a piece of cake.

10. It's just so cool!

fyi - If you use the iPad Case ($39), be aware that you won't be able to charge it on the iPad Dock($29).

Update - An app to make your 3GS iPhone act as a camera for the iPad.

Ben Lagua