This past Saturday I made a trip to my local Best Buy and saw the iPad for the first time. Two things really jumped out at me while seeing the iPad in person. First is that despite reading the comments of how heavy the iPad is, I was still surprised by its weight when I picked it up. In comparison to a notebook, or even a netbook, the iPad’s 1.5 lbs is light, but in comparison to the Barnes and Noble nook’s 12.1 ounces, it is heavy. To me weight is significant when considering using the iPad for reading eBooks. I cannot imaging holding the iPad to read for any length of time, so I don’t expect the iPad to replace my nook.
The other thing that I noticed is the sensitivity and speed of the screen rotation. I now understand why Apple put a screen lock on the iPad because a slight move in either direction causes the screen to rotate instantly. In fact, the screen rotation might be a tad too sensitive to the point of being annoying. I expect that I will be using the lock a lot more than I imagined.
As I have alluded to, unlike Todd, I have been on the fence in regards to the iPad. Now that I have seen the iPad in person I decided to go ahead and order one. Originally my intent was to just buy one in a store but on Monday, when Apple posted the new ship date for the 3G iPad, I decided to go ahead and order the 16 GB version of the 3G + Wi-Fi model. I was tempted to order the 32 GB version, but in the end decided that I was already paying more money for 3G.
I feel the 3G data service that AT&T is providing for the iPad to be one of the more intriguing parts of the iPad launch. The $30 unlimited plan without a contract that you can turn on or off directly from the device is the most attractive data plan that I have seen in a non-phone device. If I find that I only use 250 MB or less of 3G service I can downgrade to the $15/250 MB plan or I could turn the 3G service off completely, and then turn it on when I travel. If you have been following my writing, you have probably figured out that I put a premium on flexibility, and I am willing to pay extra for flexibility as I believe that extends the life of the device.
I did pay a price for my indecision and ordering on Monday as today we learned that Apple will ship the original pre-orders of the 3G + Wi-Fi versions to be delivered on April 30, and in-store availability will be that same day at 5 PM. I don’t think that I will get my iPad next Friday (April 30) but I know that it will ship to me by the following Friday, May 7. I am looking forward to shifting my writing about the iPad from observations to first-hand experiences.