So I splashed out and pre-ordered an iPad. It arrived on Thursday morning, a day earlier than expected, but since I was at work all day and then out in the evening I didn't have much of a chance to play with it. Fortunately, this being a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, I have since managed to get quite a few days with it and so I thought I would post my first impressions.
The device is pretty much as I expected, but then I already have an iPod Touch, so I had a pretty good idea what I was getting. "If you've got an iPod Touch, why do you need an iPad as well?" might well be a sensible question. The answer is simple, more screen real estate. I have spent lots of time with the iPod and, whilst I have been very pleased with it, the small screen has alway been very frustrating to use with a lot of websites. The iPad gives you so much more room (enough to avoid having to pinch and zoom on most pages) and is so much more responsive. The bigger screen also provides for a decent on screen keyboard too.
What about the lack of flash, I hear you ask. It's not been a huge problem for me as I was used to not having it on the iPod. It is a nuisance especially as some sites I would like to be able to use are flash based but it's not made the device unusable that's for sure.
The interface is familiar and easy to use and it is very responsive. The battery life is very good and some of the apps being released are starting to show what can be done with the device. Plus the BBC has updated the iPlayer site to work with the bigger screen too.
I am also using it as a PDF reader which is so much easier than having to print out the multitude of PDFs I have (and better for the environment and storage!). But I have yet to be sold on it as an eBook reader, not because it isn't capabable - it is - but more because I am yet to be sold on eBooks themselves.
So overall it has fulfilled my expectations and is proving to be extremely useful for the use cases I had already identified and that will only improve once more apps are released.
It certainly does have some significant limitations, no flash, no printing, limited connectivity, no camera etc but, whilst these would all be useful, none of them undermine the role I intended it for. If you are considering buying one you'll need to consider whether the same would be true for you.