It’s important to realize that the iPad isn’t intended to be a list of awesome, mind-exploding specs. The iPad is a different kind of device, one that disappears into the users hands as they immerse themselves in content, games, and apps. After all, the best kind (but perhaps least appreciated) kind of technology is the kind that you never realize you’re using until it’s not there. No, it’s not a souped-up porta-Cray overclocked to the max with 19 USB ports, though one would be nice. We’ll get to this in more-depth after the jump, but the iPad might as well been called paper 2.0. Yes, paper. Why? Because, at the end of the day, we think the iPad will serve as a gateway to the tools (apps) you want and need. It won’t stand in their way, but provide a blank canvas for the innovative people out there to do what they do best.
If you keep this in mind, then we think our Top 10 list here will make much more sense. If you already hate the iPad then what follows might not be worth your time (or you can read this). However, if you’re on the fence then you might find it a unique perspective on what might be one of the most polarizing gadgets to hit shelves in recent years.
iBooks (Reading Experience)
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #10
The iPad is phenomenal when it comes to the book purchase and reading experience. The Delicious Library-esque bookshelf for books is rich and like albums, give you a semblance of keepsake when you purchase a book. Though we’ll admit, nothing beats a nice shelf full of your favorite books. The immediate availability of all Guttenberg Project books (over 30,000 books are available for free) only sweetens the deal, granted we wish they had covers. Wether you read in landscape or portrait the iPad orients itself to optimal reading. The customizable fonts, font sizes, search, bookmarking, natural page flipping by touch only sweeten the experience. Oh, and our favorite is constant dual-page presence in landscape mode.
The price of books are also competitive with Amazon’s Kindle library (now).
LED backlit IPS Multi-Touch Display
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #9
The 1024×768 9.7″ LED-backlit IPS (in-plane switching) display really is a sight to behold. It’s crisp, vivid and makes everything pop. It can’t be explained in words, but you should take a moment to try to use one. Images, just look different on the iPad. The screen has a very wide 178° viewing angle and the multi-touch works seamlessly and fast. It responds with super sharp accuracy you’ve come to expect from the multi-touch enabled products from Apple (iPod Touch, iPhone). The fact that it has the ability to power such a gorgeous display and run 10 hours really is just a bonus.
10 Hour Battery Life
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #8
10 hours of power. Based off the lithium polymer batter technology used in the MacBook lineup, Apple has squeezed 10 hours of battery life into the 1.5 lb iPad (9 hours if you surf on the upcoming 3G model). In our tests we actually got 9 hours and 45 minutes of video playback and well over 10 hours of standard app use (email, Keynote, a few games, reading books). That’s some serious longevity.
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #7
It may be because we’ve grown accustomed to the speed apps run on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but the iPad feels fast. It’s like the “turbo” switch is turned on. Apple has spent a great deal of money building a custom processor to run on the iPad and it’s about twice the speed of the iPhone 3GS. The fact that you interact on such a larger plane using multi-touch only enhances the overall “sense” of speed on the iPad. Everyone loves speed, and for a 1st generation device we’re definitely digging the iPad’s giddy-up and go.
Supplements Your Computer, Declutters
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #6
The iPad doesn’t have to be the killer portable device. It’s just as happy sitting on your desk, docked and functioning as an all-in-one calendar/email/organizer. Honestly, at the price, you could use a couple around the home to fulfill the needs of your laptop. Kitchen Recipe machine? Done. Bathroom TV? Done. Über-rolodex for your desk? Done.
The Operating System And Who It Works For
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #5
We have yet to see what Apple will be announcing in the new OS for the iPad, but we’ve our fingers crossed that multi-tasking makes it. The iPad practically begs for multi-tasking right out of the box. Erstwhile, you’ll love the fact that the iPad takes no learning curve. You open it up and if you’ve ever used an iPod Touch or iPhone (or even not) you’ll know what to do right away. The iPad is not only perfect for you, or the tech-savvy user, but your mother, father. and grandparents.
Gearing Up With Accessories
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #4
A new case, a new bag, a new sleeve. There will be no shortage of interesting, terrible, must-have accessories for the iPad. We’ve had an advance look at a few that we’ll be reviewing on Gear Patrol (sans the terrible ones). The best part of new products is the need to gear-up and you and we both know how fun that can be. Even if you don’t want to admit to it.
Games, Apps, Games, Tools, Games…
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #3
For giving developers such little insight into the iPad there are some really strong launch apps. Geometry Wars, Scrabble, Marvel Comics, Epicurious, E-Trade, MLB At Bat 2010, Labyrinth 3D, Real-Racing HD, and Command & Conquer are all strong contenders out the gate and we can only image it’ll get better. Board games are about to be given another life.
Browsing The Web
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #2
Browsing the web on the iPad is an unexpectedly enjoyable experience, despite the absence of Flash. There are plenty of major sites ready for the iPad with the list growing. Remember how long it took for the “MP3” standard to be accepted? Well, we’re willing to bet a few beers that in a year there are going to be more sites that you browse daily that are completely compatible than not. Gear Patrol runs nicely on the iPad thank you very much.
There’s another side to browsing the web on the iPad. We think it’s because of the fact that you’re untethered from a desk. It takes the mobility that the laptop offers you (e.g. sitting on your patio, bed, comfy leather chair using the computer), takes away the extraneous weight and distractions and lets you break the 4th plane. No longer are you clicking on links and images, but tapping and interacting with them using your hands. Tangibility brought to the web, now that’s thinking different.
It’s A Cloud-based, Network Appliance
Why You’ll Love the iPad Reason #1
Pardon our moment of nerdiness here, but the iPad is a network appliance at its heart. It’s something that Apple and a lot of folks really aren’t talking about because it can be confusing to the every-day user. Obviously, the iPad works best with high-speed wireless data (which you may think oxymoronic to everything you’ve heard about AT&T to date), but that’s because the iPad will mainly live in the comfort of your home or somewhere you’re sitting. Odds are that location will have Wi-Fi because you’ve become accustomed to wanting/needing it for your laptop. Enter the iPad, a device that slides into your bag a lot easier that gets you that same content in a device that’s much easier to hold and look at. People hold magazines and newspapers at the coffee shop, the iPad (and devices like it) aren’t going to be any different. Just consider them interactive-paper.
More importantly, the iPad should be loved (if not hailed) for the well-marketed device that will help pave the way for other tablets and slate-like devices to proliferate. People want choices and inevitably many people aren’t going to own an iPad. That’s good and well because competition breeds better products. What the iPad does do though is get the every-day user to (hopefully) understand that hand-held highly-mobile are what consumers want. Everyone wants that beefy desktop with dual 30″ displays, but having the power of mobility is sought after. Why would netbooks, eReaders, and other ultra portable devices be doing so well?
Conclusion, Of Sorts
So love it or hate it, the iPad is here. If you love it then you won’t need further support to understand why it’s such an important device (important and great are different things, mind you). If you hate it, then you won’t buy it but hopefully what you will come to understand is that like the original iPod, the iPad will give manufactures and content providers the kick they need to start thinking about you, the consumer when it comes to delivering what you want. Meanwhile, the iPad will fade into ubiquity, only serving as the medium to get you what you want. Quiet purpose… now that’s something a lot of people can love.