Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hands-On With the iPad

Today I had the opportunity to play with the iPad up at the BYU Bookstore.  I ended up staying way longer than I thought I was going to, and I had lots of fun.  The iPad is very nice to hold and isn't too heavy.  The screen looks great, and interacting with it is very slick.  When running iPhone/iPod touch apps, there is a "1X" button for viewing the app at its native smaller size, and a "2X" button to zoom the app to the size of the iPad.  When viewed in this 2X mode, the iPhone apps look pixelated and not very good.  But at 1X, the shrunk-down size looks better.  I imagine that as developers create their apps for both iPhone and iPad, that this won't be an issue.

Gaming on the iPad is super fun! Games like Plants vs Zombies and Real Racing HD are amazingly immersive and a lot of fun. The 3D and overall graphics in Real Racing easily top that of the Nintendo DS, and arguably the PSP (not sure about the PSP2). If you hold the iPad in landscape mode, your hand may cover the speaker, which can be a little weird at first. Rotating the iPad 180 degrees solves this problem, though.

I tested videos from YouTube using HTML5 instead of Flash, and the videos played back flawlessly on the YouTube page.  When I turned off the HTML5 in YouTube, the videos still played back great within the page, so there must be some native interpretation going on in Safari where it defaults to HTML5 for any supported web video.  Very cool!

When you launch iTunes on the iPad, you get a full-featured iTunes experience almost identical to what you get on the desktop version of iTunes:

Here is a sample of video playback (see if you can notice my silly grin in the reflection):

After playing with the iPad today, I'm more excited about it, and I think it will be huge for folks wanting something on which they can casually surf the web, check e-mail and play games while at home or traveling. I look forward to seeing lots of different applications where the iPad will perfectly meet a particular need either in the home or in businesses.

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