I bit the bullet today and bought an iPad for my wife - for the price, the iPad 2 didn't offer much more to wait for.
I've been setting it up and playing with it for most of the day and while I have been "awed" a few times, my overall
experience hasn't been conclusive yet.
Here are my thoughts after less than a day as a "power" user... I don't care about ram size or processor speed, I'll review just the stuff the matters as an everyday consumer.
- you can't take it out of the box and just use it, it MUST be setup through iTunes first (which I've avoided installing on my pc for many years). iTunes is more bloated than quicktime and the first install didn't go smoothly. Luckily, my wife wasn't setting this up... I would imagine that Apple get's a lot of calls during the first 1 hour of ownership.
- Apple REQUIRES you to setup an "Apple ID" with your credit card information in order to use the app store - even if all you needed were free apps, your screwed without a card.
- it's hard to hold. Maybe I'm spoiled with the size and weight of my Archos 70, but this thing REQUIRES two hands and typing is frustrating.
- it doesn't have true multitasking. I thought our 256mb Archos devices were bad about closing apps to conserve memory, but this is brutal. You CAN leave one app and quickly enter another without the state of the app being altered, but 99% of the time, the app reloads or the website I was on has to refresh - it's as fake as you get for multitasking. SIDENOTE: to get to your "recent apps", you have to double-tap the home button. I would have preferred a long-press... I don't like to wear out buttons...
- And about the buttons... Android has a huge advantage with a menu key, home key, back key and search key. Constantly having to reach to the top of the screen get's old really fast.
- Apple may have lots of apps in the app store, but hardly any are free. I'm use to running everything as freeware unless it's a really specific app (like Logmein), but with Apple, there's hardly a free app selection based on how many apps are available.
- Most apps have very low ratings... not having time to test every app in the store, it seems that LOTS (more than 70% from the look of it) are 3-stars or less. Not very cool...
- Most apps do not have a trial and paid version - they are just free or not. I wanted to test a few browsers that had high ratings and unlike most android browsers (Dolphin, xScope, etc.), there was no trial or lite version to test with. Not very cool.
- Apple wants you to buy EVERYTHING!!!! This is no doubt why the insistence to have iTunes is so damn strong. Buy books, video, movies, tv shows, apps... spend all your money on us! Thanks, but I just want to use my device.
- No SD card, expensive accessories, etc. , for those that like those things - be prepared to be sad.
- The stock browser - sucks... It will load one page view, but then "checkerboard" when you pan around... not very nice to look at.
- The keyboard is garbage. Auto-correction is bad, no long-press to get alternate keys, big and clunky.
- Very clean UI. It's polished and that adds huge value for consumers.
- Compared to Android apps, there's NO COMPARISON over quality - Almost every app I installed looked amazing and had real tablet function. The CNN app - beautiful! Youtube app? Better than honeycomb... Seriously, the polish on these apps, the high-resolution they display at, just leave my mouth dropping. If I had to compare, I'd say Pulse news reader for Android is the closest thing to an ipad look and it still looks like crap compared to iPad tablet apps. SIDENOTE: Iphone apps look like hell!! That awful stretching they must endure is terrible. Maybe this is how 10" android tablets look too... I'm not sure.
- It "just works". The reason I got this for my wife, was that I was tired of hearing her complain about how difficult it was to use Android. Stuff crashed, not compatible, etc. With the iPad, things just seem to work. And that's a good thing!
- THE APPS!!!!!!! This is the one thing that Apple has an ace over Android on - the app selection (paid and free) are great. Netflix, works like a charm. Farmville (yes, we can't use this on Android) works incredibly well. Apps that are on both Android and iPad are just better on iPad...
- Accepted my wifes Wifi tether from her android phone without a hitch.
- One last thing,which is huge for me... although i-devices don't have "flash", I was able to play CNN and IGN videos (hadn't tested any more) in the browser without a HITCH. Way better than how my archos plays the same content. They may not have flash, but Apple did SOMETHING to get this working REALLY WELL. Huge applause for this.
Overall, I say the experience with an iPad has been an interesting one. I'll try to report back after using it for a while longer.
If anyone has questions about how these devices (Archos 70 / iPad) compare, just ask