Impressions of the iPad 2

I’ve had an iPad 2 for almost a week now and while I’m late to the game I’m ready to share my impressions. By the way when I say late I mean really late, as in I skipped the first iPad and this is the first one I have owned. My feeling a year ago was that the iPad was a terrific product that would become fully mature with a second release. Given everything I’ve read on the subject it seems that I was correct. I can’t talk about the increased speed of the iPad 2 or any other improvements over the original but I will give my perspective on the device and how I think I’ll be using it.

Just a Big iPhone?

When I first started using the iPad I couldn’t help but compare it to the iPhone 4 I’ve had for almost a year. I love how the home screen adjusts with the orientation of the device (unlike the iPhone), I love how the wifi signal stays strong throughout my home (unlike the iPhone) and I like typing on the iPad (unlike the iPhone). I’m still not sure how I like reading on the iPad though – even with its much smaller screen the iPhone’s retina display makes reading more pleasant to my eyes than the iPad’s pixelated text. No doubt this issue will become moot within another release cycle or two.

The iPad impresses me most of all as a computer. My two year old son calls the iPhone simply “phone”. When he first saw the iPad he said “little ‘puter” (it was adorable, truly). I’m finding myself using the iPad to do all the things I would usually rather do on my laptop: process email, write notes, visit web sites, etc. In some ways these tasks are even more enjoyable on the iPad especially since I can so them more easily on the sofa without waiting for a computer to start up or shut down when I’m finished. As I mentioned earlier I’m even liking typing on the iPad, especially with the benefit of auto correction, which although a mixed bag I’m still finding more of a help than a hindrance.

So Close to Perfection

After all this gushing I’ll bring up one quibble. Although it’s great that the home screens can display properly in landscape mode it’s a pain that it changes the layout of the icons. For me, recognition of each icon has a lot to do with its relative position on the screen and it’s confusing for that position to change when I rotate the device.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about the iPad as I continue to use it and learn how it’s going to fit into my life and workflows. Meanwhile I continue to be inspired by what I feel is the beginning of a real revolution in computing interfaces.

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