It’s not really an earthshaking headline. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past two months, you probably already know that today, Saturday, April 3, 2010 is the official release date for the new Apple tablet.
Today’s iPad release is limited to the WiFi-only model with the 3G-enabled version coming out later this month. As noted in a previous post, I opted for the 3G model so my release date has not yet arrived.
Even so, I could not resist traveling to the Apple Store at the Altamonte Springs, FL mall this afternoon to see what the “buzz wuz”. I fully expected to see a line of people slowly working their way into the store a few customers at a time. The velvet rope was there, but no line was there. I had timed my arrival for one hour after the pre-order period that ended at 3:00.
Inside the store, it was very easy to detect where the iPad display was located. You couldn’t see the device, but a crowd of people about 2 or 3 deep was in the front right quadrant of the store surrounding something of interest. Since I didn’t hear the sounds of a fist fight or other disturbance, I assumed that this was the iPad table.
Yes it was. I waited patiently for about 10-15 minutes until I finally wormed my way to the table’s edge. There it was, the iPad. No longer was it a JPEG image on a web page or a video on Apple’s web site. It was an actual”pick it up in your hands” device.
I took a quick 5 minute spin around the iPad, sampling features such as iBooks, Safari and Mail. The iPad display was amazing. The iPad responded immediately to taps and swipes. Having used the iPhone since it was first released in June 2007, the iPad User Interface (UI) was a comfortable fit. Unlike the anticipated lag of the iPhone, movements such as pinch and zoom were “instantly” (nothing is really instant in the world of computers) rendered by the iPad. graphics engine.
I sampled two iPhone games; NBA Live and Madden NFL 10. I could quickly see that the iPad will be a great device for gamers.
I am most excited with iBooks. With my visual difficulties, the reading of books has waned over the years. With the use of the Voiceover function within iPad, I will now be able to resume a “read anywhere” life style by letting the iPad read to me. I was also favorably surprised at the ability to set different font sizes which allowed me to read the text.
I grudgingly surrendered my position at the table to a lady standing behind me. I left the store and opened my iPhone to check some early reviews. Even though I had used the iPad for a few minutes only, the iPhone now felt a little cramped by comparison.
I am now downloading selected iPad apps in preparation for the arrival of my iPad in late April. Late April…. that seems so far away.
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