I've been foaming at the mouth with desire for an iPad since they were first announced back in January, and just when I thought I was days away from getting my hands on one in April I then had to endure another month of buttock-clenching anticipation because of unexpectedly high demand for them in the U.S. (damn you yankees!).
But then, finally, on May 10th I was at last able to pre-order my iPad. I was a happy bunny, although the days between pre-ordering and actually getting it were quite frankly among the longest of my life … although maybe not quite as long as I'd initially thought they would be…
Y'see, last Wednesday I just happened to click the 'Track your order' button on the Apple website and it said that my order would be delivered on the 27th. Yes, the 27th, just as I'd been tol- Wait a sec! The 27th?! That's the day before the UK iPad launch! I almost EXPLODED with excitement, and subsequently went to bed very early in anticipation (it felt like Christmas Eve).
So on the 27th I got up early, raced into work, and sat at my desk pretending to be busy all the while keeping a beady eye fixed firmly down the stairs at the front door. And that's how I remained for about four hours. At one I headed out to lunch, walking through the backstreets of Hammersmith with said beady eye now on the lookout for the UPS delivery van.
I returned to the office an hour later: NOTHING.
I harumphed, and got back to work (ish). And then I heard the front door open: it was a man in brown. I raced downstairs, looked at the UPS guy and shouted "YOU'RE MY HERO!" (I'm not writing that for comic effect, I seriously did). He was obviously used to such insanity on this day and replied "yeah, I've heard that a lot today!" I almost hugged him. I almost gave him a KitKat, and lord knows I do not part with my KitKats easily.
The iPad arrives! (the envelope on top is a separate package containing the iPad case I also ordered)
I'd already made the decision that, as you need to connect your iPad to your iTunes to zip all your goodies across (music, video, apps, etc), I wasn't actually going to get it out in the office. Also, it would've been a massive distraction and I was WELL busy. And I didn't want all my colleagues getting their grubby finger marks all over it.
I did, however, tease myself because I'm naughty.
The excitement at having received my iPad the day before its actual launch was bittersweet, however, as while I would've loved to have shot home at warp speed to start playing with it, I actually had a prior engagement that evening - a family outing to see John Mayer in concert at Wembley Arena.
And so I boxed iPad up and headed off to meet the fam.
John Mayer was very good.
The things that man can do with a guitar. Let's just say that Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Anniston are VERY lucky ladies.
Anyway, after dropping Sparky Ma and Pa home at quarter past midnight, I headed home. And while any sane man would've popped straight off to bed, I decided that I would CRACK OPEN MY iPAD!
Quite frankly because it would've been rude not to. And, of course, I even took the time to document it!
Notice how I framed this image to look a bit like the obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey (unintentionally).
I *heart* Apple packaging - it's so minimalistic and devoid of bulky stuff you've then got to throw out.
FINALLY - IT'S WITHIN MY GRASP! The iPad actually appears a bit smaller than you'd imagine it to be, but that's not a complaint - it feels so very right in your hand.
How perfect, minimalist, and so utterly right does the design of this thing look? It truly is like something off of Star Trek.
Zipping my stuff over. Within 15 minutes of getting it out of the box I'd popped some movies, music, photos, and apps (all the ones I'd listed in my earlier post) on my iPad. All my contacts, calendars, notes and settings synced seamlessly too.
Just for completists sake, here's the box for the case.
While I don't use a case for my iPhone now, I did think it was wise to use some form of protection for my iPad. I went with Apple's own case because I liked the design of it, and I figured they'd know better than anyone what's best for the gadget they created.
Some people have dismissed the iPad as being nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch, but I can say this: they clearly haven't used one. Yes, it uses Apple's iPhone OS, but it's so much more than just a bigger version of the iPhone/iPod Touch. I literally lost four hours to surfing the internet on it on Friday evening; websites I've been reading for years suddenly seemed new and exciting again as my fingers - not just one finger like I'd use on my iPhone - but all my fingers danced across that beautiful vibrant screen, hitting links, starting videos, zooming in on pictures - and the iPad kept up with the incredible pace of my discoveries, loading pages every bit as quickly as my iMac does.
The onscreen keyboard that pops up when you want to enter text is just brilliant, my initial hesitancy in tapping out words quickly giving way to touch-typing just as quickly and efficiently (for me, anyway) as I would if I were using a regular keyboard. Seriously, how long before Apple introduce a multitouch keyboard, or at the very least an app that lets me use my iPad as one?
Oh, and apps … lovely apps. I'm currently obsessed by this:
And, of course, all my existing iPhone apps work on the iPad too, either in an iPhone-sized window in the middle of the screen, or by using the double-pixel option that boosts them up to fill all the available space; admittedly when using this option they're not quite as gorgeous to look at as an iPad-specific app, but they're still perfectly usable.
I'll also be using my iPad to read my very first eBook (or as Apple call it, iBook) at some point, having downloaded my complimentary copy of Winnie-the-Pooh.
To sum up, then, I'm amazed by this device. Since I got it I've barely turned on my iMac (seriously, any comments I've left on blogs, Facebook, or Twitter over the last few days have all been done on my iPad), and I love that I can sit curled up on the sofa or in bed and reply to emails, surf the net, or play games.
But there is one slight downside…
…my iPhone feels *really* tiny and just a little bit clunky now.