So back to my personal situation, I was quiet sceptical about the utility of the iPad , at least the first generation model for myself as what was being offered looked half baked and quiet restricted. However I was quiet pleasantly surprised to get a 3G iPad as a gift a few weeks ago and set out to see where the hype ended and reality set in. I'll preface my comments with the note that while I've had it for a few weeks I've not been able to spend a lot of time using it due to work commitments .
My first impression was that it's smaller then I'd mentally thought but at the same time was heavier then expected. The screen is incredibly glossy and bright and has unbelievable good viewing angles which was a very pleasant surprise. The glossy screen while a fingerprint magnet is still much better then the screen on my iPhone 3G courtesy of apples new oleophobic coating.
Still fingerprints do show, especially when the light hits the screen at certain angles, so much so that a microfiber cloth has become my constant companion in my bag, as I seem to be cleaning the screen constantly. But that's going to be a problem with any touch screen device so take it with a grain of salt.
An issue that has been under much debate in a lot of places including one of my favourite forums, Mobileread is how the ips screen fares for reading for long periods of time both indoors and out in the sun. Well, my own usage has shown that at least personally I do find the backlit screen a little more fatiguing then the eInk screen on my pocket pro, at least for longer reading sessions. As such my long form reading, at least for now has and will continue on a dedicated reading device. Part of the reason for that is also the weight. My reader is a lot lighter, allowing me to read one handedly, something which I can not do for longer periods of time on the iPad.
However this does not mean that I don't find the iPad useful for a lot of stuff. Let me Go with each of my use cases in no particular order and how the iPad has fared
One of the main uses I envisioned for the iPad for for sharing videos with other people, and in that the iPad has fared remarkably well. One of the first things I did on getting the iPad was to load on a few videos and then showed them off to my family. Everybody I showed it off to were surprised at how good it looked, and were pretty much gripped. One of the most telling reactions was from my 90 year old grandmother who is usually completely uninterested in tech gadgets. One the iPad was in her lap, she was gripped and greatly enjoyed the watching experience, more so then how we usually show videos to her, on a large screen projector. Something of the personal viewing experience just clicked with her. I saw similar reactions again and again, so I have to say that apple really hit the nail on the head with this functionality.
The second use I envisioned was sharing photos, and here again, apple has succeeded to a great extent, everybody really enjoyed looking at photos, quickie zooming in a and out and going through tons of photos quiet quickly Here again it was the tech uninclined who really got into the experience, so all I can say is Score to apple. The wide viewing angle has been really helpful here as its often four to five around the iPad looking at photos and commenting on and remembering events.