The other day, our point of contact at our parent company NAPCO contacted Paul and me and asked if we would be interested in reviewing a 16-gigabyte iPad NAPCO had received.

Paul suggested I should be the one to review it, and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that I would be taking delivery of an iPad early next week.


I plan to do a series of review posts, just as I did for the Sony PRS-700 and the Astak 5” Pocket Pro, focusing on different aspects of the iPad (though largely aimed at its suitability as an e-book reader). At the same time, I plan to use this as an excuse to update my 18-month-old rundown of the main e-book applications for the iPhone to cover new versions, new apps, and iPad suitability.

The apps I covered in that review included eReader, BookShelf, Stanza, iSilo, and an AppEngines appbook. I plan to update those and add coverage of Kobo, Kindle Reader, Barnes & Noble eReader, Air Sharing, GoodReader, and (of course) iBooks. So it won’t take forever to write that one post, I will be posting them one at a time instead of all at once.


I have had a few chances to play with the iPad at Best Buy, though holding the device while standing up in a crowded store is hardly the same use case as lounging at home or in bed with it. Still, I was impressed by and large with the new interfaces to mobile Gmail and Google Reader.

I could see doing a lot of day to day web stuff with it, including moderating TeleRead comments and spam, keeping up with the RSS feeds I trawl for new story material (especially since the RSS reader I use now, Reeder, has updated for full-resolution iPad compatibility), and reading and replying to e-mail.

I’m a bit hesitant about how that on-screen keyboard will work to type on in the long term, given that it entirely lacks the tactile feedback one gets from even a cramped netbook keyboard. But I will give it a chance. It might well be easier than it seems once I get used to it.

One thing that kind of amuses me is the way I’ve been seeing a constant stream of app updates on my iPod Touch over the last few days whose notes include words to the effect of “added full iPad compatibility”. It’s almost like I’m being rewarded with free iPad apps for having bought the earlier versions for my iPod Touch.

Of course, some apps come out with entirely new versions for the iPad, most notably Plants vs. Zombies. But it’s a fun enough game that I suppose I can’t begrudge buying it a third time, especially since the iPad version is a lot closer to the PC version that I love. It is annoying how much more the iPad version costs, though.

In terms of usage cases, I could see the iPad becoming my primary movie-viewing device, freeing up space on my 32-gig iPod Touch for more music. I doubt I would do much music listening on the iPad, save for Pandora, since the entire 16 gigabytes would not even hold a quarter of my music collection—and anyway, I have an iPod for that.

I could also see leaving my laptop behind and taking just the iPad with me in a lot of situations—that laptop is remarkably heavy, after all. I would need the laptop with me for doing any sort of productive work—writing entries for this blog, or for my other freelance writing, for example. But if I was simply going to be surfing the web and watching videos, it would be great to be able to lighten the load.

Anyway, the iPad should arrive sometime on Tuesday. Look for unboxing videos and first impressions by Tuesday night.


  1. If you can get your hands on one of the mini Bluetooth, thumb-typing keyboards sold on eBay for about $20 up, you might want to check out if and how well they work with the iPad. They’d make a better traveling companion for an iPad than a full-sized keyboard.

    Also, with iPhone OS 4.0 finally bringing Bluetooth keyboard compatibility to the iPhone/touch, it’s going to be interesting to see how much one of these little keyboards improves the user experience, particularly since removing the touch keypad from the screen will roughly double the amount of space for text.

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