Finally, the iPad has been released and is available in the UK.
On release day, I called into PCWorld on the way to work and lo and behold there it was 10 minutes later I had one in my grasp together with some 'extras' a case and screen protector. I obtained the 32GB wi-fi version - as I will mainly be using it in the office and from home I declined the opportunity to obtain a 3G version. Time will tell whether a 3G version would be better.
Not a great deal in the box just the iPad, charger and USB cable.
The charger is a 10W unit and various notes on the web discuss problems charging from a USB port. The official word from Apple states that to charge the battery you can connect to a high-power USb 2.0 port or connect to a power outlet using the power adapter, and comments that some USB ports do not provide enough power to charge the iPad and will display 'Not Charging'.
None of my (desktop or laptop) machines, apparently, will charge the iPad howeverit does appear to charge in spite of what is displayed although very slooooowly.
Read additional notes on battery life at the Apple web-site
Switch on, connect to iTunes, using the USB cable perform an initial sync and you're good to go.
Initial comments and feedback from people who've managed to get their hands on it include
'it's just a big iPhone/iPod touch'
In some respects that's exactly what it is, however the increased size provides a similar but different user experience. It is more comfortable to read and use and the increased screen estate allows for different layouts for the basic applications which are installed by default. Certainly, if you've ever used an iPhone or iPod Touch you'll know how to use one of these.
'its just like your laptop without the keyboard'
Pretty much the case. The keyboard is on-screen when required and when in landscape orientation can consume half the screen - however, this does enable something closer to a full-size keyboard that you can touch type with. You can also buy a docking keyboard as an optional extra if you prefer.
'the weight is noticeable'
After holding it for a while you may start to notice how heavy it is. The wi-fi model comes in at 1.5 pounds (0.68kg) and the wi-fi + 3G model is 1.6 pounds (0.73kg) Also it takes a while to find the position which you find most comfortable.
'its difficult to find the most comfortable reading angle'
If you want to read a book how would you hold it ? You try and hold it like a physical book but after a while you probably leave it resting on you lap although tilted at a slight angle. The tilt angle is probably an important factor here and it certainly does seem more comfortable at an angle rather than when laid flat on your lap or a work surface. It is possible to buy a case as an optional extra from Apple that enables you to use it as a stand at an angle of approximately 30 degrees although there are mixed reports about the case.
'its great for viewing Photos and videos and playing games'
Certainly true - graphics quality seems excellent and I couldn't fault the ease for viewing graphics. I like the glossy screen too although its not to everybody's taste .
'the cost is too prohibitive'
The 32GB wi-fi model is £499 which pus it out of the reach of a lot of users. Would it be more cost effective to go for a netbook/laptop ? - almost certainly just as you get more value for money if you buy a desktop machine rather than a laptop. The jury is out on whether the iPad is really worth it.
Feel free to add your own comments