First impressions of the new iPad

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I am a life long Windows junkie, but I love getting my hands on new technology and tinkering with something fresh and new. Linux (CentOS, Mint, Ubuntu, Arch, and others), Mac OS, Windows Mobile, Android, Windows Phone 7, Palm OS, and the HP Touchpad are all devices and operating environments that I have tinkered with within the last year. I really love getting to play with new tech, but sometimes people ask what I think of a device and I really have to think hard about it before I just spout off glorious praise, or damning criticism. The 3rd generation iPad is one of those devices.

Truth be told, I am writing this on the new iPad, but I am still adjusting to it. So why don’t I just give some of my initial impressions, since I am only about 72 hours in to my ownership and still on my first battery charge.

First, the iOS itself is an impressive feat. It is slick, beautiful, responsive, intuitive, fast, and iOS5 makes even more difficult tasks a cinch. The new four-finger gestures like pinching the screen to get back to the home screen, or swiping up from the bottom to open the recent applications menu, are impressive little usability nods that make the environment a real treat. The fact that it never gets bogged down is also mind bending.

The screen is stunning on this third gen unit, as well. It is exceedingly clear. Reading on this display is a treat. When you find an app that is actually designed for the iPad, such as the Engadget app, you really get the full sense of how much work was put in to this small screen.

My biggest dislike, and this is going to upset the apple cart (seriously, are you ready for this?) (also, no pun intended), comes from the app store. I know. Apple invented the concept. Evidently, they also invented the get rich quick scheme. Perhaps I have been spoiled by my time in the Android Market (Google Play Store). But I have become accustomed to many quality free apps. My phones (both Windows Phone AND Android) came per-loaded with Office Productivity suites. Windows Phone, of course, with its Mobile version of Office, and my HTC phone was kind enough to graciously provide me with QuickOffice, another staple in portable productivity software which I believe a recall from way back on my Palm m500!

Even though the battery life is astounding, I am not really doing anything on the iPad I wasn’t already doing with my Android or Windows Phone 7 phone, which I have been using on wifi only for months now. I’m just doing it bigger. Maybe I need time for it to grow on me, maybe I need to buy some of those apps (although I still think that the ad-supported model is the way to go), and see what I am missing out on. But, outside of the apps, what does the iPad have on something like Windows Phone, even? I haven’t seen anything truly stand out, yet. Here is hoping it will.