So my dad got my mom an iPad as an anniversary gift, and given I'm the family's designated tech support it befell me to set the thing up. So I thought I'd give you some quick first impressions/diatribes that are no doubt entirely unwarranted and represent a violation of Apple's reality distortion field and can't possibly exist in the physical universe.
First up, the hardware. The dimensions and weight are good. Out of the box, it feels like a good handshake. I also love that the screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio. Finally a small victory against the wide screen fascists. Also, the speaker sounded surprisingly good, not awesome, but better than I expected. And this model has the new retina display, and it's incredible.
Now that I've got you in a good mood, let's talk about the iOS. It sucks. Like hard. Remember the dashboard, that new feature introduced in Tiger where you can display widgets for everything from stocks to the weather, and the world forgot about it because nobody actually used it? Quite simply, the iOS is the revenge of the dashboard. Widgets are now "apps," or in other words, glorified bookmarks that are dependent on information retrieved from the web and can just as easily be displayed in a web page. Some apps contain more functionality, but not enough to earn the vaunted "Full software, not an app!" badge.
I read someone say the iOS makes you feel like a monkey and I agree. It's so limiting, it dumbs me down about 100 IQ points. Multitasking is difficult as each app takes up the full screen. It's hard to make apps interact with each other because the are generally no files to manipulate.
Which brings me to the biggest problem with the iOS--no file system. That's right, no Finder, no hierarchal folders, nada. You're supposed to manage all your files, mp3s, videos, etc., through iTunes somehow. To tell you the truth, I didn't even bother looking at it. The whole idea made me want to gag. But worse than that, there are several apps like Goodreader that have their own way of managing files, and there are yet more apps that use Dropbox syncing as a way to manage files. With so many apps offering different ways to manage files, it's more confusing than anything and an unnecessary pain in the ass.
Speaking of syncing, the iPad requires Leopard for iTunes syncing, so no Tiger support. Tiger users will have to find alternatives like Dropbox or VNC for networking/syncing. I know the Kindle touch can mount on a Tiger desktop as a separate volume. Why can't the iPad?
The one thing that took me aback was how many apps are ad supported. When it's an app like TVGuide, it's not so disconcerting, but ads on writing apps like Simplenote and PlainText? Are you kidding me? When I'm trying to write? They say you can get rid of the ads by paying for the full version, but ads on a writing app is just freaking extortion.
On the plus side, it comes with a nice calendar app, printing with an Epson wireless printer is easy with Epson iPrint, and there are useful/fun things like handwriting apps, crossword puzzles, and streaming apps, etc., so it should be useful as an addition to a computer. But, man, keep me away from that OS. I'm gonna hurt my knuckles banging on that screen.