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By 6 April 2010 | Categories: news

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After months of hype, the highly anticipated Apple iPad finally went on sale in the US on Saturday, surpassing 300 000 units sold on its first day of availability. Here is the initial feedback from the web.

The Good
 
The 9.7" display of the iPad is universally liked (apart from the glare), with Engadget reporting that the "Colors on the screen are vibrant and saturated, while blacks feel true and deep."
The screen can be used to view HD content (720p) and "has a seemingly low pixel density compared to select high-end smartphones. That said, everything looks sharp and colourful," stated Ubergizmo.

The more than 150 000 apps on offer for the iPad and the way some of these have been customised to work on the iPad, also managed to garner praise. “It’s one thing to use iTunes with a mouse and keyboard, navigating and clicking your way through menus and song lists. It’s another thing to use the iPod software on the iPad, where flicking your way through songs and videos seems more natural than doing it on a desktop computer. Suddenly, a mouse and keyboard feel like they get in the way of the whole computing experience,” stated Michael DeAgonia of Computerworld.

Thanks to its display and "a snappy accelerometer, eliminating the need for separate navigational controls or joysticks," the iPad is a really good mobile gaming platform according to Digital Trends. "Thanks to the iPhone, there are more games available for iPad than for all other portable gaming platforms combined."

The iPad also seems to have the immediate upper hand over the Amazon Kindle as Tim Bajarin of PCMag.com puts it: “the difference between the iPad and the Kindle is huge. With the iPad, books include colour images...I fully expect publishers to utilize the technology to create multimedia books in the near future."

But the highest words of praise for the iPad came from the highly respected Walt Mossberg, who has been writing for the Wall Street Journal since 1970, with his Personal Technology column appearing in the paper ever since 1991. He reckons that the iPad can "change portable computing profoundly", and further states that: "It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.”

The Bad
 
All isn't perfect though, as Michael Arrington of TechCrunch reported that, “[the iPad’s Wi-Fi] works fine near the router, but on the other side of the house, nada. But my Macbook pro and my Nexus One and other various devices I’ve brought into the house pick up wifi just fine in that area.” And he isn’t the only one as users posted similar comments on Apple’s user support forum. This is a pretty critical issue as the Wi-Fi only models of the iPad were launched over the weekend, meaning users can only connect to the net via Wi-Fi, with the Wi-Fi plus 3G models only arriving in late April.     

Although most reviewers like the iPad's display, some of them had an issue with the amount of glare you get on the glossy screen. "Unless you're reading in a very dim room, the glare will be noticeable and can be distracting, Live Science explained. Another issue with the screen is that its a fingerprint magnet. "With a smartphone, you can wipe the screen on your shirt or pants. The iPad is too big for that," Live Science continued. 

The on-screen keyboard also failed to get a lot of love from PC World since: "You get no physical or visual feedback when you press a key and that's frustrating if you're trying to pound out a long e-mail," according to Melissa J. Perenson. The iPad's lack of flash support also led to PC World commenting that "there are still scores of sites containing Flash ads, navigation, and applications that will simply break on the iPad."

Apple’s new iTunes LP feature, which allows users to view animated lyrics, artist or band photos, as well as other interactive digital materials that go along with the songs, hasn’t been included with the iPad. Engadget thought this was a major bummer as, the “iPad is the perfect place to view all that rich media, yet it’s nowhere to be found on the tablet. A real miss, guys!”

There is still no news on price and availability of the iPad in SA. 

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