iPad – so I’ve caved in but I’m not regretting it for a second

So I gave in and got my friend to get me an iPad on his travels. I know I was pondering this for quite a while even blogging about it last week. Last weekend I was wandering through the shops and had a little play with the Galaxy Tab. It was nice looking, but it just didn’t have the “wow” factor that the iPad has IMHO. So I relented and bought one.When it was revealed that the purchase was made, I couldn’t wait to get me hands on it. Finally, a couple of days after the notification I picked it up yesterday lunchtime. Still at work, I set it on charge and carried on my work – wishing the time away until home time. After getting my kids from school I sat them down in-front of the TV and switched the iPad on.

Set Up

First screen said please connect to iTunes. I thought “WTF?”. What happens if you don’t have iTunes? Anyway, I switched off and on again to see if this was an error. No. I didn’t know that this was the way the tablet started up first time so I ran downstairs to plug into my mac-mini.

That was it. Sync setup and Apple ID all recognized. All ready to go .. straight for a software update. All pretty painless so far. So I unplugged and started my experience proper. I started with the basics: network; VPN: mail and general settings. All very straight forward. I even found out that you can sync google contacts while connect to the master iTunes machine. Happy days: Gmail sorted in minutes.

Social Media Apps

Friendly for iPad is very simple to use and is a lot more responsive than the de facto Facebook mobile and touch sites. Some very nice features and Facebook chat is also possible. I downloaded Tweetdeck but that seem very limited as you could only use Twitter accounts, unlike the desktop version. It also lagged very much so it was not very “real time”. I opted for the Twitter app. Pretty simple to use and easy to get the streams up to date quickly.

Games

Angry Birds obviously was the first download. Since I have a variation on the original version on my N900 I decided to opt for “Seasons”. I haven’t really played it yet but I know what I am getting. I also downloaded “Cut The Rope (Lite)” – this looks as if it will be very addictive too.

Media

I’ve installed 3 main applications in this area. Plex allows me to access all files running on my Plex Media server. This worked like a charm with almost no configuration required. I also bought XBMC Commander. This is a web front end to the XBMC media center that is sitting on my Apple TV. I only had to enter the server details and that was up and running within seconds. This too is a brilliant app. The last application is this category is the Remote app from Apple. It allows me currently to control my iTunes in a swish interface. Outputting the audio to my ATV means that I have a really cool remote control for my music now too.

News

BBC news and NPR were the first downloads in this category. The BBC app is really nice though it could be a little quicker on updating. There are settings that could at least be set to ensure feed updates are more frequent. Another nice feature is being able to listen to World Service at the same time. NPR has good news articles and audio for just about everything. I also download Mashable for tech news. Helsinki Sanamot for the missus.

Utilities

Dropbox, Shazam, AccuWeather app all work well – nothing extra-ordinary here. The iBooks and Kindle app look quite good – will this encourage me to read [more]?

First Day Impressions

Wow. I know that this model will be surpassed by the new one in a couple of months but this really fits my requirements as a media front end and web browsing device. I can’t believe I took so long to get one.