Apple iPad: Eight Hours Later

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I’ve had about eight hours to play around with the iPad. Not much has changed since January when I first handled the iPad. But here are a few thoughts (including answers to questions from Twitter):

• You definitely have to handle one before passing judgment. If you haven’t then you should really keep your trap shut until you do. It’s not quite “magic” as Jobs put it, but it’s pretty damn close.

• Twitteriffic blows TweetDeck away.

• When scaled up, iPhone apps look like garbage on the iPad.

• Speaking of iPad apps, the apps available today aren’t very good. More on that later.

• Keyboard in portrait mode: It’s best to peck at it.

• Keyboard in landscape mode: It takes a bit of time to get used to the layout of the keyboard but I haven’t had very many issues knocking out e-mails, Twitters or taking notes.

• Two-column menu systems are amazing.

• Is it better than a netbook or laptop? It all depends on how you plan to use the device. As Lev pointed out earlier this week, you can’t really create too much content with the device but you can certainly consume copious amounts of it. My plan is to use it at home in bed or on the couch or on the can (you know everyone will). I caught the iPad episode of “Modern Family” while making breakfast, folding laundry and brushing my teeth. You can take it EVERYWHERE. It does not heat up when watching videos. The iPad is exactly what a netbook should be.

• Is it better than the Kindle? I have yet to read an iBook for more than a few minutes, so I can’t comment just yet. I passed on the iPad to a friend and her immediate reaction when reading an iBook was “It’s just like a book.” Prices seem a bit high.

• The Marvel comic app is really slick. IDW’s app struggles when iPhone-specific comics are opened on the iPad – they don’t work.

• Battery life after eight hours of moderate usage is at 66 percent.

• App Store: Navigating through the iPad’s App Store is a bit frustrating. For example, our parent company, TIME magazine, occupies the thumbnail of the News section but the actual app is not listed. You can only find it when you search for it or when you’re perusing the “Top Charts” section of the store.

• Subscription management for magazines is hit or miss. TIME requires you to download a new issue each week while Men’s Health‘s app contains all issues within the one app.

• The NYT Editors’ Choice app is a bit underwhelming. Let’s see what their paid app looks like.

• I have yet to come across a game that blows me away. Everything has basically been resized and that’s it.

Anything else you want to know? We’ll have a more formal review in the coming days when Apple sends us a review unit (I’ve been using a friend’s all day).