iPad 2 impressions
I briefly tried out an iPad 2 at an Apple Store (after making an appointment at the Genius Bar for replacement rubber feet for my MacBook Pro.) I think I'll need to get one, but not just yet. So these are the impressions of an iPad newbie. Total use time, including that visit, less than 20 minutes.
Anyway, the screen feels absolutely enormous after using an iPhone 4. It feels bigger than a MacBook Air 11" or 13" because you tend to use it much closer to your eyes.
MacBooks are used on desks or in laps, so they're almost as far away as iMacs and other computers' screens. More or less arm's length. iPad tends to be used with your arm bent, at half the distance. And I didn't confirm this, but I think the shelving for iPad 2 is higher and therefore closer to your eyes than the tables used for the MacBook lines.
Anyway, I found myself holding iPad 2 in the left hand and tapping with the right hand instead of leaving it on its glass and rubber pedestal. It pulls you in. It's compelling.
To me, the screen seems sparse. There's so much space between the icons. It feels like they could either be bigger or spaced closer together. Then again, the current arrangement makes it easier for kids to tap exactly what they want to without needing grown-up hand-eye coordination.
The cameras seem like the bare minimum Apple thought they could get away with. Still photos with the rear camera showed plenty of grainy noise. But video was actually pretty good. I shot a little video in the store and although I looked as awkward as Rene the Tourist, it worked just fine.
Then I tried out the Smart Cover. It's an insanely great design, if all you want to do is cover up the screen. Fine. That's all I would want to do anyway. It worked just as perfectly for me as it did in the ad. And Gruber's suggestion of folding it up like an accordion behind the iPad to use as a hand grip really does work. You can hold iPad with less grip exertion, and the extra thickness gives it a handle-like feel. Brilliant.