The iPad has been launched on the United States.

It was met with drooling, lust, and also some doubt. I’ve spent some time with the iPad and have some things to tell you. Some people have called it a giant iPhone ... well, that’s not far off. It looks like an iPhone, it does most of the things that an iPhone does – but instead of the smaller iPhone screen, it has a gorgeous, 9.7-inch LED backlit display. In fact, it kinda is a giant iPhone ... that is, if it had a phone. Or a camera. And was much more inexpensive. But I digress …

Let’s talk about what I like. The screen is AMAZING. It works just like an iPhone, so if you are familiar with the interface (or spent 5 minutes with someone else’s), you already know how to use it.  That, in itself, is pretty awesome.   

You can surf the web, get your email and download your music and videos to it. Also – there are more than 250,000 apps.  There is no keyboard, just the virtual one like the iPhone. I have no problem with the keyboard as I’m accustomed to using one on my iPhone. Currently six versions of the iPad are offered. The WiFi-only format (can only connect to the internet when there is a wireless connection) is available in 16GB ($499), 32GB ($599), and 64GB ($699) models. 

There is a WiFi/3G model as well – it is available in the same sizes but can connect through WiFi or over AT&T’s 3G network (for a fee, of course - $29.99 a month for unlimited data). These models are priced at $629, $729 and $829 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, respectively. 

The iPad does have an electronic book reader app called iBook (Apple’s own of course).  This will give Amazon’s Kindle a run for the money, and I would expect to see the Kindle drop in price soon because of it. People won’t pay exclusively for a book reader when they can have a book reader that does a million other things for a couple hundred dollars more. As you may remember, I’ve been reading electronic books almost exclusively for five years now. The iBook reader is nice. The books look great and the selection seems very extensive. Book prices vary depending on the book.

Now on to what I don’t like. 

The iPad is stunning, but after I few minutes I began to notice it seems heavy.  It’s 1.5 pounds and .5 inch thick. I know this doesn’t seem that heavy, but after a few minutes, my wrists could tell. Second thing – it doesn’t have a camera. That seems so silly to me. Why not put this capability on a device at this price?!  I’m sure Apple will correct this on the second version. Hey – you have to hold some things back to keep people coming, right?  Third – the data plan is expensive and in my opinion, you need it. Although WiFi is available in many places, free WiFi isn’t easy to come by. Therefore, if you want to be able to use your iPad all the time and no matter where you are,  then you need the 3G. I wasn’t able to test a 3G one but I’m told that the service is as reliable as it is on your iPhone. If there is 3G in your area, then the service is pretty good. Personally, I don’t have many issues with my AT&T service in Nashville.

So, is it worth the money? If you love your iPhone and want to marry it, then yes. You will be thrilled with the iPad and it’s much easier to read while lying on your couch at home. Personally, I think I’m going to wait on the second generation and see what they can add to it for the same price. I have a laptop (Macbook Air), a Kindle book reader, a Sony eReader, and I have an iPhone, so I don’t need it.  After seeing what they can add in version 2, I bet I’ll need one. If you don’t want to switch to AT&T phone service, and you’re thinking about getting a laptop anyway, you might want to consider one.  It is pretty cool, after all. 

More information about the iPad can be found at

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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