7 Things That Surprised Me About Apple’s New iPad


Here’s what happened: I had ordered an iPad Wi-fi + 3G which means I would be waiting until the end of the month until I got my iPad, but I really wanted to see one in person, so Saturday afternoon my son and I went to the local Best Buy store and played with one for 45 minutes. We were just blown away, so I told the guy at Best Buy “I’ll take one” (I got totally carried away, especially since I already had one ordered).

He asked his supervisor how many they had left. He looked at me and said “Zero. We’ve been sold out for hours.” We asked if they could call around to the other Best Buys in the area. All sold out. Then I found out our IT guy had already bought two for us for testing purposes, so I snagged one for the weekend. Whoo-baby it is sweet! Anyway, here are the seven things that surprised me most:

(1) It’s better than I thought
I was expecting it to be pretty cool. I remember seeing ads and reading about the original iPhone, and I thought it looked cool, too. But once I actually held one in my hand, everything changed. Same thing here. Whatever your impressions of the iPad are, they will change once you actually hold one in your hands. It’s a beautifully designed piece of technology.

(2) It’s heavier than I thought
I knew it was a few ounces heavier than the Kindle, but it feels twice as heavy. Sturdy and well built for sure, but definitely heavier, and certainly heavier than I thought (seeing as it’s so thin).

(3) It’s faster than I thought
I’m really stunned at how fast things happen on the iPad. Photos appear instantly. You scroll through hundreds of photos in an instant. Apps launch fast. Everything just feels really, really fast. I know I’m not the first person to point this out—everybody’s saying the same thing, but I didn’t realize it would be as fast as it is.

(4) The screen is much better than I thought
I knew the screen would be good, but the screen is way over the top crisp, bright and sharp. In fact, I don’t know what they’d have to do to improve the screen itself. I’ve never seen a device this size with a screen like this. Heck, I rarely see a device of any size with a screen like this. Everything looks great on it.

(5) It Makes You Hate Your Old iPhone-sized Apps
To really experience and fall in love with an iPad, you have to use Apps redesigned for the iPad. They’re brilliant. So far, the developers seem to have not merely just up-sized their existing apps—they’ve upgraded them big time. It’s like they’ve broken free from what must have been a very limiting experience (design-wise) creating apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they’re like, “OK, now we can really do what we’ve always wanted to do!” Unfortunately, this makes you kind of hate your old iPhone apps (which get copied over to your iPad when you sync it with your computer), and honestly, I can barely stand to run them. They’re pixelated and almost “old fashioned” looking once you see what can be done at full iPad size and redesign.

(6) The Screen Seems Much Bigger Than It Is
The screen size is so perfect, that it actually seems to be much larger than it really is. It feels like there’s space galore, instead of it being at a premium. Movies look great, and feel big. Maybe it’s because the whole thing is just one big screen, but everything feels nice and big—-bigger than the screen actually is in reality.

(7) Books and Magazine are Much Better Than I Thought
Apple’s free iBooks App is just plain amazing. Way better than I thought it would be. It makes you want to read books on it. Engadget.com said it better than I could, when yesterday they wrote:

“It’s the first e-book reading experience we’ve seen that seems to truly understand the visceral, sensual enjoyment of holding an actual volume in your hand.”

The iBooks App is simply brilliant for reading novels, business books, reference books, etc.. The selection is somewhat slim at present, but like the iTunes Store, it’s going to explode with lots of titles very soon (including a bunch of my own).

Also, Amazon’s Kindle App for the iPad is amazingly good, too (in fact, since it’s in color, my Kindle format books look much better on Kindle for the iPad, than they do on an actual Kindle reader (which displays the photos in black and white), so good job Amazon—your iPad App rocks (which in my opinion, was a very smart business move for Amazon). That’s my book shown in the Kindle Reader for iPad above.

The Bottomline
When people say, “Oh, it’s just a big iPod touch,” they’d be right if all they did was run their old iPod touch Apps at 2X the size, but it’s the redesigned and new iPad Apps (like the iBook App, the Marvel Comics App, and the ABC TV App, among others) that make it an entirely different experience.

I was met with a room full of skeptics during an Easter get-together at my house yesterday—-a room full of “Oh, it’s just a big iPod touch, right?” But everybody left saying, “I have got to have one!” That doesn’t come from running iPod touch apps at twice their size.

It blew everybody away. They all already have iPhones or iPod touches, so they were expecting “more of the same,” but man did they all fall in love once they saw what it could do. I couldn’t get it out of their hands to show the next person how it worked. It has an impact that you can’t get from an article, or an Apple TV ad, or a video on their Website. You have to hold one and try it yourself. Once you do, you’ll hear what I heard half a dozen times or more yesterday. “This is way better than I thought.” I totally agree.

  1. see, these are the reviews that make me want to buy it even if i know i don’t need it! hahaha! i’m looking forward to getting the wifi+3g and i hope they announce it soon in the philippines!

  2. I’m still getting used to mine, and I agree the screen makes my photos look incredible. Here’s a couple of things that needs improvement:
    1. They need a anti-glare screen layover like the ones made for the iPhone. My screen has so many fingerprints on it that it’s distracting. Also, it’s mega-glary. I mean is reflects everything.
    2. I think it would be great if it had a USB port so you could upload photos right from your camera, I could replace my Epson P-3000.
    3. A cup holder (j/k)
    Overall it’s pretty cool, but I think it’s true potential won’t be known until the iPad specific apps are available, then we’ll see what it can do.

  3. Man I want one but can’t decide to get the iPad or a Macbook pro. The one and only thing stopping me from getting an iPad is that there is no Lightroom App for it. I’m very surprised that you haven’t spoken about that yet in your blog. You’re the photoshop guy. What do you think? Will there be a Photoshop or Lightroom App for the iPad in the future?

    1. To me, that’s a no-brainer. Get the MacBook Pro if you need to load and process your photos on the go. I think of the iPad as light computing, but managing and processing photos isn’t light-duty work.

      1. Yeah I know, but the Macbook Pro doesn’t have 3G internet or thousands of great games. I have a new 27 inch iMac at home so I’ll hold off for now and hope they make an iPad Pro in the not-too-distant-future.

  4. I don’t like all this iPad talk, we don’t have it over here yet :cry: (probably somewhere in june…)


    Anyway, I wonder if you still like reading from an iPad when you’re out in the sun? Problem with backlit screens is that they read horribly in direct sunlight and for a prolongd period of time (your eyes will get tired).

    Even without full reading possibilities it still looks like a great product.

  5. I’m thinking this may be the begining of the decline of desktops and laps. I know I use my Iphone now for twitter, email, checking my flyckr site and my bank accounts instead of my computors. I have 3 laptops and they hardly get used anymore (I guess flash based programs and photoshop on the go are about it).

      1. Thank you Ken. I knew I could depend on you. Where is your restaurant? I travel quite a bit and would like to try it out.

      2. The Flounder (opened in 1969) located at the intersection of I-85 and I-26 in Spartanburg,SC. Physical is: 160 Barbado Lane, Spartanburg,SC,29301 . This is physical only (no mail to this address). Open Wed thru Sun 3:30 to 9:30 (very busy). Thank you.

      1. Dear Scottius Maximus

        Sooner than we think for the online training content on Kelbytraining.com?

        With Lightroom 3 and CS5 scaling the horizon, I’m trying to get my brain ready for a lot of learning.


      2. OMG! That will be amazing! I rarely read my PSU and Layers mag issues anymore as I’ve gone digital (its just too expensive to have them shipped outside the US :() and I like having them on the desk whilst I work away at the tutorials on my computer, and when I had the print edition I’d more often read it from the bed, or on the go before deciding which tutorials I wanted. Having them on the Ipad will be amazing I cant wait to be able to experience PSU like a magazine again! :D

        (I’m REALLY excited for the marvel app! No more hunting for that one obscure issue to fill in storyline gaps, although I’m still a collector so I’ll probably still pick up a few issues here and there, but keeping on track of the story (especially when travelling) Will be a breeze! :D

      3. Oh yes and I double Jaddie Dodd’s Kelbytraining.com content on the IPAD! :D a Kelbytrainning app would be AMAZING! Like the mags its so much nicer to have the tutorial on a seperate screen/device so it doesnt eat up photoshop real estate when working on the computer :D

  6. Oh man – yet another piece of equipment that once I touch it – I’ll have to have it. Just like the Cintiq and the iPhone. Oh yeah – I knew it anyway, you just confirmed it! Looking forward to one with 3G. Thanks for the review!

  7. Hey Scott. Hope you had a good Easter. Awesome article about the iPad! You mentioned that your books are in the Kindle format and soon to be for the iBook App. Did you use a conversion house to digitize your books? If not, do you know or recommend any conversion houses to digitize books for Kindle & iBook App? Thanks for your help!

  8. Hey Scott,

    Do you see the iPad as having the potetial to replace the Epson P-x000 Multimedia Photo Viewer and similar devices? I think the memory, even at 64Gb is limited (my P-5000 has 80Gb storage) but for short trips, if I had to drop something from my bag to make space for the iPad, this is what I’m thinking. Would love to know your thoughts.

  9. As to getting photos onto the pad… It will natively load any and all albums from Aperture. Both Aperture 3.0 and iPhoto (yuk) show up in the sync menu and all of the projects/albums can be individually chosen. What I had to do (there is probably a better way… this is just the first that I found and works because I happen to have both LR and Aperture) was export to export a LR collection to a directory on my hard disk then suck it up into Aperture, then sync. A long way to go on a “workflow” basis, but then again, how many times a day (or week) do you update your portfolio… Keep in mind that “display” is one of the Pad’s strong points.

    Based on my experience (both days of it!) this thing will be big for photographers and bigger for a lot of other folks. Does it do “everything”?… well no. But what it does do, it does very well and you only have to use it for a few minutes before you understand that what it will be, once the coders come into play, is flat awesome.

    Don’t throw out your laptop yet (or maybe never)…. but you gotta get yourself one of these.


    Sent from my iPad

  10. The iPad is definitely going to be the ‘must’ have piece of hardware for business and pleasure users alike.

    What’s really exciting is to think that this is the 1st Generation. Look how the iPod has changed over the years; now imagine what the iPad will become…mind blowing for sure!!!

    Here’s to the future,
    Best wishes,

  11. From my experience on my iPad so far, I would slightly tweak #6 to say “It looks smaller than I thought but *feels* bigger than I thought.”

    It also makes me feel like shouting out, “Number 1, ahead Warp Factor 3.”

  12. Scott, I had a similar experience. After reading some iPad blogs on Saturday morning, I took my daughters to BB to play with one to placate me until the 3G arrives at the end of the month (that’s April 6th, isn’t it?). After a few minutes of playing/working with it, I told the salesman, “I’ll take one.” Our BB had a few left in stock so we bought one. My eldest daughter, 19, said, “Beats a chocolate bunny and not as many calories either, Happy Easter, pops.”

    For the iPad haters, sorry you don’t like it. Sorry the Easter Bunny didn’t stop by your house. For me and virtually everyone else who has had a chance to use the device, wow, this is a game changer and it’s only the first iteration. The possibilities are endless. I’l look back on Saturday like I remember the first time I used a mouse when everyone called the Mac a toy rather than a computer, or the first time I was able to correct the faded/blown out color of an old scanned print in Photoshop—like I was cheating or something. The start of something big, new and fantastically different.

  13. I have to say, I had nearly the opposite experience. I’d been luke warm on the iPad but come Saturday I was starting to drink the Apple Kool-aid. I figured I’d go down to the Apple Store and give it a try expecting full well to walk out of the store with one, unable to resist the temptation.

    So then I picked one up and my first impression was that the device was remarkably heavy for it’s size. I tried to imagine holding onto this thing for hours while reading a book and I couldn’t fathom it. So as an e-book reader, I was underwhelmed compared to the Kindle which also has a much better display for that purpose.

    I started playing with some of the other features, but overall nothing really leapt out at me. It was a big iPod Touch. I tried playing a game, and sure it looked good, but the tilt controls annoyed me as they do on my iPhone. Browsing the web was great, but certainly no better than my laptop.

    To me the iPad makes great sense if you’re in situations where neither a laptop nor an iPhone are ideal. At home I always have a laptop or desktop at hand, and during my commute, I’ve got my iPhone. If I was travelling a lot more I could definitely see the value of this, but for the time being it just really doesn’t fit any needs I have.

    1. At first I thought you were right. But after a couple of weeks with mine I take it with me constantantly. I place it on my lap in it’s case and no weight at all. I now am uo to date with news and have most of my reference material with me, also makes a great platform for a photo portfolio.

  14. Scott,

    There are two things that would “close” the deal for me. First, a third party to figure out how to upgrade the SSD to a 250GB unit (500GB would be better but the price would be prohibitive at the moment). Second, Adobe creates a Lightroom App based on the library module. If we can import photos in the field, apply meta presets, make selections, rate and caption photos… then sync to a Mac/PC running Lightroom proper when back from a location shoot, I’d be sold on the iPad becoming an essential tool.

  15. What hasn’t received much attention or comment is the VGA adapter. I bought one yesterday just before going before 200 Windows users. Much to my chagrin, embarrassment, annoyance, and surprise, the iPad did not display on two Toshiba video projectors. Apparently, the VGA adapter only displays Keynote presentations and perhaps movies, but, foolish me, I thought it would behave like VGA adapters on all other Apple computers.

    After I finish wiping eggs off my face, I’ll go back to Apple and return this adapter. It does not do what I expect a VGA adapter to do and not having the ability to display iPad apps or screens on a video projector is a serious, SERIOUS drawback. Hope that Apple can correct this shortcoming sooner rather than later.

  16. That “It’s the first e-book reading experience we’ve seen that seems to truly understand the visceral, sensual enjoyment of holding an actual volume in your hand” quote is what gets my attention. I love holding the actual books. I’ll even pay more for a nicer feeling volume. I start teaching a high school homeschool class in the fall with a large reading list. I wonder if all of the titles will be available, and also if it would be difficult in class to use during class discussions—finding passages, etc. On the other hand, I imagine it must have good bookmarking features…?

  17. Scott,
    I have your first book, Digital Photography Book, as a Kindle version, and now I want #2 and #3 to put on my iPad. I love having the idea of having these books with me on the go. I would prefer to use the iBook app instead of the Kindle app. You hinted at content coming out for the iBook….is there any way you can hint if these volumes will be coming out in the iBook store or should I go ahead and buy them through the Kindle store??

  18. Okay Scott you have convinced me to get the kindle app I was not aware that it was in color and honestly your books in black and white just made no sense.

    Now if we can get media rich Photoshop user magazine for the iPad life would be so much nicer.

  19. ok so my question is…when is the book coming out Scott? I have read and enjoyed AND learned so much from your books that i am waiting for your book on the ipad. So is it in the works?

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