The iPad's 9.7-inch, LED-backlit screen dominates the face of the device (read our full review of the Apple iPad), with a wide black bezel surrounding it. Like the iPhone 3GS, the iPad’s screen is oleophobic (oil-resistant), so fingerprints easily wipe off. Measuring 9.6 by 7.5 by 0.5 inches thick and weighing 1.5 pounds, the iPad is a bit on the heavy side: We had a difficult time holding the iPad in one hand, which is disappointing if you plan to use the iPad as an e-reader.
The brushed aluminum back is smooth, and it looks much like the back of the original iPhone (only much larger, obviously).
Like the top of the iPhone, the top of the iPad houses a sleep/wake button as well as the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
Apple placed the dock connector and the speaker grille at the bottom of the iPad.
Situated on the right side of the iPad is the device's volume rocker.
The left spine is free of any hardware buttons or ports.
Though the Apple iPad's interface may look familiar, the hardware is substantially bigger than on its iPhone/iPod Touch siblings. The main menu closely resembles that of the current iPhone OS, with four icons across and four rows down, plus Safari, Mail, Photos, and iPod icons in a row at the bottom. The icons have the same design as those on the iPhone; they include calendar, contacts, notes, maps, YouTube, iTunes, App Store, and Settings. One new item is a dedicated icon for videos.
Apple’s cute redesign of the Contacts app to resemble a physical book takes advantage of the iPad's roomy, 9.7-inch screen.
Calendar (Day View)
The Calendar's day view illustrates how the iPad's improved basic apps take maximum advantage of the display's extra space.
Calendar (Week View)
Another example of how a redesigned app can take advantage of the iPad's larger display is the Calendar's week view.
Managing your iPad and its various app settings is a breeze on the large Settings screen.
The iPad handles pictures far better than the iPhone does. The tablet's roomy screen gives images a chance to shine, and it lets you preview more images more easily.
The on-the-fly slideshow creation tool is easy to use; and it creates fun, intricate slideshows. Choose from five transitions, pick the music you'd like to add (if any), and you're off. The iPad probably won’t replace inexpensive digital photo frames, but it readily doubles as a photo frame when standing upright in its dock.
The iBooks Reader's page animations are both cool (as shown here in midturn)--and annoying. We saw a distracting flicker during page turns; nevertheless, the experience was better than suffering through the multiple flashes that most E-Ink readers generate as they redraw a page.
The Satellite view on the included Google Maps app looks incredible on the iPad's display. You can also view maps in Classic, Hybrid, and Terrain modes. And like the iPhone 3GS, the iPad has a built-in compass.
Google Maps Settings
Much as with the iBooks app, you can pull back the top layer of Google Maps to switch between map types.
The reimagined, highly visual iPod library looks very different on the iPad from the way it looks on the iPhone. There's no cover-flow interface, but we loved how quickly we could find music and build playlists with it.
Now Playing Screen
Album artwork looks fantastic on the iPad’s display. It's by far a better visual experience than you can get with the iPhone.
Onscreen Keyboard (Landscape View)
People who do a lot of typing who will quickly discover that the iPad's touch keyboard can't match a netbook's physical keyboard. When you press a key, there’s no haptic (vibration) response and no visual feedback (as there is with, for example, the iPhone’s letter magnification).
E-Mail Applications: Managing Multiple Accounts
It’s a breeze to set up and sync multiple accounts in the iPad’s e-mail application.
No Flash Support
That’s right: The iPad’s Safari browser does not support Adobe Flash. So until Hulu comes out with its own dedicated iPad app, you won’t be able to use the iPad to catch up on your favorite TV shows at the site.
Before you tune in to a music video, you can see information about it on the left side of the display, and a preview of it on the right.
Videos look fantastic on the iPad. HD movies, podcasts, TV shows, music videos, you name it--all take full advantage of the iPad display’s generous real estate.
A special YouTube app comes preloaded on the iPad. You can watch a video in either portrait or landscape mode--but unfortunately, the YouTube app doesn’t take full advantage of the available screen space.
We were frustrated by the App Store experience on the iPad. Finding iPad-optimized apps proved more difficult than it should have been because they aren’t clearly marked in the store.
iPhone Apps on the iPad
Though the iPad can play applications that are designed for the iPhone and for the iPod Touch, they will seem like postage stamps on the device's big screen. You can double the size of the apps to fill the display, but we were put off by how pixelated the images appear at that magnification.
iPad-optimized apps, on the other hand, are awesome. Take this Scrabble app, for example: You can shake to shuffle tiles, touch to zoom in or zoom out of the board, and drag and drop to lay down letters.
We were blown away by the Marvel Comics app on the iPad, which offers a whole new way of reading comics. The designers of this app took full advantage of the iPad’s gorgeous display; and as a result, the art really pops visually. You can preview a comic before you buy, and then download single issues or full series directly from the app.
New York Times
The free New York Times app lets you download and sync articles and images to the iPad for viewing offline.