The day after picking up my iPad wi-fi 64GB, I took it to work to try it out.
1. I impressed people on the transit bus -- the iPad isn't sold here in Canada yet ... maybe April 24, hopefully sooner. I bought mine from the US Apple Store (I bought 2 of them for me and my wife).
2. The non-work function is excellent: Safari (wow!), photos, movies (especially HD!), games (even the iPhone/iPod low-res ones look good -- the iPad has a zoom to have them almost fill the screen).
3. I was happily surprised with the Mail application (it's the same on the iPhone of course, but I don't have one and hadn't tried it; I set up accounts for Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and my company's Outlook Exchange email)
4. Even though the Mail app only uses MS Exchange Webmail, it is MUCH better than accessing WebMail with a browser. It synced all my mail folders, Contacts and Calendar with Outlook and has kept them in sync ever since. I can read and reply to email from any of the accounts while offline and they save the out-box until I connect to wi-fi again. The two-panel Mail screen is elegant and simple. It is much nicer than any of the three systems and also better than my BlackBerry.
5. Mail on the iPad (any iPhone OS device) subjectively runs much faster than MS Webmail on a browser, because it is a client app brings mail into the device before you ask for it ("Push" from Exchange, I believe)
6. The wireless keyboard that came with my iMac 27" works on the iPad
The Bad, or, 'room for improvement':
1. When Bluetooth is turned on and the Apple wireless keyboard connected, the pop-up on-screen keyboard no longer works, even if I turn off the keyboard. I had to turn off Bluetooth to get the on-screen keyboard to reappear. I don't think I will use the wireless keyboard very much until ... (see 2.)
2. The iPad DEFINITELY needs a dock or cradle of some kind for business use -- typing on a glass placemat is not fun after a few minutes, and holding with one hand and typing with the other doesn't work well. I have large hands, so I can actually type with two thumbs, just like on my BlackBerry -- it's the only way I can get portability and still be able to type. I have ordered the iPad Case from Apple, but delivery is later in April. The case looks like it will be able to hold the iPad still and at a low angle for typing, or in a more upright position for watching a movie.
3. I worry about dropping the iPad because the aluminum case and glass screen are slippery. The Case should also help with this issue.
4. I've run into some of the problems fixed in iPhone OS 4.0, but will have to wait until later this year for it on the iPad. Opening attachments is the main issue: PDF, PPT and DOC files open reasonably well, but the MS Office 2007 and Office for Mac 2008 create .docx and .pptx files, and these attachments can't be opened at all with iPad Mail.
5. Support for opening/displaying MS Word .doc files works most of the time, but there is a problem with displaying tables.
6. I'd like to see a set of apps or a suite of apps that will support editing and exchanging documents. OpenOffice on the iPad would be one alternative if it existed, and there may be others that come along soon.
7. Not really a business use issue, but a pain regarding the iPad in Canada, is that the App Store app on the iPad will not work at all, and the Canadian iTunes App Store does not have the iPad apps yet (there are a small number but not the full set). It is possible to purchase whatever apps are available, including the iPhone and iPod Touch apps using iTunes and then syncing to get them on the iPad in the meantime.
8. I wish the iPad had a slot for a security lock. It's just too portable and compelling ... it could easily grow legs and walk away if you know what I mean. I have set up the 4-digit security PIN ... necessary, since it contains all my business email folders.
9. The shiny glass attracts fingerprints, so I had to go out and buy a micro-fiber cloth and alcohol aerosol to keep it clean; one of the side benefits is that keeping hands and iPad clean means I am less likely to pick up a flu virus (now why isn't THAT in the benefits list?)
Any questions? Just ask me.