Here's my review after a couple weeks. (Note: I tried to be honest and put positives and negatives. Hope no one gets upset...overall I'm happy with my choice in getting an ipad).
First off, I'm at least somewhat experienced with different devices. I owned a palm pilot back in the day, was the first among all my friends to switch to digital music back when ipod was still firewire. I own a windows desktop and a macbook pro. I've owned a blackberry and an iphone, and I had a Galaxy Tablet before getting my hands on the ipad2.
Most of this is by way of comparison to what I saw on other devices.
The first thing is the size...this doesn't really need mentioning. Although I think Galaxy got it right with 7" screen for portability (Fits in a coat pocket, or the glove compartment of my car), the bigger screen has some things going for it. Doesn't need to be talked about though... we all know what size it is.
The keyboard loses. I'm not sure why mac hates after-market keyboards so much, but next time you're in best buy, take a look at the swype keyboards on the other tablets. In this case, the size helps the ipad keyboard...without swype I need the space for my fingers, but I do wish I could go swype without having to deal with jailbreaking stuff. (I know nothing about jailbreaking).
Then we get to resolution. Although hardware-wise it's comparable to the xoom, I noticed right away that the ipad screen is just beautiful by comparison. Still not the perfect "better than eye" that was advertized over with the iphone4, but in a whole different league from the Galaxy tab. Mac did a fantastic job with the screen. There's no doubt about it..this is a beautiful device to look at.
The OS is typical mac. It has it's good points and bad points...I wont get too much into it, by now we all know that mac is great for ease of use, lousy for customization. That's just the price of admission to this party.
The app store was actually a bit of false advertizing though. We've all heard Steve jobs proclaim 100,000 apps for ipad! only 16 for android tablets! This is actually beyond fudging and into the realm of "Bold faced lie." The truth is...they had to, since allot of the best iphone apps WONT work at all on the ipad, they HAD to make them special, whereas most android apps will resize to the tablet.
What does that mean for us? Little things really. The app store has a fine selection and it's not really a big complaint, but things like Think free (will get into later) wont work, and that AMAZING sports app, Sportacular that we fell in love with on the iphone does have an ipad version, but for some reason the tablet version is garbage compared to the phone version. If you never saw it on the iphone trust me: a resized version of the phone app would be about 1000 times better than what they've given us.
But my biggest complaint is reading. Kindle works fine. Ereader still works fine (as I said, I went digital early so allot of my library is in the old fictionwise/palm format). PDF reading, however, stinks compared to android. This is where a thinkfree for tablet might be nice. It's really the one and only area where Android wins for me...I have allot of pdfs and the ipad app makers just don't get it.
For reference, using thinkfree on the galaxy to read a pdf: you push one button and it does text reflow...not the awful goodreads parody of reflow, but actual reflow...pinching and zooming resizes the text...but the text itself reformats to that it stays on screen. Hit another button and the page becomes a nice easy on the eyes beige background. They even have this option built in as an add on for the Dolphin web browser, so you can take whatever article you're reading online, hit one button and it becomes reformatted to your personal font size preferences, reformatted so you don't have to keep moving around.
and (until this week I wouldn't have thought this even needed to be said) you can still turn pages by swiping...as if...you're turning a page.
I know what you're going to say here..."Have you tried_insert another crappy pdf reader that fails to understand what I just said_?". The answer is yes. I have tried it. How do I know? Because I've tried them all. Three days, about $60 or more, endless hours, lots of headaches, and post after posts by goodreader fans who don't know what they are missing having never tried an app that actually works. Trust me, I've tried every single one in the app store. Some have reflow...with no options. Some like goodreader still move the text off the bottom of the page negating the whole point (and make it so you have to swipe vertically, which is just silly), and some just stink.
BUT...don't misunderstand me. I think it's only a matter of time before someone gets it right. In the meantime, I definitely am happy with my choice. As I said, Kindle and ereader work flawlessly for me. The web browsing is very nice.
For video the ipad cannot be beat...truly superb. Between itunes and netflix I am a happy guy in that department.
There's still no good stylus options for drawing. It would be nice to replace all of my sketchbooks with just the ipad, and the apps are certainly up to it. Photoshop has several, and for people who like the photoshop layer based style, the autodesk stetchbook is outstanding. Supposedly some stylus companies are working on it. Wacom even has one out now, but I haven't found one yet to try myself. What I'm hoping for is wacom to come out with a special bluetooth thing that interacts with the app and reads pressure sensitivity and angle like a wacom tablet...but that may be a long time coming.
Next, if you haven't tried flipboard, give it a whirl. This app takes web content, such as news sites, magazines, blogs, even twitter and facebook, and presents it to you in a beautiful magazine-like format. Basically this one app turns my ipad into the best custom made magazine of all time.
Also the battery live wins. It's a shame that some iphone pugs (like my car charger) don't seem to work. Not enough juice I think...it gives a "not charging" message. But that may be a small price to pay. If I remember to plug it in at night I know I can go all day with zero battery issues, even if I'm using it heavily.
Bottom line...it's not perfect, but definitely a solid choice. I'm happy with my ipad and have no problem recommending it to others. For most people, I would even go so far as to say that this will replace most of what you use your computer for.