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Apple’s newest and so called most “revolutionary” product, the iPad, became available for retail on Saturday, 3 April, 2010. Unlike the Apple faithful, I made my way to the local Best Buy store in the afternoon on that day to check it out and was surprised that there was hardly any rush for the devices.

Anyway, over at the store’s Apple pavilion there were about 4 iPads on display and surprisingly(again) there were only two guys playing around those. I picked up the iPad and here are my first impressions:

  • The interface is the same as the iPhone/iPod. So people with experience with those devices would feel right at home.
  • Build quality is top-notch. No matter what, Apple’s devices have fantastic build quality, but then again they are priced at a premium.
  • The physical buttons and switches feel solid.
  • The switch to stop the UI from switching between landscape and portrait modes is pretty handy.
  • The integration with the App Store makes a huge number of apps available immediately.

Here’s what I did not like:

  • Tight coupling with the App Store.
  • No Flash support.
  • Multi-tasking had to be there for this kind of a device.
  • The device is a magnet for finger prints.
  • All the apps appear as icons on the home screen and there are only 4 of them. Personally I like a clean desktop. There should be a way of looking up apps rather than have a royal clutter on the home screen.
  • The device feels heavy. This point is however not a deal breaker.
  • The iBook app just does not cut it for me. The Kindle(app and device) is way better.
  • The bezel is too thick.
  • Looks like a blown up iPod touch and in fact there were at least a couple of guys who said the same thing at the store.
  • iPhone apps that are scaled up look horrible.
  • The soft-keyboard is terrible for fast typing.
  • Too heavy for one-handed handling.

The Best Buy representatives cried themselves hoarse letting us know the Black Tie protection plan that Best Buy is offering for the iPad. After sometime it seemed as if there was something inherently wrong with the device that Best Buy knew and was sure would impact the customers sooner or later. Creepy.

Did I discover a bug?
While playing around with the device, I somehow managed to zoom the desktop in. But I could not get it to zoom back to its original size again. Even tinkering with the settings did not help much. The Best Buy guy tried to get it to work, could not, even the Apple representative failed. We tried restarting the device but even then the problem was not solved. Finally the device was taken away for a restore. I have no idea whether that fixed the problem. Bottom line, there should have been an easy way to zoom out.

Hope this helps folks.