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The Thoughts of Ross Andrews, Head of Design at Imagine Publishing

First: I love it. I will buy one. But, while I was expecting it to look like a big iPhone, I wasn't expecting it to work like a big iPhone.

ipad_heroFirst: I love it. I will buy one.
But, while I was expecting it to look like a big iPhone, I wasn’t expecting it to work like a big iPhone. Full screen apps only, no multi-tasking? The home screen is possibly the worst thing Apple has ever shown, and that tainted my reception of everything that followed. It looks like a cheap chinese rip-off of an Apple tablet. Seriously, that icon spacing? The wasted space? The lack of thought or detail? Yurgh. I pray some of this changes before launch.

Other downsides – the lack of camera? I thought that was a given – forward and rear. Not for taking pictures or video, it’s too big to hold up for that, but for all the cool things developers have done with it on the 3Gs. Gutted.

Still can’t find a definitive answer about GPS. The tech specs list “Assistive GPS” for both the iPad and 3Gs, so suggests they’re the same, but assistive GPS can also mean that GPS is provided by cell tower triangulation (ie. iPhone 2G) only rather than true GPS (3G and 3Gs). All the info so far has been very hazy. There doesn’t appear to be any GPS support in the Wi-Fi only model other than wifi hotspot triangulation, which sucks.

iBooks uses ePub – an open standard. Opens up the possibility of importing books for sources other than the built in book store. ePub could easily handle simple step by step layouts. Indesign CS4 can export to ePub (simple formatting only though).

Surprised by the keyboard dock. Doubly surprised by the ability to pair a bluetooth keyboard – thought Apple would stay away from this and put all their faith in the soft-keyboard. Glad they didn’t though.

There’s a confirmed dock connecter to VGA cable coming, so this could pipe video out to an external monitor up to 1024×768. No sign of an HDMI (or DVI/Mini display port) lead though, which is weird.

Runs video at 720p. Very nice.

Screen is 132ppi, so a fair bit lower than the iPhone’s resolution of 163ppi or the Kindle at 167ppi. Not sure how this will effect the legibility of ebooks but it’s a lot lower than I was expecting.

It’s an Apple chip, custom built for the iPhone OS, so it’s bloody, bloody fast. It also means we’re likely to see something very similar in the next iPhone. Maybe not the iPod touch though, the iPod touch is dead – you want an iPod, you buy the nano. You want a movie device and to run apps – you buy this. There’s been a lot of fuss about this being a laptop killer – it’s an iPod touch killer instead (least that’s my two-penny worth).

Microphone? Why’s there a microphone? Apple has something up it’s sleeve here I feel.

ipad_2up_hometimesThere’s an Apple Camera Connection kit allowing you to import photos directly from a camera or card. Wonder if camera manufactures will bring out tethering Apps allowing you to control the camera from the iPad – great in a studio or pro-location setting.

3G version is sold unlocked and not under a contract – you can pop any (compatible) data sim from any carrier in.

Flash is dead. Dead I tell’s ya.

No handwriting recognition? Even though it’s already built into the OS? Would have been great for the notes app.
Ahh well, there’ll be a third-party stylus and an app for that.

Once more: The Home screen sucks. Looks like a bad rip off of an iPhone. So much wasted space, I’m amazed they didn’t do more with this. Praying it changes before release, maybe in line with an iPhone 4.0 announcement which they didn’t want to muddy the waters with today.

Display has a 178 degree viewing angle.Wow that’s good.

Just watching some hands-on videos, it’s really, really fast! None of the lag you see even on the 3Gs.

A lot of discussion about the price being to high, yet the base model is only $10 more expensive than the Kindle.

Uk price for the base model could be £299 but I don’t believe it for a second. I’d be happy at £349 but I wouldn’t rule out £399.
I hope the top end could be £549, but wouldn’t rule out £599.