Yes, I waited seven hours in line at the Apple Store to pick up what Steve Jobs describes as the "magical" update to the "magical" product that Jobs also claims created the tablet PC market.
No, I wasn't number one in line. That distinction went to the iPad-toting gentleman who showed up two hours before me. I didn't mind however, as all day long he had to dismiss offers from crafty and well-funded Apple fans willing to buy his spot for sums never approaching the $900 a college student received at the flagship Apple Store in New York. She earned the pole position in front of the Manhattan spot by camping out for two days prior.
I was actually number four, which was good enough to secure my choice of iPad 2: the 16GB Wi-Fi model with black trim.
Why that particular model? Well, it's the least expensive, but it still offers enough capacity for a respectable number of apps and games, and I think the black trim frames the display nicely, whereas the white trim may only serve to pick up dirt and wash out the display edges.
I'll save my full thoughts on the redesigned iPad for my full review, coming Monday, but my initial impressions of the iPad 2 centered around the fact that I was not dealing with Honeycomb.
Maybe it's because the Xoom is still fresh in my mind, but in my first twelve hours with the iPad couldn't help but think iOS is a children's operating system compared to Honeycomb. Aesthetically, Honeycomb looks better, with 3D transitions and a pleasing color scheme reminiscent of Tron or other "retro futuristic" style.
Apple's iOS looks flat and feels stale. It lacks the widgets that help blur the line between user interface and application in Honeycomb. To be fair, iOS is smooth, functional, extremely user friendly, and intuitive – everything an operating system should be – but Honeycomb provides an extra dimension that makes it seem more advanced.
That said, I've already downloaded more iPad-specific apps than there are tablet apps in the Android Market. In fact, I did that in my first hour with the device following the lengthy iPad setup through iTunes. But I'll cover all of that in my full review.
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