I admit it… I folded the minute that Apple announced the pre-order date and my iPad showed up on my door step on the release date. I’ve had a couple of weeks with the device now and I’m pretty damned impressed. Which is saying something as to be honest, I had no idea what I was ordering when I ordered it. Was this a laptop replacement? A giant iPhone? Or something different all together?

Put shortly, it’s a giant iPhone. When I first came to this realization, I was a bit disappointed. Initially, I just couldn’t see the value in the device no matter how hard I wished it was there. Bummed, I kept using it. I used it to browse the net in bed, to check my email on the toilet, to read books on the road, etc…

And then, it just happened… Ironically enough, I was browsing the net on my laptop when I realized that my iPad was actually a much more efficient device at browsing than my bulky old laptop. It’s a separation thing. With my MacBook, I have input devices between the web and my thoughts – the keyboard, the mouse pad, etc… But with the iPad there is nothing between me and the web. It’s a touch thing and it’s a very tactile feeling. I just feel more natural clicking on things and navigating.

On top of that, the iPad does away with what has long been a necessity when computing – the desk. Even with a laptop, I find myself having to be in a formal upright position to get anything of substance done. With the iPad, you can work in bed, while lounging in a chair, or just about any other position. It’s casual… if that makes sense.

This characteristic alone makes the iPad a capable e-reader. When compared to my Kindle, the iPad is a heavier and slightly less comfortable reading device. However, the iPad reads easier with smooth page flips (rather than the reverse outs and reverses on the Kindle) and the screen is simply gorgeous. I’ve read two books so far on the iPad and I’ve been amazed to find that the screen is much sharper than the Kindle and just as easy on the eyes when reading for long periods. The battery (I’ve been getting about 8.5 hours out of mine with continuous use), however, isn’t quite to par with the Kindle.

The other question mark in the media has been the keyboard. At first, I was simply just happy with it… If you have an iPhone, just imagine the same thing – only bigger. After time, however, the keyboard has really grown on me. Once in the landscape mode, the keyboard is damn near as capable as a laptop keyboard. It’s impressive.

At any rate, that’s about as far as I have gotten with the device. All of the other apps available are what you would expect – email, iPhoto, iTunes, etc… It’s all very glossy, well put together, and easily usable.

I’ve long considered the iPhone a device I can’t live without. The iPad is not that… But it is very nice to have around.