Apple uses some terms that seem to exaggerate a bit when describing their products, but after 3 weeks of using the iPad I think they may have been right in describing the iPad. Here are four reasons why the iPad is magical and revolutionary to me.
I went back and forth over whether or not I was going to buy an iPad since the device was announced and as you know I did pre-order one on the day the online store opened. Steve Jobs likes to be a bit dramatic during his presentations and after hearing that the iPad was going to be "magical and revolutionary" and then seeing it looked just like a big iPod touch I had to chuckle about his apparent exaggeration. After spending just over 3 weeks with my 32GB Apple iPad I have to honestly say that it actually is quite magical and revolutionary in a few different areas and I have no regrets about my purchase.
My computing habits have radically changed since I have had the iPad and you can find it in my hands when I am relaxing on the couch watching TV, commuting daily for 2 hours on the train, following a Seattle Mariners game, and when reading a book in bed at night. I only use my MacBook Pro now for editing review video and for writing longer articles. The iPad serves all my consumption needs and is a joy to use on my commute where it is much lighter than a notebook.
Here is my list of magical features and functions:
Battery life is absolutely crazy. I have owned a LOT of mobile devices and with every single one of them I have had to be concerned and consciously think about managing the battery life. With the iPad I have yet to see a low battery warning and can go a full heavy day or two before even thinking about plugging it in.
It is cool. With my smartphones and notebooks I have always experienced some kind of heat during heavy usage. This heat rise happens during charging, heavy video usage, or in the case of my first generation MacBook Pro ALL the time (to the point your lap almost gets burned). With the iPad I have not experienced ANY heat coming from it even after streaming hours of straight video content.
Speed kills. Apple has their new 1GHz A4 processor (manufactured by Samsung I believe) in the iPad and I have yet to experience any lag at all when running video, playing games, surfing the Internet, etc. Everything happens just about instantaneously and it is extremely refreshing to have a computing device that responds this way.
Futuristic touch experience. I know this may just be fluff and fun, but I get a real kick out of browsing and manipulating photos, working with Office documents with the iWork suite (What, how can Office docs be fun?), checking out the periodic table, and using my fingers to interact with the device in ways I never have with a computer before.
The applications are also amazing and we are seeing more released and optimized for the iPad every day. I honestly think the iPad will succeed in large part due to the applications and the fact that Apple chose to use a mobile operating system rather than a desktop operating system to power the device. You may have some limitations on capability compared to a "full PC", but the user experience and these other "magical" elements are so much more compelling that they override much of that IMHO. In addition, developers will probably figure out ways to address any glaring needs. Not to mention, iPhone 4 will come out in the Fall and make the device better as well.