Having used my wi-fi iPad for a couple weeks now, I wanted to write some thoughts down on how I’m using it, favorite apps, and some tips.

General Thoughts

The iPad seems geared for ease of use for video/audio use, and it does that extremely well in a fun, refined fashion.  The touch interface is very intuitive, smooth, and responsive.  The fact it works like my iPhone makes it very easy to figure things out and I’m finding that watching video, web surfing, and reading books/magazines are preferable here over my laptop.  The instant on and portable nature of it’s operation is very appealing.  This is a very fun, immersive gadget (albeit expensive starting at $499).  On the downside it’s heavy (1.5 lbs) making one handed holding difficult for long periods and the highly reflective screen is annoying.  Not all web pages display correctly and much video content is unplayable due to Adobe Flash not being supported.

iPad Applications

The i-universe is all about the apps and there’s plenty to choose from even at this early stage.  Some of the ones I use a lot lately include:

Netflix If you have a Netflix subscription this is a MUST.  You can easily stream the “instant play” items in your queue to the iPad, and the bright 9 inch screen plays videos gorgeously.  The speaker isn’t too bad either and is much louder than the iPhone’s.

GoodReader There’s no native support for PDF viewing or many other filetypes, plus no real concept of a filesystem so this app category is important.  It displays PDF’s really well and supports Microsoft Office files also.

TweetDeck My favorite twitter client because in portrait mode you can scroll through tweets on the bottom and when clicked, they show up in a window at the top without leaving the application.

ABC PlayerI hope all streaming video players are this good.  Currently the only network with an iPad app, ABC programs are easily accessible and playable with clear fidelity.

PhotoFrame HD This one surprised me because most photo programs are worthless, but this takes photos from the Flickr service (either your own or random public ones) and displays them.  You can customize the tags used to select pictures.  All the pictures are interesting, professional, and oddly fascinating to wonder what will come up next.

NPR An innovative design makes this program stand out.  Three independently scrolling sections put NPR content in a “newspaper” format for easy reading, yet you can access the vast library of audio content on demand with a couple finger taps.

TWiTPad If you’re a fan of Leo Laporte’s This Week In Tech (TWIT) network (and you should be!), this will allow access to archived programs, show schedules, and the live video stream whenever you need a tech news fix.  I particularly like Windows Weekly, This Week In Google, and This Week In Tech.

NYT Editor’s Choice The New York Times paper translated to the tablet in a very visually appealing and easy to use fashion.  You don’t get all NYT content, but a selection of stories updated throughout the day.

iPad Accessories

Eco-Vue Case from Marware

The picture above shows my iPad in the Eco-Vue case ($45), and I really like it.  It’s a very sturdy leather-like case which has two nice features- a band to slip your hand through to make holding easier, and a small extension which holds the pad in landscape mode at a slight angle for easy typing/viewing.  We also made a clever and cheap holder from a wire hanger which allows more upright viewing.  See the picture for more details but essentially you just hook one end into the other on the case to hold it open.

My video demonstrating wire hanger holder (youtube).

iPad holder

Griffin Screen Kit

This screen protector has a slight matte finish which is perfect for taming that highly reflective screen.  You don’t lose any of the touch responsiveness or color, but can now use it in a location which has light sources that would normally make it difficult to see the screen.

Griffin Video out Cable

Some applications such as Netflix, Youtube, and Video player can display their content on an external screen.  Any iPod video out connector should work (you don’t need Apple’s expensive iPad version) and you can then see your videos on any external screen/TV.  The Griffin I bought also has a charger, so you can charge while watching the video…a nice touch.

I’m sure there will be updates as I use the iPad more, and I’ll occasionally add or update information in this post.