We are almost 2 hours into the iPad release here on the east coast, and there were some lines formed early but no huge crowds. The flagship Apple Retail store in NYC had about 200 people at around 6am. It was split between pre-orders and people who came to get it first hand. I went to my local Best Buy this morning to get my hands on one, I got there at about 7:45am, and there were a few people there waiting in their cars, but nobody clearly in line at the doors. About half hour later a line started to form, I did a quick head count and there were 15 or so there. Looking over the various blogs and news outlets it seems that some places had quite a few people in lines, while others had almost none.
So what next? You just ponied up $500+ for the wifi only model, what do you do first? It looks like the iTunes App Store is coming to the rescue. There is no built in weather, stocks, voice memo, clock, calculator, or compass apps. The iPad App Store has some nice free alternatives right to fill the holes. For example you can download The Weather Channel Max, and Bloomberg for iPad. The are very suitable replacements. Apple has already released over 2000 iPad specific apps, with tons more coming daily. The real big feature I think will be the iBooks. It works very well, and the way you flip pages is really neat. You will need to download the iBook reader separately, and Apple has loaded their online bookstore with 30,000 free books. It will only get better as more publishers decide jump on board. There are some ebook alternatives if you don’t want Apple’s iBook. There is the Kindle app, and Barnes & Noble eReader as of right now.
I think most importantly is some accessories. The iPad comes with a 9.7-inch, 1024-by-768-pixel capacitative touchscreen, which is basically a giant glass screen. One drop on a hard surface and you could end up with a $500 paper weight. I think a good hard-shell case is the way to go. Hardcandy Cases looks like they have some real good cases. I also think a screen protector is in order also. They work good, just make sure you get it on there with no bubbles, I run credit card lightly from side to side to get all of them out. Most of the Apple branded accessories have yet to ship if you want to keep your iPad an all Apple affair. The iPad Keyboard Dock looks like a really useful add-on. It allows you to charge your iPad while typing at the same time. Other than that the only other must have accessory will be the camera connectivity adapter. You will be able to transfer your camera’s photos directly to the iPad using your camera’s USB cable or directly from an SD card. The camera adapter will cost you $30, and the keyboard dock will set you back an additonal $70. Both can be purchased from the Apple Store.