Apple iPad review - First impressions

Apple iPad: Touch keyboard disappoints

Like the rest of the OS, the Apple iPad's touch keyboard is a larger version of the iPhone's. But unlike on the iPhone, the keyboard has no letter magnification when you press a key, and we found we missed this visual cue immensely. And unsurprisingly, it lacks haptic feedback (part of Android phones).

You get no physical or visual feedback when you press a key and that's frustrating if you're trying to pound out a long email. The experience, oddly, is akin to typing on the native Google AndroidOS' touch keyboard.

Apple iPad keyboard

Using the keyboard in vertical mode, our small hands had difficulty maneuvering around the keyboard - our thumbs couldn't stretch across the whole Apple iPad device to reach the keys. Horizontal mode felt much more natural, but as a touch typist, we still made more errors than we would with a physical keyboard.

Apple will be offering a keyboard dock accessory, which gives you an actual physical keyboard to work with. You can also place it in the iPad Case, which allows you to angle it slightly. This feels much more comfortable than just laying the tablet flat and typing. Both of these items are sold separately, though.

iPhone apps don't fly on Apple iPad

One of the big concerns among developers and users before the iPad's announcement was whether iPhone apps would work on the device. Thankfully, they do, but the experience isn't exactly ideal. You can either view an iPhone app as a small window or doubled to fill the display. We demoed the Assassin's Creed and Oregon Trail apps on the Apple iPad, and were put off by the obvious pixelation. Text in Facebook looked fuzzy, too.

Clearly, this an interim fix until actual apps are developed for the iPad. And we expect many app makers will create versions optimised for iPad. We see a lot of gaming potential for the iPad, but cool 3D graphics game like Assassins Creed just doesn't work on the iPad.

Luckily, the Apple iPad isn't shipping for another 60 days, so hopefully more content will be developed by then. And who knows? Some of the issues we've noticed on this demo unit may be fixed by then.

OUR VERDICT

Right now, we're not sold on either the Apple iPad hardware or the software. But excellent, optimised content might change our opinion. Bookmark this URL and check back for updates as we get more face time with the Apple iPad.