Friday 5 AM local time
I woke up, made tea, and rushed off to my home office. My first conference call was at 5:30 AM–it was going to be a long day. On my desk, in front of my keyboard, was an orange post-it note reminding me, that of all the things I had to do today, I must remember to order my “wife’s” iPad at 1 PM PT to ensure that it arrives before her birthday–just a few weeks away.
Friday 9:30 AM local time
After four nonstop hours on the phone, I took a break and started to read a few tech blogs. I wanted to see pictures of all those idiots waiting in line for an iPad 2. And then I read, “online ordering started at 1 AM PT”. Shit! I screwed up. I must have mentally filed away the time incorrectly. I quickly connected to the Apple Store and selected a configuration with accessories. Ships: 5-7 days. OK, not the 2-3 days I was hoping for, but good enough.
My phone rings. I get distracted. What was I doing before I took this call that was so important? Crap! The iPad.
I lost my browser session in two windows and 60 tabs. No worries. I quickly connected to the Apple Store again, and selected the same configuration with accessories.
There was no way I would get this before her birthday. This would be my second iPad-for-my-wife screw-up.
I got a shiny, loaded 13″ MacBook Air from my loving wife. And she didn’t get an iPad–I don’t take hints very well. I offered to get her one immediately, but she said that she would wait for her birthday. I explained that would be best since newer iPads should be released by then. And then she said, “aren’t you going to get the new one anyway? Why don’t you just give me your old one for my birthday?” Yes, I thought, I would love to get me a new iPad for your birthday. My wife is awesome.
Friday 10:30 AM local time
I start scanning the local press. Bingo! Just 5 minutes ago my local paper had a picture of my local Apple Store. There was a line, but it didn’t look too long. I quickly grabed my Air, iPhone, a folding chair, a long coat, and raced off to wait in line. I cannot fail; not this time. My wife was clear as I entered the garage, “I’m getting your iPad today.” Could I wait 2-3 weeks for an iPad 2? Sure, but did I want to, no! Who’s the idiot now? (In my defense, I travel a lot for work (often 3 of 4 weeks). My iPad has become my media center (book, mags, and video), and the only way I can work in a coach seat.)
Friday 11:30 AM local time, The Line
This picture only shows a fraction of the truly committed and the absentminded. The line actually wrapped around to the front of the Apple Store. I counted about 150 people in front of me. Did I arrive too early? I was committed now. I stayed. I had gobs of email, papers, and presentations to read. I setup base camp and got to work.
Friday 11:30 AM local time, Base Camp
This is where I spent the next 5 hours of my day. It’s in the shade (great for working), and it’s cold. Later the sun will make its way to the west side of the Apple Store where I sit and give me a Close Encounters-esque half face burn. But at least I got through a two-week backlog of email and other to dos.
Friday 11:38 AM local time, The iPads Arrive
This was the 2nd of four shipping trucks to arrive today. The driver looked like Vin Diesel. Nobody was getting an iPad early today.
Friday 4:30 PM, Line Compression
People are getting restless. We start to move. Hurry up. Wait.
Friday 4:44 PM, No iPad for you!
I have no idea who got what or nothing. This is the second iPad 2 line with an estimated 800 people. The first line (my line) has about 200 people now (cutters–fuckers).
Friday 5:00 PM, The Line Moves
Finally. Scores of Apple employees start running around trying to get the crowd up beat. It’s more annoying than anything else.
Friday 5:25 PM, I’ve got a golden ticket
The line moves quickly. In 25 minutes I am at the front of the primary line where I am asked what model I want. Once my preference is logged into a familiar non-volatile analog (the clipboard and pen), I am then issued a ticket and told that I must have this ticket to get an iPad. “Don’t lose your ticket.”, I’m warned.
There is a holding queue between me and the front door. I start asking lots of questions about the distribution of the iPads and trying to peak at the clipboard. To get rid of me they rush me off to the holding queue.
Friday 5:32 PM, I’m up
A friendly blue shirted Apple employee greets me, shakes my hand, and leads me into the Apple Store. He then takes my ticket, asks what I want, pushes Apple Care (more of a query than a sale; a hint perhaps), swipes my card, and was genuinely grateful that I didn’t use an Apple Bag–I try to be green.
Friday 5:35 PM, iPad 2 in hand
Six hours. Was it worth it?
iPad 2 thoughts, opinions, rants, …
The iPad 2 is good looking. No question about that. Makes the iPad I look like vintage tech. However, there is no question in my mind which product is the more solid of the two. The iPad I screams, Indestructible. I’ve dropped my iPad I 4′ onto a marble floor while washing my hands at the Skyclub men’s room–I forgot it was under my arm. Internal panic, but externally, manly. I picked it up slowly, after washing my hands, and waited until the privacy of my cubical to examine for damage. Zero, zilch, none. The full body Apple cover probably had a hand in saving my iPad I.
The iPad 2 “smart” cover is a bit floppy and unstable, and it offers up no traction or protection on the back of the iPad. Steve Jobs, “we designed such a beautiful back, we didn’t want to cover it up.” I do not recall the exact words, but it was something like that. All I heard was, “the tablet market is growing and we want everybody to know that you are using an Apple product.”
The iPad I “dumb” cover is like a sexy wetsuit for the iPad–all black, skintight, a bit conservative with a tasteful Apple logo, and it’s very grippy. I think this grip spoiled me. It didn’t take much effort to grasp. It didn’t slip down my legs when elevated, and it didn’t slip off my nightstand on to the floor because I set it on a book. The wedge created by the “dumb” cover is more stable than the “smart” cover making it more suitable for uneven surfaces such as your lap or carpet.
The “smart” cover when flipped to the back will only stay fixed if the iPad 2 is in a vertical orientation. When you rotate to the side with hinge down the cover falls away from the back. I guess I could position the hinge at the top, but then the volume controls are inaccessible. I will be seeking a wetsuit for my iPad 2.
The controls of the iPad 2 are more difficult to use, but it may just be an adjustment period. Connecting the dock connector takes a bit of practice too.
The iPad 2 is speeder. Things appear a bit snapper. It’s hard to tell how much of the speed is due to iOS 4.3, the dual cores, or the faster and more abundant RAM. My money is on the RAM.
The iPad 2 is lighter. Exactly 1/4 pound lighter if you include the covers. But it seems heavier. What’s heavier, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? Produce a pound of each and ask someone to hold them in their hands. They will pick the cool hard lead. Denser is perceived as heavier. I tried closing my eyes, I cannot tell the difference in weight between the iPad I and 2. Perhaps I’m too dense.
The iPad 2 is thinner. This is nice. Less space.
The iPad 2 bleeds light. Read about it here. An informal poll reports that 2/3 of the iPad 2s have this problem. I have this problem too on both short edges. It’s not too bad since I do not have the screen more than 50% bright. BTW, the new iPad 2 screen is very bright. My iPad I screen is set at 60% bright, my iPad 2 set at 40% bright, and the 2 looks brighter.
Overall, I like the iPad 2, but think the “smart” covers are really dumb. The bleed is a bitch, I’ll probably exchange it in a few months when my excessive travel schedule slows down.
IMHO, if you are happy with your iPad I, keep it and wait for the 3. If size and weight is important to you (and it is to me–that’s why I use the Air), then get the iPad 2.
iPad 3, wish list
- Retina display. Mostly for reading PDFs and web pages in vertical orientation.
- Full body cover
Not a lot missing in the 2.