The pull of the iPad is incredible - we've got two here at Dennis, FedExed to our UK offices from New York the moment they were released - and even now, a couple of weeks on, people in the company are still jostling for the chance to play with them for an afternoon.
Taking an iPad outside is even more dangerous - within seconds of pressing the single front button to activate the screen, you become aware of it sucking in the attention of people around you. Mention it to friends and it instantly becomes the sole topic of conversation. I took it out in a restaurant (to show it to a friend) and I couldn't have got the waiter over to the table quicker if I'd stood on my chair, started throwing bread rolls and bellowing the Marseillaise at the top of my lungs.
The iPad's detractors will doubtless see this as proof of the brainwashing power of fruit messiah Steve Jobs and his legions of hipster minions. There's no doubt advertising, brand appeal and breathless press coverage have helped create this ridiculous level of hype - but you can't hype anything and everything, and people's excitement about the iPad is genuine, and when you use the iPad, not entirely surprising. If there's one thing team bit-tech generally agreed on, it is really cool. If you thought the iPhone interface was whizzy then on the iPad, with its bigger screen and faster CPU it's positively whizztacular.
An iPad, yesterday
Where the arguments about the iPad did break out though, was when we confronted the question, "what's it for?", usually as a result of Harry yelling it within seconds of anyone picking up the iPad. Unlike the iPhone - which was really the first phone that was good at browsing the web - the iPad doesn't have a single, strong purpose. It does a lot of things, including email, browsing the web, playing music and video and of course, displaying eBooks (sorry, iBooks), pictures and running Apps.
The iPad has been covered extensively throughout the media, and as with all our coverage, we wanted anything we wrote to be unique, technical and interesting to you, our readers, so we've initially decided to take a look at how the iPad fares as a gaming device. This area has been under-explored in other reviews, or dealt with quite badly - so Joe and Alex have spent the last few days playing a variety of games on the iPad, and we've got both our impressions of the device for gaming, and how the games themselves are.
We've reviewed eight different iPad games over the next few pages, and we also took some video of the games in action. We filmed the iPad in our lab, using a Creative Vado HD mini-camcorder - it's a neat piece of kit, but it's in no way a studio quality camera, and we should warn you that as a result, the footage is a little blurry in places, and shouldn't be taken as an accurate guide to the quality of the iPad's screen. The brightness of the screen, and the oleophobic (oil resistant) coating that helps repel fingerprints made it difficult for the Vado HD to focus that well. That said, the video will give you an idea of how the iPad runs, how quickly the games load up and what they're like - so take a look!