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I've had my iPad for a little over 48 hours, and I have to say I'm very happy with it. Some apps didn't make the transition from my iPod touch well, but it was something I expected. Things that rely on specific screen dimensions, like my knitting apps for needle size and gauge will need to be rewritten, as well as some of the reader/text apps.

The new Kindle app is great, and I still prefer it to a real Kindle, but I have to say that Apple's iBooks is going to give it serious competition. Both are simple to use, both will bookmark pages. Kindle let's you add notes, although I found it very hard to select text to do it. iBooks doesn't have a note feature, but it will let you highlight a passage and bookmark it, and even lets you select the highlight color, just like Labels on the Mac. Book prices from both Amazon and Apple seem to be about the same, although I did find a couple of pre-orders to be several dollars less from Apple. Both let you download previews, but it's faster and easier to buy though iBooks. The one thing that both have that I really appreciate is the ability to adjust the backlight on the fly without having to go to the settings panel. 

Dragon Dictation — Over the years, I've tried a lot of dictation software, and the Mac versions have always been inferior to their Windows counterparts. Dragon has released their iPad version, free for a limited time, and I have to admit that it's good. No complicated learning/training curve. Just speak as you normally would, speak formatting commands, and that's it. Copy the text or email it. Missed a comma or period, or have a word misspelled? Bring up the keyboard. Oh, and it automatically capitalizes the first letter of each sentence, unfortunately, even words like iTunes. Can't have everything, I guess.

Numbers is one of the things I was most looking forward to using. I've done my share of bar liquor inventories over the years, and this can really simplify it. Our usual routine involved the bookkeeper printing out a multi-page template, carrying the sheets on a clipboard, writing in the totals, giving it back to the bookkeeper to reenter the numbers on the computer, and praying like mad that a line wasn't skipped somewhere along the way, thereby throwing off the totals. With Numbers and an iPad, this is a one-step process. I imported my Windows excel template, brought up the on-screen numeric keypad, and simply entered numbers once. Now, here is my one major gripe. While Pages will import and export  Word files, Numbers can only import Excel files. They must then be saved in Numbers or PDF format. Come on, Apple. If Numbers can import an Excel sheet without losing formulas and linked sheets, surely it should be able to export it back out. 

One thing missing that surprises me is an iPad version of the MobileMe Gallery app. Works and looks great on the iPhone and iPod touch, but while it works on the iPad, it looks terrible at full screen. While the photos are okay, any text or captions look horrible. I'm sure we'll see an update soon, but it would have been nice to release it with the iPad.


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