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First iPad Reviews Surface After Unboxing Pictures, Videos

Apple put its eagerly awaited tablets in the hands of reviewers earlier this week, presumably with instructions that evidence of such be kept confidential until sometime late yesterday. We reported late last night on the arrival of iPad unboxing pictures and videos. In their wake, the first round of iPad reviews have hit the web.

ipad home screen

Almost without exception, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Reviewers from major US outlets such as the NY Times, USA Today, Chicago Sun Times and the Wall Street Journal have published their first hands-on-impressions of the iPad, and words like "winner", "elegant", "beautiful" and "visionary" abound.

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal writes that "this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop". Similarly, and unsurprisingly, Chicago Sun Times' writer Andy Ihnatko states "in situation after situation, I find that the iPad is the best computer in my household and office menagerie."

The USA Today's Ed Baig offered up a fairly lengthy and detailed review, also offering up plenty of positive words about the iPad. Baig quips, "Apple has pretty much nailed it with this first iPad, though there's certainly room for improvement. Nearly three years after making a splash with the iPhone, Apple has delivered another impressive product that largely lives up to the hype."

Thus far rare dissention comes from the NY Times' David Pogue, though only in part. Pogue wrote

iPad Unboxing Pictures and Video, First Impressions

Well, it has finally happened. The iPad is loose in the wild, albeit for the lucky few, not the masses. Late yesterday, several different outlets released their first hands on impressions and unboxing pictures and video for iPads they had received earlier in the week.

The rest of us won't receive our Apple iPads until the official iPad release date of April 3rd. UPS will be knocking on doors across the country dropping off the long awaited Apple tablets to their eager new owners. For those of you who just can't wait to see what's coming, these unboxing pictures and video should help soothe (or possibly aggravate) your suffering.

iPad UPS Tracking Information Causing Some Confusion

Most customers that pre-ordered the iPad received shipping confirmation emails from Apple on Monday, March 29th. The typical iPad shipment originated from Shenzhen, China and then migrated overnight to Ghuangzhou, China. Many eager customers who continued to track their iPad's journey saw further updated tracking information which showed domestic US locations for their package, only later to have that information disappear and see their iPad back on Chinese shores. Needless to say, this has prompted some confusion, and many soon-to-be iPad owners are searching for answers.

ipad ups shipments

Speculation around the web has led many to believe that UPS has pulled the tracking data and whereabouts of iPad shipments at Apple's requests in order to stop impatient iPad hopefuls from attempting to, and possibly successfully, acquire their iPad early from their local UPS depot. According to UPS, this is not the case.

Will the iPad Launch Internationally April 24th?

Rumors are flying of an April 24 ship date for Apple's iPad in Canada. If the company follows the same pattern it did in the US, that could mean pre-ordering for the Canadian market starting three weeks earlier, on April 2 to be exact.

The iPad in Canada reports that Apple employees have been given a "black out period" for the weekend of April 24, meaning that no retail workers can expect to take off that weekend. That would suggest a special event at Apple stores is on the horizon.

SlingPlayer Mobile Coming to iPad After Launch

Although it won't be ready for this week's iPad launch, Sling Media is working hard on a mobile version of its SlingPlayer optimized for iPad. The new version will take full advantage of the iPad and provide higher-quality streaming video.

Apple iPad Sling Player Slingbox

For those iPad users with a Slingbox, content can be streamed from your cable or satellite box over a broadband Internet connection. The video stream can then be watched using SlingPlayer software from any computer or compatible mobile device. Sling Media made the news recently with the release of a 3G-streaming version of the SlingPlayer for iPhone.

Self Published Book Titles Coming to iPad

Independent publishers will now have iPad distribution channels available thanks to Apple deals with Lulu and Smashwords. Lulu announced that it would automatically convert books from its own format into the ePub format at no cost, unless the author declines the service.

Apple iPad iBooks iBookstore Self Publishing Lulu Smashwords

The author would then get the remainder of proceeds after Lulu and Apple are paid a percentage when the book sells via iBooks. Lulu supports the ePub and PDF formats with and without digital rights management included. For its part, Smashwords stated that authors selling ePub formatted books included in their premium catalog will see distribution on Apple's iBookstore at iPad launch.

Brightcove Supports HTML5 for Apple iPad

Another phase of the iPad video saga has begun with Brightcove's announcement that HTML5 is now supported by their online video platform. This vastly simplifies video and advertisement publishing for Brightcove's 1,000-plus clients who are interested in entering the iPad arena. The company will continue to support Adobe Flash.

Apple iPad HTML5 Flash Brightcove advertisements

Brightcove chairman and CEO Jeremy Allaire stated, "Our customers want to be able to deliver their video content to every screen without sacrificing the quality, interactivity and monetization capabilities they have come to expect from the Brightcove platform. The Brightcove Experience for HTML5 fills the gap between the current playback capabilities of the emerging standard and what our customers need to operate successful online video businesses."

Apple Debuts iPad Guided Tour Videos

Until you can get your hands on an actual iPad, the next best thing may be Apple's new Guided Tour videos. Featuring 11 of the iPad's applications, Apple illustrates the capabilities of the new device and its software in several different scenarios.

Apple iPad Guided Tour

The native apps featured in the videos include Safari, Mail, Photos, Videos, YouTube, iPod, and iTunes. Additional applications with guided tours include iBooks, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. Each video runs 2-3 minutes and shows in detail the major features of each application.

Apple Ships the iPad, Early Arrival Speculation Begins

After many early iPad pre-orders were updated several days ago to indicate that they were prepared for shipment, Apple has actually begun shipping those orders. Many eager iPad owners-to-be were happily greeted by an Apple shipping notification, such as the one shown in the image below, sitting in their inbox.

ipad shipment notification

Somewhat interestingly, despite most outlets previously assuming it would be FedEx handling the Saturday deliveries of Apple's long awaited tablet, early reports from consumers indicate that UPS is handling the initial shipment of iPads. Despite some customer concerns that UPS does not deliver on Saturday, the UPS website clearly states "For time-critical shipments, UPS offers the convenience of Saturday Delivery."

Best Buy to Release Limited iPad Inventory on April 3 at 9 AM

Looking to avoid lines at the Apple Store on April 3rd? Apple has confirmed that Best Buy will carry all three Wi-Fi only models in "most" of its stores starting at 9 am. Unfortunately, TUAW found out that inventory will be limited to only 15 units per store, with each model equally represented in stock. This means that only 5 of each iPad will be available at each store.

ipad best buy april 3

The 9 am release time means that Best Buy stores will not open early for the event. Best Buy's website has no mention of the iPad as of this writing and the device will not be available for online ordering from the company at this time. As for which Best Buy stores will actually have 15 iPads in stock, those labeled as Apple Solutions Consultants (ASC) and “Apple Shops” will have the device and accessories.

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