I got my iPad today, a combination Father’s Day and birthday gift (coming up in July) from my kids and wife. I spent most of the afternoon setting it up and playing with it (guys don’t read instruction manuals…we just learn by playing…drives my wife nuts!).

The iPad has been widely criticized, mainly by technology geeks who are capable of finding every deficiency from their ideal of perfection. Most have called it simply a “big iPhone”, and I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. But I’ve got to say, size makes a BIG difference! Where the Maps app on the iPhone is a pain in the butt, on the iPad it’s actually a usable and realistic replacement for paper versions. Movies on the iPhone? After a few minutes you start to go blind. Not on the iPad; movies are a pleasure on the go. And if you subscribe to LogMeIn Ignition (the most useful of all apps IMHO), you can really work on your home or office computer from your iPad, a feat that is quite tedious on the iPhone. And the biggest advantage vs. a netbook is the blistering speed; I’ve tried to boot up my netbook while waiting for my flight, and by the time it was up and running, so was I…for the plane.

On the other hand, iBooks is a disappointment. I just can’t get past the first couple of pages of any of the books I downloaded; my mind wanders and I have to keep re-reading paragraphs. Maybe I’ll get used to it. It’s all very pretty, but my brain is having trouble adapting to reading this way for prolonged periods. Funny enough, short attention-span reading such as newspapers and web sites is no problem. But try getting past the first page of Moby Dick on an iPad!

The big pleasant surprise is iWorks, the iPad’s equivalent of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. I loaded up a PPT presentation that I’ll be making to prospective clients next Tuesday, and it looks great. I’m going to try it instead of my big LCD projector and screen. But what business people we really need, IMHO, is an iPad Maxi (continuing with the feminine hygiene product theme so brilliantly propagated by the geniuses at Apple) with a 17 inch screen and all the capabilities of the current iPad. Bigger IS better!