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Having arm-wrestled the Verizon-Motorola-Google Droid to a draw, I decided not to subjugate the iPad. I don’t have to because it’s a luxury, not a necessity. I don’t need keep my calendar on it because I already do that on my phone, so it’s less important that it do everything, at least for me. That said, here are a couple of impressions based on very casual use.

° I expected to be underwhelmed. It’s better than I expected.

° The virtual keyboard in landscape mode is terrific — I can really touchtype flawlessly. But it’s so good and so fast that it becomes slightly irritating to have to switch to a keyboard for the numbers and punctuation. i wish you could simply hold the shift key and get the numbers, exclamations, apostrophes, etc. without waiting.

° The insides of the Droid are fine. It’s the user interface that lacks deep polish, even though it oozes shallow polish. I suppose one should expect this; Google has little experience with designing complex interfaces and they have lots to learn. (I can point out some flaws on Apple’s Mail: when you delete a message, it doesn’t take you automatically to the next one.)

° On the iPad, the interface is fine, especially since it has no peer with which to compare it. What’s lacking is access to all its insides. You know it’s running UNIX, has multitasking and a file system. It feels so much like a Mac laptop that you want to start doing all the laptoppish things you can do as well as read, browse and look at videos, but … you can’t access it’s cloaked insides: I don’t think you can save files for future use, or print, or set tabs on Safari. I imagine those things will come.

° There is a 45 degree angle between the genders of the Droid and the iPad. The Droid is a male imp — hard sharp edges, chunky, mischievous, stubborn, obnoxious, a sort of Pan. The noises it makes are panicky, and the logo is sci-fi-ish. I wonder if many women bought the Droid. I doubt it.

° The iPad isn’t feminine, hence the 45 degrees angle. But it’s not clearly masculine either. It isn’t gay, it’s just neuter or metrosexual.

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