As I mentioned in our review, there are elements of Apple's iPad launch that seemed rushed. The lack of any spectacular apps from Apple itself, some performance/OS issues and even missing accessories at launch. 

One accessory that couldn't be found on day 1 is the iPad Keyboard Dock. This accessory has a dock port for your iPad, an external dock port for connecting to your computer/power brick and a 1/8" line out. The keyboard itself is Apple's condensed chiclet, which ranks up there with ThinkPad keyboards in my book. The dock and keyboard are both very well built.

You can use keyboard shortcuts (e.g. copy, paste, option+delete to delete the previous word, etc...) and there are even some hotkeys on the keyboard itself (.e.g lock, brightness control, home screen). You do lose things like auto punctuation in Pages (e.g. tapping space twice doesn't put a period at the end of the previous word) and you can't Cmd+Tab between apps (perhaps that's coming in OS4?).

It does improve the overall functionality of your iPad quite a bit. If you plan on using your iPad as a netbook alternative, I'd say the iPad Keyboard Dock is a necessity. Unfortunately, priced at $69 it contributes to the iPad's already high cost of ownership.

More pics in the Gallery, and more thoughts later!

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  • Mike1111 - Monday, April 12, 2010 - link

    A bluetooth keyboard is more multi purpose, but the Keyboard Dock seems to be more comfortable. You can just plug the iPad in and start typing (plus it gets charged). With a bluetooth keyboard you have to leave your app, go to settings etc. and activate bluetooth, go back to your app and then you can type. After you're finished you have to do the same in reverse, since you can't use the software keyboard if you just walk away. But I guess if you only sit down and use the hardware keyboard to type for hours it's no problem.
  • FORSAGE - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Imagine if they would have attached the keyboard to the iPad so you can conveniently have it with you all the time, and maybe even make it fold together so the whole package would retain portability?
  • brshoemak - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    You mean why don't they make it a netbook?
  • tfranzese - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    More like a tablet PC imo. I would be interested in these things if they were just like the standard tablet PC, but thin, open and not just a scaled down desktop OS, but purpose built.
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - link

    Or just a regular notebook. People are a little too infatuated with touchscreen as far as I'm concerned. It's got its uses but too often it seems like people just think 'Wow touch looks cool' and it gets thrown around for the sake of it.
  • bigboxes - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - link

    I'll bash Apple and their products all day, but slamming them for a touch screen?? Touch screens are not a fad. The future is now. I'm sure you would be one of those that wouldn't touch a telephone when you could just yell out your window.
  • afkrotch - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - link

    Ya, touchscreens are the future. I love having to constantly wipe oil off the screen that I need to view.
  • BansheeX - Monday, April 12, 2010 - link

    I agree, what the hell are people thinking with this? Unlike a netbook, the keyboard eats into your viewable resolution, plus you have to wipe your screen all the time. Netbooks have it right. Are people just bored out of their minds?
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Did any tech review pages experience or report on the overheating and wi-fi issues of the iPad? Just asking as I have a feeling that they didn't. Wonder why.. Cough.
  • kmmatney - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    I guess none of the reviewers ever put their iPads in a hot place until it reached 115F - Strange that is. On another bizare note, I have never experienced any overheating issues on my iPhone 3GS either. Weird.

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