Oh yes. It shines, brothers and sisters, it shines with the holy awesome within.
There's been about umpty billion reviews of the 2 so far and I don't intend to add to them, other than saying I chose a 32gig, wifi only, black model. Having traveled thru the US with the kid's v.1 pads hotspotted to my ipwn I'd determined that 3g was unecessary. It also adds a few grams to the weight and of course subscription costs for a 3g connection.
I chose the 32gigs because that's enough memory to hold some serious media, especially films and tv shows while I travel. But I dont keep that stuff on board permanently because once you've watched it, there's no need. It can either sit on a server at home, or on the physical media in which it arrived. So 32 is more than enough, while 64, perversely isn't nearly enough. At 64 gigs you're starting to think about whether you could load up whole seasons of shows like the Wire or Firefly, when there's no need, and you probably can't anyway.
16gigs is for little girls.
I chose the black because black is always cooler, but it also provides a much better surround when watching vids. With a white bezel you never get past the framing of the image. With black, particularly when the lights are down, you can fall into the action on screen much more easily.
For apps, I've leaned heavily towards media and especially news consumption. Hearst have just inked a deal with Apple to put a few of their mastheads on iPad, one of which, US Esquire, is an old fave of mine, so I will be subscribing to that, along with Wired and maybe, just maybe, The Daily, from the Murdoch Deathstar. I would have transferred my other subs across from the Kindle but that's not yet allowed.
My other news apps are all freebies. The ABC's HD app is a fucking killer, as is most of their digital delivery gear. CNN, NYT, NPR, al Jazeera, The Independent, BBC, the Economist's 'Intelligent Life', they're all good. In addition to them I've got a couple of heavily trafficked specialty tech portals like Engadget, IGN, Cnet and so on.
Most interesting however are the 'bespoke' magazine apps like Flipboard and Zite which sweep thru your social media connections, your RSS feeds, and, if you let them, your email, to craft a digital magazine just for you. The results are amazing, and the more you use them of course, the better they get at predicting and searching for the sort of stuff you would normally seek out yourself. You can lose hours in these things, especially if, like me, you have thousands on feeder links coming from twitter and facebook.
I have to severely limit my time on the pad lest I lose whole days to those two.
For working while I travel I've got Pages, but will probably swap that out for a different program sometime soon. There's a great little note taking app called Penultimate which turns the pad into a giant old fashioned notebook. Bought a stylus to use with this and for something so simple it is the fucking schnitzel. I love it. Especially for jotting down thoughts about story arcs, characters etc. Orin put me onto some mind mapping apps which I haven't really got into, but a related story mapper called Ruminate has proved itself invaluable while I was plotting out Angels of Vengeance. I've loaded Blogpress and WordPress and a bunch of photo editors for work on the go.
There's a folder full of games, natch, and another with half a dozen fitness apps, the best of which is Nike's amazing effort. Hundreds of workouts, all with video instruction. Totally worth getting even if only for your phone.
The thing I'm coming to fully understand about these devices is how personal they are. We use to speak of 'personal computers', but really there was a huge amount of commonality between most peoples machines. Word processor. Spreadsheet. Coupla other big time programs. Maybe a game or two. Some music.
The explosion of the app ecology, not just at iTunes but over at Android and soon enough at Amazon really lets us invent a new machine on a literally blank skate. Once of I finish my book edit I'm gonna take a few days to reinvent mine all over again.