Okay, I finally decided to take a chance and try to upgrade my iPad 2 to iOS 5 last week, after the disastrous first attempt. It finally went through, with no issues. So here’s what I’ve found: it’s a solid update, but it’s not going to change your life, bring you wealth and happiness, nor cause the stars to align and give us world peace, like most fanboys would have you think.

The bad: You don’t get Siri on the iPad. But then you’re not clogging the internet with useless questions to impress your friends with how Siri can do whatever. Also, iPhone users are seeing serious battery life issues thanks to iCloud synching, which drains your battery a whole hell of a lot faster than Flash ever did. One of the other culprits in this is the crap-laden Newstand app, which loads your machine up with publication specific apps (some were offered free — but not any issues…jus the app) which also ping the web regularly. You can’t delete newstand if you want to, nor hide it (easily) in a folder. It’s crap.

Also, if you have a first-generation iPad, it won’t do multitouch, as it will on iPad 2.

The good: You can use the dictionary function pretty much anywhere on the machine now. The notification center is nicer, less intrusive, but I’ve found mail doesn’t push to it particularly well. The iCloud synch for calendars and contacts is useful. I wouldn’t synch much else unless you want to have a machine that runs for 2 hours.

The really good: the Twitter integration is superb! Also, while it’s not really iOS specific, the Facebook app is near seamless. The ability to undock your keyboard and have it split for thumb use I thought would be useless — it’s not. It’s fantastically easy to type with.

The outstanding: Best of all, you’re off the iTunes synch if you dont’ want to. The iPad is now a stand-alone device. I tried wireless synching and while it takes a while, you can still use the device without issue. A top-notch improvement over the earlier iterations of iOS.

Since I run almost nothing through the iCLoud or iTunes wifi synch, I’ve had no battery issues, and have actually seen a slight improvement (I think) in battery life — about 1:10 hours/10% of battery. As said, I like the improvements to the keyboard, the wireless upgrades and synching, and find the device to be even more useful that before. I think my next experiment will be to see if I can type more comfortably over time with it that I could before. I find trying to do long manuscript work with the iPad can get tedious, and still prefer a physical keyboard.