I’ve had the new OS on the iPad for about a week, so it’s time for a quick review:  the upload went smoothly enough, but the installation kludged up at the synching of the files, requiring me to unplug the iPad from the computer and restart the later.  The iPad, meanwhile, figured out it could go ahead and fire up.  The installation takes a while — don’t worry about the iPad seeming to just sit there near the end of the loading bar for about 5 minutes.  From what I can tell on the various bulletin boards around the net, it’s normal.  There are some issues with iTunes deleting your music library reported; I didn’t have this problem.

The upgrade seems to have improved performance across the board.  The device is running faste r and smoother than I anticipated with one exception to the rule: Mail.  I have a gmail and two Comcast accounts the iPad taps and this seems to confuse the hell out of it if i get a fair amount of mail on any of the accounts.  The unified inbox is nice.

Multitasking:  it works.  Well.  I’ve had Safari and mail open pretty much constantly, but have also had various programs up and running at the same time, including GT Racing.  No slow downs.  For the gamer crowd out there, the PDF Reader, Pages, and Diceshaker programs, when open together let you swap back and forth between them very quickly: double tap the home button, tap the icon of the program you want and you swap back and forth speedily.  This was the improvement that made the iPad the perfect GM tool.

The downside — it does draw more battery power.  The one niggling complaint: you can’t just close out the app; you have to go to the home screen (one tap on the button), then double tap to get the multitasking bar up so you can shut down the app you were just in.  There might be another way and I haven’t stumbled on it, yet.

Air Print:  Disappointed! No, you can’t print to any printer not “Airprint enabled”, which means shitty HP products.  They’re supposed to be bringing more printers online, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up if you run anything not HP.

Folders:  In iTunes drag the app icons together to form folders based on “Entertainment: or what have you.  I like the ability to clean up my screen and group items, like games, together.  It just means you don’t get to do the cool swipe between home screens as much to impress your friends and people ogling the iPad.

Battery life:  multitasking draws off a few hours of run time on the iPad.  Not unexpected, but if you’re on a long international flight, you might want to invest in that Kensignton iPad battery/cover thingee I’ve seen on eBay — it’s supposed to add another 5 hours and a pound or so to the weight.  I’m just making sure that for long trips I’ve only got one program at a time up and running.

Overall, this was a serious improvement on the iPad, but if I’m anything to go by, Mail needs a serious update to run smoother.  I can’t wait to see the iPad2 come spring…