The iPad itself looks a lot like the iPhone or the iPod Touch. I am not sure the reasons for Apple going with this design when there was so much more they could have done with it. Perhaps they wanted to save money and re-use already existing designs and/or parts. But when you consider what a slate computer is, I think forming the new iPad to look like a phone or a PMP might have been a bad design choice, something of a first for Apple here. Plus, I'll be honest in my views...the iPhone/iPod Touch design is getting a little dated, I feel. It is no longer the new sleeky and sexy look that it was a few years ago. I think a new design would have been a better choice here.
Another mistake (at least in my opinion) is the placement of the 30-pin connector. Again Apple have gone with the iPhone/iPod design choice and put it on the bottom. At first I thought this was a neat idea as it puts the charging cord to the left or right if you are using it in portrait mode. Then I thought about the Keyboard dock and the Camera connectivity kit and the VGA kit. At that point it made no sense. Why the bottom of the slate? Plus I am getting mixed messages here. What is the "default" way of using this? The Keyboard doc makes me think Portrait, but all the other accessories make me think landscape. Also, on the bottom is a rather "tinny" speaker.
Heading up to the top of the iPad we find familiar looking controls. Here we see what appears to be a volume rocker and possibly a mute switch. Well, you are spot on about the volume rocker, but the switch is a rotation lock. There is no mute switch on the iPad; you have to turn the volume all the way down manually. This is also something of a poor choice. I (and many others) have said that there really needs to be a quick way to mute the iPad. But Apple decided otherwise, so that is that. On the top (again like the iPhone/iPod touch) is the sleep/power button.
On the other top corner we find the spot for those missing Apple earbuds and what looks like a microphone hole (because that is what it is).
The back of the iPad is rather dull and lacks even a small camera lens to liven things up. There were some other disappointments with the iPad's design. I know that I and many others would have liked to see at least one USB port on the product. Of course, some will argue that it is not needed and that you can get a USB port of sorts with the camera connectivity kit. Well, they would be right, but as that only works with a camera it limits the functionality of it and still pushes the iPad back into the same boat as the iPhone and iPod touch in terms of physical design and build.
One not so minor note here, you will not be able to charge your iPad from a simple USB connection. You have to have it plugged into the wall (It is not only 10Watts, but also 2.1 Amps).