Yesterday, Apple finally announced the hotly anticipated, Apple tablet computer. After years of rumors, the device dubbed the iPad, had a lot of expectations to live up to.
Like any Apple product release, it met a lot of expectations, and fell short on a few as well. Here’s my comprehensive rundown of the iPad.
What’s an iPad?
I’m going to cheat a bit here so I can focus on the analysis. Watch Apple’s eight minute introductory video to the product. In addition to explaining the iPad, it really is an exemplary piece of marketing material.
The pricing is surprisingly reasonable for an Apple computer.
Essentially, this thing is Apple’s answer to the netbook.
- The battery life is insane!!! Ten hours watching video is unheard of.
- It’s small and light:
– Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
– Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
– Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
– Weight: 1.5 pounds (.68 kg) Wi-Fi model or 1.6 pounds (.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model
- The display is clear, bright, and has a wide viewing angle (which isn’t always the case with LED screens).
- It has flash memory which is fast, and isn’t prone to breaking, whereas typical hard drives are (please don’t confuse flash memory with Adobe Flash, which I will talk about soon).
- It has Wi-Fi capabilities, so you don’t need to buy a data plan.
- If you choose to buy a data plan there is no contract, so you can terminate at anytime without consequence.
- The custom software looks great.
- Access to nearly all iPhone apps + the iPad specific apps.
Is it Sturdy?
The hands on testing the I have read, suggests that the thing is sturdy, but that screen is rather big. The larger the surface area of a screen, the more breakable it becomes. I know the iPhone can take a fall. I’ve seen iPhones live through a ride in the washing machine, or a quick flight at 60 MPH off of the roof of a car, but iPhones are small.
Can the iPad survive a fall? Only time will tell.
Like the iPhone, the iPad will not enable viewing or interacting with Adobe Flash; a common element in web design. A lot of geeks are going crazy about this, and it all fairness, the lack of Flash was a criticism I had about the iPhone. However, my opinion has changed on the matter.
Flash design elements are heavy and tend to get mighty clunky. It slows up everything. Flash isn’t bad, but it’s frequently overused. It should be used with a very specific purpose, and for things that can only be done in Flash. The list of things that you *need* Flash to accomplish is becoming shorter every year. HTML5 & jQuery are making Flash far less relevant in web design.
Not including Flash in the iPhone was probably a case of Apple arrogance, but looking towards the horizon, I don’t think they were wrong. If anything, I hope that this encourages companies to pull away from unnecessary use of Flash (also known as Flashturbation).
The Not So Good
A lot of geeks wanted cameras on the the front for video chat. I wanted a camera on the back for the purposes of viewing augmented reality (a topic of great interest to me that I have yet to take the time and write about).
Well, there’s no camera on either side, which kind of sucks. I bet that the iPad v 2.0 will have one.
It took about 10 seconds before Internet memes comparing the iPad to feminine hygiene products popped up. I agree that the name is kind of weak, but the comparison seems unnecessary.
Not that it matters at all, but I was partial to”iSlate.”
Hard drive capacity
The $499 model is only 16 GB. That is questionably small, especially on a device that encourages you to download movies and music. This is a bit more problematic because it doesn’t allow you to use USB drives. I’m sure that you can sync, add, and remove media items from your primary computer, but that’s a hassle.
Depending on how you use your media, the capacity could be be ugly.
AT&T Data Plans :(
It’s great that they aren’t caging you in with a data plan, and you can happily use the iPad without paying a monthly fee. However, if you are one of the people who would benefit from a data plan, you’re stuck with AT&T’s dogpoo network.
At least you can cancel your data plan subscription whenever you want.
This is the most disappointing part from my perspective. The inability to operate multiple applications at one time is a serious deficiency, especially since this is supposed to be a substitute for a netbook. That being said, you can do so much in a tabbed web browser, that the browser realistically makes multi-tasking possible. You can have email, chat, word processing, and a music player open in different browser tabs. So, there is a way around it.
That being said, it’s a shame that you can’t multi-task with the native software. Apple went out of it’s way to design sweet software for this thing, and a lot of it might go unused in place of browser solutions.
The price isn’t bad at all. The features are pretty solid. It’s not perfect, but it looks pretty damn cool.
You should really evaluate what your actual needs are as a user (my topic for tomorrow’s post) before purchasing the iPad. If it will meet your needs, it will probably do it in a big way. If it doesn’t you will find it seriously lacking.
For what it’s worth, I plan to buy a 32 GB Wi-Fi iPad when it becomes available in two months.
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