As the resident Testfreak Apple aficionado I felt it was time to sway in with my opinion on Apple’s latest “revolutionary” device – the iPad. Like most people prior to the announcement I was like a kid at Christmas; awaiting what neat toy Santa Jobs would present for us under the tree. Afterwards, I and many others felt like we got the lump of coal in our stocking.
Let’s start with the name – iPad. Seriously, that is the name Apple picked? You know you are going to be made fun of when MadTV did a tampon commercial mocking the then current iPod ads selling; you guessed it – the iPad.
This is the equivalent of giving your kid a name they will be picked on during their school years; like naming your kid Ivana when your last name is Tinkle. Not a good idea.
Why does Apple have to name everything with “i” in front of it. They sell products sans the “i” such as Time Machine, MacBook and Time Capsule. I think the Apple Tablet would have been elegant and descriptive enough.
OK, what’s in a name? If the product is revolutionary and “magical” as Mr. Jobs describes it then the iPad moniker can be forgiven.
As soon as the iPad made its appearance at the Apple announcement; many including myself thought “hey that’s an iPod Touch on steroids”. It is sleek and sexy, but still looks awfully familiar. Maybe the software will make the iPad revolutionary.
So Mr. Jobs powers up the iPad and we are immediately greeted by the slide to open interface found on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Seriously? This to me is a sign of laziness or at the very least complacency. Redesign the unlock screen, you have 9.7” of real estate – use it and provide some useful data such as you have XX amount of emails or you this appointment scheduled today, etc.
The Home screen does not inspire hope either as we see four icons in the “dock” area. Hmmm, where have we seen this before? This main app screen looks like a spacious iPhone doppleganger. What the hell!
I think many people’s impression that this is an iPod Touch on steroids comes from the interface. Couldn’t Apple alter the appearance, even a cosmetic change would give the iPad a different first impression. For a company known for their slick interfaces and industrial design I find it hard to believe they couldn’t whip something up.
My next quibble and this is something that all can see when Steve Jobs shows the iPad in action is when he browses the New York Times webpage on Safari and we see the missing Flash plugin icon. Why Apple, why? I know the iPhone doesn’t run Flash but there are many iPhone/mobile designed sites that make do without it. However, the iPad is supposed to be the step between a mobile Smartphone and a laptop. Since more websites than I can count use Flash, I feel you are not getting the true Internet experience on the iPad.
I don’t know what Apple’s beef with Adobe is but it is making life for many of the Apple consumers not pleasant. My sense is that Apple is the villain in this situation as Flash seems to run on most every other device and or Smartphone.
Multitasking. Why can’t the iPad multitask? Is the lightning fast A4 processor incapable of handling more than one app at a time? It would be nice to have email and a Twitter client open at the same time, don’t you think? I have a solution; make the iPad run three applications at a time max.
I know Apple can easily address these last two complaints with an OS update, but they are issues here and now. iPhone users dealt with the whole lack of “cut and paste” issue for numerous OS updates. This fits Apple’s pattern of not adding all the bells and whistles in the first version because we will build it in version 2. This is one of the things I despise about Apple’s product cycles. Off the top of my head they did it with the iPod, iPhone, and Mac Mini.
So the iPad seems to be lightning fast, but many have fallen for that ruse before with the iPhone. Websites on the Apple stage seem to be at T1 speeds but I have a feeling real life surfing will be a tad bit slower. I know my iPhone 3G is nowhere near as fast as when I saw it on the Apple announcement several years ago. And don’t get me started on battery life. They are never accurate with those proclamations, are they?
Let’s talk about connections…… The iPad has the same dock connector seen with the iPod and iPhone. No built in USB or SD slot. Luckily Apple offers connectors for those at an additional price. So this low price tablet seems to get more expensive especially if you get the case, keyboard dock and an additional connector kit. That is another $100 plus to your price tag. This seems a bit like the razer blade sales model to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freebie_marketing Boo.
Steve Jobs proudly cooed that the iPad is GSM “unlocked”; take that iPhone Dev Team! In all seriousness, the iPad uses a micro-SIM card, which only AT&T carries as far as I know. In all essence it is still a locked system at least in the United States. Whether the iPad will have “incompatibility problems” with non-AT&T SIMS in the future remains to be seen.
(Editor’s Note: O2, Orange and T-Mobile have orders for micro-sims as well : http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/28/rest-easy-ipad-roamers-o2-and-orange-have-micro-sim-orders-to/ )
This next issue is something that software upgrades won’t address – the screen size. It is a nice sized 9.7” screen; great for pictures, email and web surfing but movies will be shown in a 4:3 display aspect. That is the ratio of analog televisions (weren’t they phased out recently?). This means all your widescreen movies will have those lovely black bars on the top and bottom of the image.
And in the “oh no they didn’t department”; it seems Apple took some liberties and “borrowed” from the appearance of the well known Mac program Delicious Library for their iBook component. You can read more of about this here (http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/27/think-ibooks-looks-familiar-youre-not-the-only-one/).
OK, so I ripped on the iPad for several paragraphs, I will say I have not held the device or tried it out, but I feel most of my arguments are valid. One of my more Applecentric friends asked me, what did I expect from the iPad? My answer is I expected more and better. I feel like they supersized the something they had and made well, but don’t sell me on how this is better than a netbook.
I have used a Dell Mini 9 running OS X on it and it was not the fastest machine but it was able to handle an OS designed for desktop use with plenty of aplomb. Why Apple had to cripple the iPad with the iPhone OS is still beyond me.
I think the iPad has potential. The question is whether this potential can be met with this version of the iPad or will the second and third versions scratch the itch for many technophiles. Right now as an owner of a netbook and a Nook, I can’t justify picking up the iPad.
That doesn’t mean I won’t as I am a tech writer and this device will warrant plenty of write for itself and for the additional accessory market it will spawn otherwise I would probably wait for the initial “beta” testing of the iPad and see what the OS updates hold in store for the device. Besides, I can’t wait to play Doodle Jump on this sucker.
(Editor’s Note: My quick two-cents, for what it’s worth, is that the iPad will be just like the iPhone was and is. It will take a few generations before things that should have been in the first one will appear, and you sheeple will just keep throwing money at Apple and their products. As long as you buy the ‘stripped down’ versions of these things Apple is selling then they have no reason to actually give you the features and functionality other people already have in devices that are generations older. In the beginning Tom mentioned he felt like he got a lump of coal in his stocking, well as long as you folks keep buying the coal, there’s no reason for them to sell you diamonds… -Kristofer)