First, the name. When I first saw the live blog being updated by engadget, I thought it was a joke. The iPad? Definitely not catchy or buzzy. It’s also, in my opinion, too similar to “iPod,” if you couldn’t gather that from the title of this post. And of course there’s the association to what my sister refers to as “female products” (“What do you need to buy at the store?” “Oh, uh, female products.”). I’ll admit, none of the rumored names were catchy either. iSlate, iTablet…mehh. But iPad?? Seems a bit….vapid and insipid (it almost resembles those words phonetically too).
Sidenote: I’m going to have to agree with my friend Will Quach about people calling the iPod Touch “iTouch.” WHY? “i” and “Touch” should not appear consecutively in a name because it just sounds weird. Apple certainly doesn’t call it that. I really hope people don’t start calling the iPad the “iTouchPad” or something. That would just be…unacceptable.
Second, stuff that it’s missing that people would’ve expected. Chances are you’ve seen these deficiencies already.
- No camera -> no video conferencing or web chatting. For a device that boasts the best web and multimedia experience “hands down,” this is somewhat eyebrow-raising. What’s more perplexing is that the iPod touch and iPhone (aka iPad Minis) have cameras that can record video.
- No phone calling. This actually doesn’t bother me at all, since that’s what the iPhone is for. I can’t imagine using the iPad as a phone anyways. If it can use Skype or Google Voice to make calls, that’s fine with me (at least there’s a microphone).
- No flash support. Hmm…although it doesn’t bother me personally, but it seems like an odd thing to not push for inclusion, especially since a lot of websites are powered by flash.
- No multi-tasking. This is quite a big deal in my opinion, especially since a lot of people bash Apple for this. If they were to release iPhone OS with multi-tasking capability, that would silence a lot of critics and Apple-haters. But critics can continue to bash this device all the more because Apple didn’t include it. An interesting comment that I read on engadget: “Someone give me an iPad running webOS.” That would be pretty cool.
Apple wants to market this as an e-book reader, and they have a new iBook store and iBook app. That’s pretty nice and the visual effects are amazing. The problem is that e-book readers are e-book readers because they use E-INK DISPLAYS. The whole point of creating an e-book reader was to have a device that was easy on the eyes and could be looked at for long periods of time without strain. It’s also perfect that E-ink displays have very low power consumption which means hours and hours of uninterrupted reading. I don’t think anyone who has a Kindle or a real e-book reader will regret buying one – if they do, my guess is they bought it for some completely wrong reason. Unfortunately the iPad’s LCD display, as advanced and cool as it is, does not make it suitable as an e-book reader. It’s kind of funny how it “boasts” a backlit display. Uhh…I thought the backlighting contributed to eye strain. The iPad seems hardly more of an e-book reader than a regular computer. It’s only moreso because of the iBook app. Oh, and I guess because you can hold it more like a book too.
They’ve also released iWork for the iPad. The new UI looks pretty awesome too (trumps Microsoft Office by far). The price for each iWork app is also quite a good value ($9.99 each). But frankly, if I had this device, the last thing I would do with it is work. Sure, the display is large, but if I want to type a document, the keyboard takes half the screen. Not to mention the touch keyboard is probably unsettling to use for typing a document. Maybe Keynote would be useful, since making cool slideshows is closer to entertainment than “work.” But Numbers? Getting me to use Numbers on the iPad would be like having me take a math test in a movie theatre. I wouldn’t bother with it at all. HOWEVER, I could see how “working” on this thing becomes an acquired taste. It could be so fun and compelling to interact with, that people might insist working on it, even if just to show it off. But for hardcore “I-need-to-concentrate” work? No way.
Those are my main gripes. Now for the positives.
I think it has a lot of “cool-factor.” Sure, it looks like a giant iPod Touch, but that’s not really a bad thing. For viewing photos and videos and browsing the web, I’m sure it’s awesome. I mean people think it’s awesome on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and having a larger display just makes the experience much better, especially with an enhanced UI. And Apple’s UI is very nice indeed.
Although the iPad may lack certain features, it seems like it does what it CAN do quite beautifully and (presumably) robustly, and that’s a major plus. There aren’t too many things that offer a truly compelling, awe-inspiring user experience along with rock-solid reliability and robustness. Certainly not compiz on linux (at least since I’ve played around with it about 6 months ago).
People have been fretting over the 1 GHz processor, chuckling at Apple’s claim that it’s fast. But honestly, this is probably a good thing. It’s “custom-designed” so the fact that it responds quickly and smoothly with no hiccups, according to engadget (at least during the demos haha), means that the custom design is probably quite innovative. In fact it’d probably be better if other companies started optimizing lower-clock-speed processors so that they can do things more efficiently without using more power, instead of racing to pack in the fastest CPU’s in their products when they come out. Oh yeah…and the iPad can’t multitask so a faster CPU may not be not critical anyways. But kudos to Apple for making a slower CPU perform like a faster one (if it indeed does run smoothly and quickly in real practical use).
I must admit I was surprised at the starting price. For $499, it’s not a steal, but I think it’s definitely low enough to quell anyone that writes Apple products off as being too expensive. I guess 3G costs extra, but I don’t even use 3G now so can’t say much about whether it’s worth it or not. But if Apple wants to compete against the Kindle, it probably has to keep the price low.
So is this product “magical and revolutionary” as Apple claims it is? From a technical and engineering standpoint, it’s probably very innovative, especially the use of that A4 chip. But as a product? It seems like a big PMP with more apps. Do I want one? Sure. Would I buy one? No. And if you buy this because it’s an e-book reader, well…you’re probably more of a snob than a bookworm.
And here’s an image for good measure.