Apple has become arguably the most innovative company there ever has been, and every one of their products receives an unimaginable hype. Starting of with Macs, Apple entered into the mp3 business with their first iPod in 2001. They soon entered the cell phone business in 2007 with their revolutionary iPhone. In 2010, they introduced a product they call revolutionary dubbed the iPad. Does the iPad live up to the standards of Apple’s other products?
In the technology mainstream today, there two line of products that are very essential for most individuals to have. Those are computers and cell phones. Computers come in forms of desktops, laptops, and sometimes tablets, which are a touchscreen interpretation of computers that run a full feature operating system like Windows. Most of the tablets that have come into the market, have failed to attract consumers. Enter Apple’s iPad.
As you can tell, the iPad can easily be called a tablet with its 9.7 inch touch screen. It can also be easily called a bigger iPhone or should I rather say a bigger iTouch since it lacks a camera. Regardless of its iTouch-resembled hardware design, the software is what most people care about. Software is where it truly disappoints. As most people anticipated, this tablet was going to run a full computer OS like Snow Leopard. That has to be something revolutionary, bringing a new way of computing to the people. This new way would be something that could kill the old ways of the laptops and desktops. Like Apple took smart phones to the next level, I thought they were going to take computers to the next level as well. Unfortunately, I was let down.
The iPad runs the iPhone OS, which is the same OS on the iTouch and the iPhone itself. We all know the iPhone cannot do everything that computers can. Likewise, the iPad lacks some of the functionality of laptops and desktops, therefore it cannot be considered a computer in a form of tablet. Apple is comparing the iPad to netbooks, which are smaller versions of laptops and are considered a category of its own. A netbook market is for people who need a laptop like funtionality, but in a version that is bigger than a smartphone. Asus was credited for the innovation of netbooks back in 2007, and they have controlled its market for some time. Apple claimed that netbooks are not good at anything, and while the iPad lacks some key features of the netbook, it delivers on things it does. In other words, the iPad is a tablet that is supposed to function better than a netbook at things it does, but with a handful of shortcomings. So what does it do?
The iPad has many of the same features as the iPhone like maps, calendar, photos, notes and iPod, but some of the things it clearly does much better due to the much larger screen. One of the things if web browsing. The iPad web browsing experience is is single handedly the main reason why people should prefer using the iPad over computers, smartphones, netbooks or such. However, regardless of an unbelievable experience, the iPad Safari lacks Flash, which has an alternative besides the HTML5. That big alternative to flash is obviously the amazing App Store. The iPad can run almost all of the iPhone Apps, and many that are made specifically for itself. The reason why I said Apps can be replace Flash is because rather than using HTML5 to remove flash content from their websites just for iPad users, developers can simply make a stand-alone App for the iPad. The iPad app store has free apps like Netflix, ABC Player and soon Hulu for videos, not to mention Youtube. The iPad has an amazing video player that plays in HD. You can also get content from the itunes store for movies and music.
Apple has done a nice job with impleting the App Store with this device, but that has a bad side. Unlike netbooks, the iPad is locked in to downloading Apps only from the App store. This is another functionality that separates it from computers. It does have iWork apps that are priced at $9.99 each, and it is much more convenient with the keyboard accessory. The Apps that are available for the iPad are very pricey. Most of the them are priced at $9.99. Like you can torrent on computers, you can jailbreak on the iPad and get many Apps for free. It is just a matter of more risk.
A $9.99 is a pretty good price point when it comes to games however. While DS and PSP games start at about $30 to $40, the iPad is by far the cheapest choice for gaming. I also has a much larger game library due to the iPhone games.
Another thing the iPad does does well is email. It is nice too look at the email in a huge screen. You can switch between mails from the list on the sidebar, unlike the iPhone.
An addition they added to the iPad that is not available in the iPhone is the ibook store (coming to iPhone this summer). This makes an iPad a very good eBook reader that can compete with Amazon’s Kindle 2. The iPad seems to have a much flashy reader unlike the Kindle. It has eye candy effects like flipping an actual page, viewing two pages at once, a touch screen implementation, and much more. Kindle, however, has a slight advantage because its E ink display puts no strain on the eyes. The Kindle store also has more content, but the iPad has a kindle app that has all those content so it cancels out. To be honest, I would much rather prefer the iPad as my eBook reader over the Kindle. This could certainly be a good reason for buying an iPad, and is something that computers and smart phones cannot do so well.
Web browsing, emails, videos, games, and eBooks are the key reasons one should buy the iPad. On the contrary, there are plenty of other good reasons (that I haven’t mentioned before) for you to wait for the next-gen iPad. The lack of camera is very good reason to hate Apple since they haven’t even added it in the iTouch. Who wouldn’t want to have a video chat with someone else on something as portable as the iPad? Even netbooks come with a webcam, which is standard. While you can change you home screen wallpaper, the iPad does not get other features of the iPhone OS 4 until Fall, even later than when it comes to the iPhone (Summer). This means you cannot be multitasking like you can on a netbook or laptop. This also means there won’t be any good way to organize a bunch of icons that take up the whole iPad screen using Folders. Navigation on the iPad is terrible since flipping pages only suits the iPhone. Also, the icons are the only thing on the screen and there are lots of spaces between them. There is a whole empty page on the boot screen. Apple needs to put something there like notifications or weather like in the dashboard. While the bigger screen helps the iPad do some things better than the iPhone, but it clearly needs to do a lot more. Along with a lack of customization options, having no USB ports is a huge inconvenience. If I am on-the-go, and I need to put some files from my flash drive to the iPad, I cannot do that. Does this mean I will always need to have a Macbook with me in order to have the same netbook functionality on the iPad?
The biggest shortcoming of the iPad is that Apple does not have a specific market for it. Why do I need it? I can live perfectly with my macbook and my iPhone. Certainly, these questions will be answered over the next few years as we have to give the market some time to grow. In my opinion, the 2nd-gen iPad might be what should have been the 1st-gen iPad. Still, the iPad has indirectly created a revolution by creating a new category of devices and raised the competition. Maybe for the first time we will see other devices exceeding an Apple product.
The iPad Wi-Fi models start at $500 for the 16 GB, $600 for the 32GB, and $700 for the 64GB. The iPad is more expensive than a netbook, and it is around the same price line for laptops and desktops. Whether you need this device depends on you. It definitely does not replace a laptop, but if you need a good web-browsing and email device that has other features, it is perfect for you.