iDisappointed in the iPad

By Mike on 8:56 pm

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It is the most important thing Steve Jobs has ever worked on. It was going to be a game changer. It would change the way we work and consume media. The thing that was touted to finally kill paper books and newspapers and become the ultimate information, web and multimedia convergence device. And what did we get? A giant iPod Touch.

After months of rumours and priming us up, the tech crowed was left a bit mystified with the Apple tablet, dubbed the iPad. Feminine hygiene jokes aside, nobody in really knows what to make of it. The iPad is basically what I said it is, a giant iPod Touch expanded with a 9.7'' screen with a puzzling resolution of 1024x768. Therefore it can't play back HD video. Oddly the screen doesn't look to be in a 4:3 aspect ratio yet its using a 4:3 resolution. Stretching pixels is never a good idea.

So what does Apple's "revolutionary device" do. Well, exactly the same thing your iPod Touch can, literally. You can surf the web, look at your calendar, listen to music, watch movies, view photos, check email, and look at Google Maps. It runs on iPhone OS 3.1 and still does not support Adobe Flash. It uses the same touch keyboard, lacks any sort of office productivity apps, doesn't include iChat, and has no iSight camera. It can run current iPhone apps but will presumably have its own to take advantage of the higher res screen.

It's also worth noting that it has the same storage capacity as the iTouch. 16gb to 64gb. It has no slot for external storage and no USB ports save for an external accessory that uses a proprietary connection. Powering the devices is a slightly faster ARM based processor developed in house by Apple, and runs at 1ghz. Apple claims a 10 hour battery life with it. It also comes in a 3G enabled model or one with just Wifi alone. The iPad 16gb Wifi starts at $499, while the 64gb 3G version will go for a whopping $829. Expensive even by Apple's standards.

So what do I think about this device? It's dumb, simply put. As one commenter on Anandtech's forums put it, the iPad is a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

Maybe I was expecting too much from this thing. Despite all the information to the contrary, I honestly thought this would be Apple's answer to the netbooks. A tablet that would be able to run full OS X with the same apps, be as thin as a Macbook Air and also be as functional. Imagine a device that would allow me to edit my videos and photos in the field with the flick of a finger. Now that would be revolutionary! The iPad isn't. It's just another PDA. Those things should have stayed dead and buried.

Being an Apple product, I'm sure this will be a success. However, I just can't see it as being the runaway success that Jobs thinks it will be. Nobody in their right mind is going to buy a neutered tablet, and nobody is going to buy a super sized iPhone. Tablet computers have just never been popular. If Apple really wants to revolutionize the way we consume media, they're going to have to give us something better than just a bigger screen.

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