The Media Guru

Feb 1, 2010



The fabled Apple tablet is here - the iPad.

The Name


The iPad name was quite disappointing to some people, evoking images of a cheap iPod knock-off & even sanitary towels!


The Look


Typical Apple design - Aluminium back, glass front, with rounded edges. With the very thick bevel & the single button, the iPad looks more like an over-sized iPod Touch. For once, function has triumphed over form - all that bevel will be useful while holding the tablet to prevent your thumb from touching the screen. Even for that purpose, I find the bevel to be too wide.
During the demo of EA's Need for Speed, the game controls were on-screen. Making the bevel touch-sensitive would allow it to double up as game controls, pause/play buttons, etc.


The Specs 
- 9.7-inch LCD IPS multitouch touchscreen
- Apple A4 1Ghz processor
- Wifi a/b/g/n + Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
- Home button + volume rocker switch + mute + sleep/wake button
- 3.5mm jack + 30-pin dock port
- microphone + speakers
- 10h battery rated 25Wh.
- on 3G models - 3G UMTS/HSDPA (micro SIM slot) + assisted GPS 
- 16GB/32GB/64GB internal storage

The 1Ghz A4 SoC is the result of Apple's acquisition of Semi PA. It's suspected to be Cortex A8/A9 processor with PowerVR graphics. So there's no chance of running Windows 7 on this unless Windows starts supporting ARM.




The iPad runs iPhone OS 3.2 & the interface is consistent with the iPhone (in fact too consistent). The Home page is exactly like on the iPhone, with similar-sized icons, with greater "white" space. No widgets, no dock.


iTunes, Safari & Maps apps are all higher-resolution versions with almost the same layout & controls.


The Photos app has been revamped to take advantage of the bigger screen with a timeline slideshow & other effects.


iBooks – one of the main functions of the iPad is that of an ebook reader with its iBookStore (US-only).


The iWork suite has been ported to the iPad, not exactly as powerful as its desktop counterparts.


Fortunately, these built-in apps will pale in comparison to what developers will come up given the more pixels to fill up - board games, Paint-apps, Twitter clients, etc.


The problems
- Storage vs Specs vs Price


Don't be fooled by the base price. You'll want to transfer your entire music library, photos, 720p movies (say 3GB each), your iPhone apps & the iPad apps/games running at full 1024x768 resolution. & as we all know, it doesn't even have a microSD slot. Conclusion - 16GB will never be enough. That leaves us with the 32GB/64GB models which are priced at $600 & $700. Not to mention +$130 3G versions compatible with only Micro-SIM, not available anywhere in the world. & when you consider the specs, it's no longer that cheap.

- No multitasking, no front camera


The iPad runs OS 3.2 beta. It's rumoured that OS 4.0 will bring in multitasking & VOIP. If the iPad doesn't have multitasking, it'll totally suck & all that screen estate will go to waste. Imagine running several iPhone apps at the same time on the same screen.
Engadget claims to have evidence of a front camera in the next version of the iPad (launch version?). Such a camera would have been useful for video conferencing. Notice also the lack of a rear camera.

- No flash


Apple claims Safari to have the ultimate browsing experience, yet it doesn't support Flash & probably never will since they are betting on HTML5. However Flash isn't all about streaming CPU-intensive videos. Website navigation, slideshows, upload boxes, font rendering, audio players all use Flash.

- No USB port
For me that's the biggest flaw of the iPad - no USB port, not even a microUSB one. Digital cameras, removable drives, portable hard drives, etc. can't be connected directly. Yes, Apple provides a USB dock connector, but it will never be the same thing as a stand-alone USB port with no restrictions.

- No stylus, no handwriting recognition, no note-taking


Until OS 4.0 is out, there's little indication that the iPad will support handwriting recognition. Slate-type devices are popular because they are used as traditional slates with styluses for easy note-taking. The lack of a proper note-taking app, like OneNote, in the iPad, further strengthens the case that Apple have neglected the student market.
I believe the actual difficulty is the capacitive touchscreen which is nowhere as precise as resistive touchscreens.

- 3rd party app restrictions
Can you install another browser or media player on your iPhone? With the iPad, that list extends to non-DRMed ePub ebook readers & maybe Office-type apps. While this was still grudgingly acceptable with the iPhone, it's outright unfair on the iPad.
Some say that the iPad is the future of computing... but I shudder at the thought of a future consisting of various closed platforms tightly controlled by totalitarian companies.




The tablet PC was pioneered by @BillGates in 2001. At that time the technology available (slow processors, old LCD screens, short battery life) was just ill-suited for portable devices.
2010 promises to be a breakthrough year for tablets, not only the iPad, but also the $200 Google Chrome OS tablet & slate PCs from various manufacturers. While most of the tablets so far focused on delivering a desktop experience, the iPad is essentially a mobile device running on a mobile OS.
Indeed, the iPad is not a tablet PC. It runs an OS with a simple touch UI on a non-x86 mobile chip, it doesn't have USB ports, no expansion card slots, no front/rear camera, no video output, doesn't support Flash, has 3rd party app restrictions & doesn't multitask. Cheaper netbooks are more capable than the iPad.
So what actually is the iPad? A larger iPhone that combines an Internet tablet, a large-screen (board) gaming device, a digital photo frame on steroids, a 4:3 portable media player, & a 10h ebook reader.
Yet, despite all those flaws it will still sell because the mantra of a consumerist society is that all that shines is indeed gold.
The iPad 1.0 is not meant for geeks but for the masses who are used to easy interfaces & more interested into entertainment consumption than doing actual work - the everyday Joe.

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Manju said...

yea, there's still the market of IRetards who will still buy it.

Selective Apathy... said...

There's also the additional cash for accesories you will probably need:
$29 - Camera connection kit. That has a card reader and a USB port. I would like to see if you are able to hook up anything else via this USB port.
$69 - Dock with keyboard. This may be useful.
$39 - Case. Protect all the cash you just wasted at least.

Yashvin said...

Its clearly an iFail, I am sorry for you @sjdvda :P

nav said...

The lack of multi-tasking did it for me. Apple are trying to exploit the market with their brand; don't think too many people will take he bait this time.
No camera, no usb, no flash, no good!

Yadhav Deerpaul said...

Nice review. Perfect title to describe the iPad would be simply 'Much Ado About Nothing' in my opinion! Expected something ... Well much better and exciting ... But here comes the iPad ... Personally, I don't like the iPad because I won't be able to read my eBooks on the bus or other places and it's just like an iPhone to me! If it was something like a real tablet then I wouldn't mind even if it would be really large! :P

sleepoholic said...

it could have been so much better...its just a bigger ipod and the name sucks. Apple should have at least included a memory card slot. i dont think its gonna be a success unless apple makes an effort.

P.T said...

It is pretty to look at but that's it!! Disappointing...I want a Kindle...:(

Anonymous said...

For a company of Apple's prestige, it's absolutely disastrous. It doesn't even look great!

How does the e-reader thing work btw? Does the screen change or does it stay that bright? If the screen doesn't change, then the Kindle is miles and miles ahead with its awesome screen.

You have to be absolutely stupid to spend $499 on this!

Bogcess said...

I think the apple iPad has a lot to offer in the near future. Who knows, maybe apple do a major reworking after the merciless criticisms.

Check out my post re: Apple iPad

hanum said...

i like this gadget, many high tech features offering. Good...

Nishal said...

No front camera,USB port etc means very poor concept from Apple !

Anonymous said...

wow so many negative comments about how people wont buy it, how its not good and it does not have this or that.

I think some of you should re look at who is making billions of dollars and the rest of us who are not.

The ipad is amazing. It sold 300,000 units on its first day. And about 7.5 million to date.

Most of the people commenting here wont ever see that in rupees, yet you are so quick to criticize the product.

Really!!! get a life and instead of being so negative, try and do something with your lives.

Just because you cannot see a use for it, does not mean its useless.

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