If you follow Apple, or tech news in general, you will know that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad this week in San Francisco.
His goal/dream for the iPad is that it will bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops. But does the iPad fill this gap? Not really. But we’ll get to that in just a moment. The iPad at first glance looks like a scaled up version of the iPhone. And in some ways it is. First let’s take a look at the dimensions.
The iPad is half an inch thick, which is why many people began referring to it as iSlate. The IPS display is a rather respectable 9.7 inches. In comparison, the iPhone has a 3.5 inch display. The whole devices weighs 1.5 pounds.
According to Steve Jobs, the iPad has a battery life of 10 hours, and can stay in stand-by for one month.
Hardware specs are also pretty decent. The processor is a 1 GHz Apple A4, which should provide more speed than it does. As it stands, the iPad is not capable of multitasking. What does that mean? Well, if you’re reading this, you probably have your browser open. If you checked your inbox, your email client may be open. Then there is whatever other programs you normally use on your computer. With the iPad you can only use one application at a time. Disappointing, isn’t it?
I really don’t see this as a limitation of the hardware. Either the OS can’t handle the demands, or won’t. In either case this is something that Apple will have to fix in a future release.
As with most of the other hardware, Apple makes the iPad come in multiple different flavors, these range from the 16GB to the 64GB versions, with the price increasing for each one. The 16GB version costs $499, with the 32GB version jumping to $599. If you want the big version with 64GB storage space, you will be looking to spend $699.
The iPad connects over WiFi 802.11n, although some versions come with 3G. The data plans for the device start at $14.99 a month for 250MB of transfer, while the unlimited plan costs the double, $29.99, and you get free access to AT&T hot spots. Unlike the iPhone, there aren’t any contacts you get locked into. Instead it runs on the pre-paid model, which is activated directly through the device.
Some of the other features the iPad comes with are an accelerometer, compass, microphone, speaker, and a 30-pin connect. If you think you’re going to get a camera too, think again. The iPad does not come with a camera. This is rather disappointing, since including one with the device would make sense.
That about sums up the feature list. Does it sound like something you will need to have?
For me there are several issues with the iPad in its current state.
First, it doesn’t offer multitasking, which is a fundamental part of using a computer. If this isn’t changed, it isn’t anything more than a glorified iPhone with a lame name. This is the biggest problem for me with the device. Maybe this won’t bother most of the users, but for anyone that wants to do more than browse the Internet, read some email, and listen to music (not at the same time) this isn’t a viable solution.
Second, the lack of a camera. Apple’s solution for this was two huge adapters that could/should have been built into the device in the first place. Neither of them actually gives the device “real” camera functionality, instead they are only a way to import photos. Here is what Apple has to say about them:
The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card.
My verdict, if you’re looking for something bigger than your iPhone, and only care about browsing the Internet, reading your email, and other simple functions then this might be for you. I feel that Apple is trying to bank on the trendiness of their products rather than truly bridge the current gap between smartphones and laptops. If the iPad is their solution, we still have a long way to go.