Real Impressions Of Apple's New iPad…



Really! That’s about all I can muster. It’s really just a very large iPod touch with 3G and “assisted GPS” (what exactly is “assisted”?). It’s probably pretty fast. However, it’s hard to tell with a processor called A4. What exactly is an A4? What does it compare to?

The iLifeiLife suite of applications that will run on it sound pretty cool. Plus, $30 for the suite is way better than $80.

If I were getting a computer for my parents now, I would probably get them this iPad. It will be way easier to maintain since they would have a much harder time messing it up than the Mac Mini they have now. It would be way faster than the Mac Mini. My mother only does email and web surfing so she would be fine with it. My father plays games so would probably find most the casual games on it perfect for him.

As a “netbook” it’s severely lacking. No USB port or any expansion capabilities at all. No CD/DVD drive. No physical keyboard, but I suspect the on screen keyboard is probably just fine. The biggest problem, the AppStore and Apple’s censorship/review policy. Programs for the iPad will be vetted just like for the iPhone/iPod touch. This means that it’s not, I repeat, NOT a laptop/netbook at all. It’s a very large iPod touch!

That said, if I were getting a portable computing device (notebook, netbook, etc…), I would seriously be looking at an iPad. It’s really lite at 1.5lbs yet still pretty large for screen space. 10 hour battery life is pretty nice, but lack of expansion and the AppPrison AppStore makes it a tough option to fully decide on.

Also, as an ebook reader, I would have to say that Amazon, Sony and Barnes & Noble, don’t have a lot to worry about. The reason e-ink was invented was to make a display that was easy on a readers eyes. Back-lit screens, no matter how they are back-lit, are not easy on a readers eyes. Otherwise, reading books with notebook computers would be way more popular. That said, the fact that the iPad can do so much more than just be an ebook reader, that Amazon, Sony and Barnes and Noble probably should worry a bit.

So, all that said, will I be running out to buy one when they are available? Even if I had the money to get one? Probably not. I’ll play with someone else’s iPad and if some generous relative gives me one for Christmas, I certainly won’t return it. However, I’m not all that excited about it.

I also, don’t see this being the “tablet computer” that will attract current tablet computer users. I’m thinking of doctors here. I could be wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like a device that they would want to switch to. Even if all the software that they currently use were available.

So, good luck Apple. I hope you do well with it. I just don’t see this being the iPod/iPhone device you are hoping it will be.

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  1. The A4 is 1GHz.

    Did you mean iWork? The iWork suite will be $9.99 per component. There’s been no iLife announcement yet, has there?

    There are adaptors to allow for USB connectivity and there is an upcoming keyboard with a docking station. There’s also an adaptor for SD cards. Once you get all the adaptors on this thing, it’s not going to be sleek or sexy. It’s going to look like a grandpa in the hospital with tubes galore.

    As a “netbook” competitor, it’s biggest downfall is the lack of multi-tasking. Seriously, Apple? I can’t write an email while streaming Pandora? I can’t look at a web page while writing an email? Seriously? This alone will keep me from buying one. Of course, once the jailbreak community gets busy with it, it’ll probably be much more enticing.

    The lack of 16:9 movie playback is terrible. I hate that.

    I’m definitely waiting for the second generation.

  2. I know it’s 1Ghz, but what does that mean? How does it compare to a MacBook with a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo? That’s what I meant by: How fast is it really?

    Yep, I meant iWork.

    The USB adapter is only going to be for cameras, it’s not a general purpose USB port. For instance, I can’t plug in an external HDD and access it. The SD adapter is clearly for pictures too. I’ve seen all the accessories that were announced too. The keyboard dock looks a little weird and only lets you work with the device in one orientation. A bluetooth keyboard would be better to let you orient the device in what ever way you want and still type with a physical keyboard.

    Yep, the lack of multi-tasking is totally ridiculous. If the thing has 10 hours of battery life, why not let the user decide if they want to burn some of that to run a couple of apps at the same time. Of course, the big problem with multi-tasking is the lack of a way of seeing both apps at the same time. No windowing in the OS. You would have to slide the screen from one “space” to another. Think Spaces with one app per space. That might work, but it would be cumbersome and not really all that elegant.

    The iPad can play 16:9 movies, you just won’t see it very large. I calculated it out to 1024x~428 pixels. I saw a comparison of HD ratios and the iPad screen. Pretty much half the screen was black in the highest ratio.

    I’m not sure a second generation will improve on the things that I would like to see the most. A real OS X not an iPhone OS, some expansion capabilities. Mind you, a true tablet computer/netbook would be more expensive, but it would also be better for the business community.

    Also, something that bugs me is the lack of internal stereo sound. They had the to do something truly kick-ass. Have 4 speakers one on each side of the device. Depending on the orientation, the correct speakers would output the correct channels (left/right). Instead, they skimp and put a single speaker in it. Man, that was a huge cop out.

  3. According to what I’ve been reading, it’s “fast fast”. I’m not sure what that equates to as far as numbers go, but everyone who had a hands-on with it yesterday seemed impressed with the speed.

    It’s my understanding that you can use bluetooth keyboards.

    As a fledgling photographer, I’m definitely curious about the USB stuff. I’d love to see someone write an app that would allow me to connect my camera and control it from the iPad. Or even use the iPad in place of SD cards. I don’t see Photoshop or Lightroom appearing on the iPad anytime soon though.

    And yeah, I was talking about true 16:9 support. In this day and age, it seems odd not to fully support it.

    As I’ve said all along, I’m not the target demographic for a tablet computer. Gruber has an article (link below) using the analogy of standard and automatic automobiles, and I think it’s a very good one. When it comes to computers, I’m definitely a “standard” kind of person. I need more power, more details and more control than (1) the average person and (2) a tablet is likely to ever offer (outside of jailbreaking it). This is not to say that I won’t someday purchase one, it’s just not something high on my list of priorities.

    After giving it some thought, I’m neither impressed nor unimpressed. I want to get my hands on one and take it for a test drive first. For the average person, it’s probably going to be a great alternative. For someone who doesn’t need the nuts and bolts, it’ll be an awesome alternative to having a computer desk, huge monitor, etc., taking up a corner of the living room. I can see it being a huge hit. Time will tell if it becomes as ubiquitous as the iPod and iPhone.

    If it could multitask, I’d probably buy one. It’d be nice to have for trips where my computer use is going to be minimal. For now, I’ll just keep lugging my laptop.

    It’s a terrible name though. Seriously. I really hope Fujitsu wins on their trademark claim and (hopefully) Apple is forced to rename the device. Unfortunately, they’ll probably just license it or outright buy it. What a terrible, horrible name.

    Gruber link:

  4. The more I think about it, the more my perception and opinions evolve. I’ve gone from ‘WTF’ to ‘marginally unimpressed’ to ‘hold off on forming an opinion’ to ‘this is probably going to change everything as we currently know it’ in the space of less than 3 days. And my thoughts are still evolving.

    Steven Frank puts into writing many of my current thoughts and feelings (link follows) as well as many things I hadn’t considered. It’s probably one the best articles I’ve read to date and I find it difficult to disagree with just about anything in it.


  5. It’s a great family room device, meaning that if something comes up on television or in a conversation that you want to look up, you can do so easily and comfortably (on the eyes that is).

    There is a problem though. It’s not a computer. Meaning, it needs to be sync’ed with a desktop computer. Well, let me rephrase that. It should be sync’ed with a desktop computer. Sure, you could download all the content you want for it via WiFi/3G, but you had better back it up and to do that, you need a desktop computer. (Apple really needs to allow users to sync via WiFi with the iPad.) I wonder if it will be possible to create an application that would allow a user to backup their iPad to a remote server like Carbonite or Mozy? That would be spectacular. Image, before you go to bed, just launch the backup application and plug it into the dock/recharging cable. By the next morning, you device is safely backed up to an offsite server and you are ready for a new day. That would make the iPad a perfect device for the non-computer savvy folks out there.

    If Apple could get the price down to about $350 for a WiFi only iPad, I could see it being the ultimate netbook/family room appliance. As it was mentioned, no need for bulky desktop computers/monitors in the family room, just the iPad and your set. A typical family could do everything that they might need on it. Plus, if they got the 3G version, they wouldn’t even need to get high-speed Internet service! That would be a HUGE cost savings.

    Still, I don’t see Apple allowing Carbonite or Mozy to create an app that would allow the app to access the device for backup purposes. So that dream will probably never come to pass. However, Apple really needs to allow the device to be sync’ed remotely. I wouldn’t want to have to bring the iPad to my computer every night to back it up and recharge it. I would prefer to do that in the same family room without the need to have that bulky computer there.

    As I said, I would love it if someone “gifted” me an iPad, but even if I had the money, I don’t see myself getting one. At least not until my MacBook dies and I need some kind of replacement. I haven’t been using the MacBook for a media center computer for quite some time now. Netflix on my PS3/TiVo has been doing a fine job of that. I do have a couple of movies on the MacBook that I don’t have anywhere else, so it can’t just go away.

  6. I’ve been thinking about the backup situation since Wednesday. Outside of syncing with iTunes (which requires a “real” computer), it’s the big missing piece (or at least one of many, depending on your POV). The Mozy/Carbonite app is a good idea, but like you, I don’t see it happening. I think it’s more likely that Apple will eventually add Time Capsule awareness to the iPad. I was a little surprised that it wasn’t included at the outset. That would’ve been a huge “OMG moment” and would’ve made for a good “one more thing”.

  7. The Time Capsule thing would also need a computer for the network. However, I suppose you could have a WiFi router connected to a cable/DSL modem, then connect the Time Capsule to that. Seems like a waste of high-speed Internet just to do a backup of the iPad.

    Actually, Apple needs to add the ability to backup the iPad to MobileMe. That would allow them to keep the software internal so that they could have an app that accessed the entire iPad and it would also get them a yearly income for the MobileMe service. They would need to have a MobileMe plan that was “just for the iPad” that would cost less than the $99 a year it is now since it would be for just the purpose of backing up the iPad.

    Hell, they could even have the software be multi-tasking like Mail/Calendar/etc… is now. So any time you make a change to the iPad, the backup happens almost immediately. No need to sync at all. “It just works!” :)

  8. MobileMe would be a good solution, assuming that Apple tests the hell out of it. I know of too many people who relied on .mac for their backup solution only to discover that it’s broken.

    Time Capsule is also a wireless access point, so for those who don’t want the 3G version of the iPad, it’d just be a matter of plugging Time Capsule into the cable modem (or whatever). You wouldn’t need a computer.

  9. I didn’t know that about Time Capsule. That would be cool.

    I also didn’t know MobileMe had a backup solution. I know that there was a backup program with it, but I thought it just backed up to a selected hard drive.

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