The Basics

I’ll say that the iPad isn’t the sort of revolutionary device it was hyped to be. It’s impossible to meet the expectations that were thrust upon the device. Some of that is Apple’s own fault. By being so secretive, the world tends to assume that anything is possible - especially from a company that not too long ago revolutionized the smartphone market. While the iPhone was nicknamed the Jesus Phone, I’m not sure the same label fits the iPad. In part because it is a brand new device for a brand new market segment, not an improved version of an existing product.

In fact, Apple doesn’t have as good of a track record in this department. Far more often we see Apple perfecting a particular device rather than diving head first into a new market segment. That’s not to say it won’t be successful. There’s always the iPod to look back on.

The basics are as follows. The iPad runs the iPhone OS, in this case 3.2. Presumably when the iPhone OS gets updated, so will the iPad OS. The UI is obviously tailored to the larger screen, which measures 9.7” diagonally.


The iPad (WiFi) dimensions. Amazon's Kindle 2 measures in at 8" x 5.3" x 0.36"

The interface is strictly touch. You have four physical buttons: power/sleep switch, mute button, volume up/down and an iPhone-style home button. There’s no correct orientation, the OS uses an accelerometer to figure out how you’re holding it and orients the UI accordingly.

Apple says that nearly 100% of the applications for the iPhone in the App Store will run on the iPad. There are some new applications that Apple is shipping with the device. The entire iWork suite has been ported to the iPad giving you a way to create/view/edit Pages/Word documents, Numbers/Excel spreadsheets and Keynote/Powerpoint presentations.

There’s an email app, a browser, calendar, maps, iPod and all of the basic apps you’d expect. WiFi (802.11n) is supported on all devices while an extra $130 will get you an unlocked 3G version with a microSIM slot. AT&T is the carrier of choice with two dataplan options: $14.99 a month for 250MB of downloads, or unlimited for $29.99. WiFi access at AT&T hotspots is free and there’s no contract required, this is all month to month.

Storage is not expandable and comes in the way of flash. The entry level model comes with 16GB of presumably MLC NAND flash and you can get up to 64GB. The pricing structure is below:

Apple iPad 16GB 32GB 64GB
WiFi $499 $599 $699
3G $629 $729 $829

 

Availability for the non-3G models is 60 days and 90 days for the 3G enabled devices.


The 3G version of the iPad has a microSIM card slot

From Apple’s demonstrations and the video that’s now live on the site, it appears that the iPad is a great couch surfing device. It looks like a giant iPhone/iPod Touch and appears to be just as snappy. The same can be said for reading and responding to emails. If it works the way Apple portrays it, the iPad appears to be a great device for casually browsing the web, email and watching videos.

Apple is also trying to capitalize on the eBook market by giving the iPad access to Apple’s own eBook store. While I doubt it can pull Kindles away from die hard users, it may open the segment up to more users than Amazon could.

The real question is whether or not the device will function as a productivity device as well.

Index Will it Work...Literally
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  • piroroadkill - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Seemed plausible, but wikipedia seems to cite it as being Cortex A9-MPCore Reply
  • cjs150 - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Movies: Sadly for apple my home system runs windows. I am not going to transcode movies that set up for windows media centre just to play on the iPAD - I did this once for the PSP and it is a pain.

    Also only 720p is pathetic.

    EBooks: big plus point will be format but will want to see DRM rules first. However all ebook readers fail for me - I am a very quick reader, ebook readers like Ipad only display a single page at a time and currently the refresh rate on page turnover makes reading a very poor substitute for a real book.

    itunes - do not use, storage is dirt cheap and I only use lossless formats - sounds better as well.

    Storage: needs an SSD.

    Output - no HDMI port

    So far the only things this will be any use for are

    1. reading the newspaper on my morning commute - as it is a better size - but even there how do I do the sudoku and crossworld puzzles in the paper

    2. keeping kids quiet on long journeys by watching movies - but the PSP does that and is a lot cheaper

    Not impressed. Suggested second gen improvements: HDMI port, SSD capability, expand the formats supported, speed up the processor so that page turnover for Ebooks is instant, 1080p display and that is just off the top of my head
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    No mention of the lacking flash support? And they call it a surfpad? Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Because there is NOTHING compelling about iPad, the oversized ipod touch.

    It is so amazingly limited, and so expensive for what you can do, that it literally seems like apple is creating a parody product that is a sure fire way to tell if someone is an absolute dick
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Maybe I should build out on that comment:

    No multitasking
    No flash/java (Apple™ Full Internet Experience®)
    No full OS X, and thusly, no freedom to decide what you want on it, apple decides
    Capacative touchscreen (creating the retarded bezel, and removing all use as a sketching tool, which mystifies me, surely Apple goes for creative types, and a sketching tablet would be attractive, ooh, but PINCH TO ZOOM)
    No SD port, or indeed, memory expansion of any kind (640k is enough, right)
    No replacable battery (Apple's perfect creation would never run out and need charging when you need it most, surely!)
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    If only I could edit. That said, it will sell in the millions and be heralded as amazing, of course, proving once again, you really can sell a turd. A REALLY polished and shiny turd Reply
  • charles Monneron - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    One thing the iPad could excel with is remote desktop display. Jaadu VNC on the iPhone already provides a very decent experience on the iPhone (I can even use the "Spaces" feature on OS X on an iPhone 3G with 3G connection), but the use is ultimately crippled by the small size of the screen, especially when one needs to display a keyboard. With an IPad, such app would really shine.
    With virtualized machine outputing as VNC servers, it could be a cost effective for corporates compared to laptops, with much better data security (with VPN or SSH tunelling, that IPhone OS offers).

    Of course, the same can be said for netbooks, but, ironically, they become too powerful for this usage !
    As far as I am concerned, as I always have wireless internet access, I see no point at having a laptop anymore. An IPad, possibly with the keyboard accessory, and a desktop/server at home is sufficient for me.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    A netbook too powerful?

    As a consumer do you often think "damn, this is too powerful for my needs, I've just been waiting all this time for a less powerful, more restricted, and more expensive product to come along!"
    Reply
  • charles Monneron - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Powerful as in too hot on my lap. The superfluous software layers of a full fledged Windows XP (or worse, windows 7) end up eating cpu power and shorten battery life. When I play a video on my iphone, it stays cool. Read the introduction to the article again ! Reply
  • zonkie - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    What Apple is doing with the iPad is pretty smart.
    The iPad isn't really intended to be revolutionary as a computing device. It will be just good enough at enough things that you will justify it's purchase. It's meant to find more ways to sell you Apple stuff. It's not going too be great at anything except giving you the preceived need to buy loads of small ticket items from Apple.
    You can read a book on it so you're going to try that out. Money for Apple. You're going to buy that stupid beer drinking app a 2nd time. Money for Apple. You're going to buy apps and music and data plans and it all has to be from Apple.

    People buy a netbook and get all the functions the iPad has and mostly for free. Apple is smart because they are finding magical ways to seperate you from your cash under the guise of convenience.
    Reply

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