Apple's iPad - The AnandTech Reviewby Anand Lal Shimpi, Brian Klug & Vivek Gowri on April 7, 2010 9:39 PM EST
- Posted in
Apple drew a line in the sand with the iPad. It set expectations for performance, price point, usability, ergonomics, display and quality of apps. It's rare that Apple does this. Normally Apple capitalizes on the mistakes of those who came before it by using failure as a blueprint for success. The fact that Apple is taking a different route with the iPad does say something about where Apple views this business going. As the computing market grows and incorporates new users, the need for simpler as well as more powerful/complex compute devices grows. Apple appears to be going after the former early on. Perhaps it wants the iPad to be to the tablet, what the Eee PC was to the netbook.
As a piece of hardware, the iPad generally does its job well. We could always use more processing power, which is made more evident by the larger screen and thus higher user demands on the system (Intel did have a point with restricting Atom's usage to smaller screen devices only). The lack of any integrated camera is bothersome but I doubt at this point we'd have a great video chat application to use given the current state of the iPad app union.
The nickel and diming on accessories is annoying, especially given that you'll probably need at least one of them. Not to mention that you should be prepared to spend at least 10 - 20% extra on apps as soon as you get the device. Apple did a good job with the $499 entry level price point, but the extras and any additional flash memory you might want come at extortionist prices. I don't expect Apple to really do anything about it given there's no competition in this segment right now.
It's an issue because the iPad can't currently replace any existing device you own. It lacks the voice features of a smartphone, and it lacks the flexibility/performance/ergonomics of a notebook. This is a 2nd, 3rd or 4th computer, and as such the expenditure is in addition to your existing computer budget.
Although it doesn't replace any of your existing devices, there are some things the iPad does much better than anything you might own today. Web browsing, photo viewing, reading email, any passive usage scenarios where you're primarily clicking on things and getting feedback, the iPad excels at. You do lose Flash support so if that's an issue to you stop now. But personally, I don't find the lack of Flash a problem assuming that companies like Hulu are working on HTML5 versions of their web portals.
I do like the idea of the away-from-the-PC (or Mac) computing the iPad offers. It's a different type of device; one that's more comfortable to just read websites on, or lightly peruse email with.
I can see myself leaving the notebook at home and taking the iPad on some short trips, both business and personal, as long as I don't need to do any photo editing or publishing from the road. For my purposes, I'm better served by the forthcoming 3G model. But I'd still need my desktop, and I'd still need my notebook for when I needed to get actual work done on the go. This goes back to my earlier point though, the iPad is a luxury, a convenience, not a necessity. It augments my current digital lifestyle and I'd argue that it improves it, but it doesn't replace anything in it.
That could quickly change depending on the types of apps we see crop up for the device. Photographers are already very interested in the device, but you'd win their hearts if you could make the iPad a productivity tool. Home automation is just begging to be enabled via the iPad. Companies like Crestron and AMX supply ridiculously poor touch screen interfaces to their very expensive home automation installations. The iPad would be the perfect HA controller. It's a great information consumption device today, and with the right developers working on it (many of which are) it could be a great productivity device tomorrow.
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dagamer34 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - linkAnyone who looks at the raw costs of materials and bases decisions of a product being "overpriced" has never taken Business 101.
I'll limit myself to 4 things which that "50-60%" pays for:
1) Running Apple stores and employees
2) Running Apple itself in Cupertino (and worldwide) - employees, board, executives, etc.
3) Apple product support for the first year (phone support, in-person support, etc.)
4) Warranties (i.e. - your iPad breaks in the first year and you complain they should fix it on their dime)
NEVER assume a company gets a "huge" profit when only looking at BOM. That's just idiotic. And it's almost impossible to know how much the points I listed above factor into a product's cost in any great detail without making huge assumptions or pure guesswork.
manicfreak - Friday, April 9, 2010 - linkDoesn't change the fact the profit gained from the iPad is higher than the iPod from the last few years.
GTaudiophile - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkThat is indeed one of the best episodes of TOP GEAR ever.
And then at the end, they all drive home to Sigur Ros playing in the background.
semo - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link"There's also an optional VGA output, but I won't point out what issues I have with that."
Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkI was poking fun at it, I thought it was obvious what my issues with a VGA dongle would be. Especially given that Apple's own products haven't supported VGA in years, and the input is definitely not common on modern HDTVs.
It looks like the iPad is missing a TMDS as we don't get any options for digital out (HDMI, DVI, DP). I'll clarify in the article :)
PhilipHa - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkYou may be interested in
contains some interesting performance comparisons between x86 and ARM (but not IPAD)
pervisanathema - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkYou would be much wiser to wait for the inevitable widescreen version with a camera and faster CPU. I guarantee Apple has one in the works and they are simply waiting to screw the early adopters. The 4:3 aspect ratio was obviously picked solely so they would have a compelling reason to force people to buy the next revision.
dagamer34 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - linkOR 4:3 works better with books and it's the same ratio as the iPhone?
Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkYou pick a heck of a time to start complaining about apple's app pricing. Of course they are going to charge an arm and a leg for apps. That's what apple does. That's ALL apple does. This device, all told, requires an over $1500 investment for 2 years.
10 Apps $120
2 years of service $720
Other accessories $50
It is a ripoff of epic proportions. It's no faster than a penium III notebook I can buy on ebay for $68. This is outrageous. Are you out of your flippin mind? The real economy is in the middle of a depression. Real private GDP is down close to 20%. By and large, the only people who are going to be able to afford this overpriced garbage are people sucking off the government teat. (Like union trash collectors and station agents who make 6 figure salaries.) Nobody who actually works for a living in the private sector is going to spend $1500 on something like this, not if they wish to remain solvent anyway.
strikeback03 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - linkUmm, your numbers are slightly off. There is no service fee for the WiFi-only $500 iPad. The 3G version starts at $630.
Besides that though, I know plenty of people who have the disposable income to buy a toy like this of they wished. Sure it is overpriced, but just as there are consumers who pay $500 and up for video cards ther are some who pay $600-700 for expensive toys like this. It is arguably a better use of money than that $800 netbook Sony came out with last year.