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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zodiacfml - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkAnother quality review, useful as trying the device myself.
I'm not buying Apple products but you touched on features that it should have.
One is the ability to stand on its own to function as a picture frame, movie screen, and reader while someone is eating or something else.
Support for mouse device and keyboard when it can already stand on its own.
Support for uploading media such as video and photos from either flash cards or directly from cameras. it is such a good device to use with cameras.
one more thing, they could get the intel atom cpu once it gets to a smaller process to improve size and energy efficiency.
Spivonious - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkAnand, I love your writing and have read the site since the GeoCities days, but please learn the difference between "lay" and "lie".
crimson117 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkMy biggest pet peeve with the iPhone UI is the lack of an indicator for when an app is visible but busy processing something and not currently accessible.
The default Notepad app on the iPhone 3G is a great example - as soon as you tap the icon, the yellow Notepad interface pops right up. However, it actually takes several seconds to finish loading until you can tap to edit a note or tap the (+) sign to start a new note. There's no indicator at all of when the loading is complete - you have to keep tapping periodically until it finally works.
The same is true for resizing a web page using multitouch - there's no indicator that your input has been received but it's going to take a few moments to make it happen.
In Windows 7 when an app is "thinking" and thus you can't interact with it, your mouse pointer becomes a a little circle (aka an hourglass). If an app is ever extremely busy thinking, the app may even gray out to indicate that even Windows can't get it to respond at that time.
The iPhone's lack of this feature just smells of Apple trying to make the device appear on the surface to be more responsive than it really is. Perhaps you'll question whether you tapped correctly, and won't realize that the device is just slower than you expect it to be.
archcommus - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkThis article, like your others, despite being 22 (!) pages long, is a quick, refreshing read. It feels more like you're talking about your experiences and less like you're writing an article as a journalist (which can make some other long reviews a little boring). Also seemed pretty unbiased and highlighted the good and bad. Another solid article, thanks.
Mumrik - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkHehe, this isn't a big deal - it's just amusing:
"Although there's no mute button, holding the volume down rocker for 2 seconds mutes the device instantly."
Nope. Sounds to me like it takes about two seconds to mute the device :)
AstroGuardian - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkGood one. My thought exactly...
leospagnol - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkI'm planning to buy one of them when I travel to US next month. THe Eee 1001P is $ 280.00, and the iPad $499.00 at least. I usually read more than I write during classes and I have wifi available during class. I'll probably buy the Eee, but wich do you think suits this task best?
Mumrik - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkImagine the iPad lying flat on your desk and then imagine the position you would have to sit in all lecture long if you wanted to be able to write.
Then imagine how much of the time you'd have to look down at what you were writing because you didn't have the physical response of a keyboard to make touch typing easy.
Now imagine not being able to multitask.
It would not be a difficult choice for me - Anand said it himself - the iPad is generally not a laptop substitute.
videogames101 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkI love the M3, great episode there.
Good to know I can watch it on the iPad, lol.
AstroGuardian - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - linkAs far as i remember, this was not mentioned in the review (the overheating problem):
Personally i don't think it's worth commenting. It's not just the iPad but all other electronic devices will overheat when put out on the sun. And i wouldn't call it overheating but more like misuse.