Thoughts On The iPad: Good, But Not All Good

Michael Santo's picture

While the iPad, announced today by Apple has been heralded by many, it's not all good. A close examination of the device, and not just the iPad's price or bare specs, mind you, and one can see it has the same issues as its smaller brethren: the iPhone and iPod touch.

The iPad is a tablet PC, but it's not really a PC. It looks like an upsized iPod touch, as can be seen by the homescreen button that looks extremely reminiscent of the button on the iPod touch.

Spec-wise, the iPad is 0.5" thick, has a 9.7" IPS display (the same type as in the latest-gen iMac), and weighs 1.5 pounds. It has a capacitive multi-touch screen, 1 Ghz custom Apple processor, the A4, which includes, actually, processor, graphics, I/O memory controller on one chip. The iPad will come with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of SSD storage.

If you simply think of it as a giant iPod touch, you can imagine its capabilities easily: media playing, web browsing, gaming, and, with its larger screen size, e-books. Rather, we should call them iBooks, as Apple does.

The iPad's price is a simply amazing $499, $599, or $699, depending if you get 16, 32, or 64GB of storage. Those prices, however, do not include 3G connectivity, meaning cellular, but rather iPads with wi-fi only.

If you want an iPad with 3G, the iPad price runs another $130 for each price point. Also, there's the iPad 3G plan to take into account: $15 monthly for 250GB of bandwidth, or $30 for unlimited bandwidth.

It will run all the iPod touch / iPhone apps without change, says Apple. That's actually a great thing.

So, none of that is a negative. The negatives come from other negatives that already affect the iPhone and iPod touch. For one, just as with the iPhone, since it runs apps out of the App Store, what does that mean? It means you will only be able get apps that are approved by Apple.

That has already proven a source of user dissatisfaction for Apple. One well-known example was the rejection of Google Voice enabled apps from the App Store, and the lack of inclusion of Google's own Google Voice app. Instead, Google had to create a web app, which is better than nothing, but substandard compared to BlackBerry and Android versions.

Next, the iPad has the same negative as the iPhone in another way: no background processing. With the exception of certain Apple apps, you can't run more than one program at once. An example on the iPhone is that if you wanted to listen to Pandora while getting a phone call, you can forget it. It simply won't work, unless you have a jailbroken device.

Jailbreaking your iPhone gives you access to applications you can't get otherwise. This will end up, assuming jailbreaking is possible, to be the same situation on the iPad: jailbreakers will have access to applications of such usefulness that if those who did not jailbreak devices knew of them, they would simply swoon.

All that said, the iPhone has been a success. However, since it can't multitask, in our book, the iPad, great price or no, is no PC. It will, however, most likely be an instant hit.

Written by Michael Santo

Add new comment