The iPad is a great looking piece of hardware, and there’s no doubt that Apple has pushed the tablet onto consumer minds. Now everyone and their grandmother is trying to push out a tablet device to compete with it.
For those who haven’t gotten their hands on an iPad it’s basically an oversized iPod Touch. Besides its size the device has a larger resolution and a faster processor that makes navigating and browsing the internet on it very smooth. There really isn’t a solid reason to go out an buy one if you already have an iPhone or iPod Touch. The iPad is meant for content consumption rather than content creation. If you’re a news and media junkie like me then the iPad is a great device. Don’t expect the iPad to replace you laptop or even your netbook. Typing a lengthy email or a document on this tablet is not as comfortable as one might think.
I bought the iPad knowing what it was capable and incapable of doing. I knew exactly what I was going to do with it when I got it; play with my iPhone apps, casual web browsing, Netflix, and checking personal/work email. I have some friends who bought an iPad then tried to find a way to use it only ended up returning it. Those buying the device based on hype and no knowledge about it will no doubt have buyer’s remorse. Throwing $600+ at a gadget you don’t know what you want to do with it is idiotic. If you can’t see yourself using it regularly then just skip it.
One of the few disappointments with the iPad is not the device itself, but rather the apps. If you bought an app on the iPhone or iPod Touch it will work with your iPad, but if you want the app that supports the higher resolution you’ll have to pay full price. Some of the iPad version of apps are just an upscaled in resolution, no additional content, no additional function and I can’t justify paying full price for an app you already have. You can still use your iPhone/iPod Touch apps but you’ll have to settle for a lower res version which looks very pixelated. Some developers have apps that support both, and the apps automatically scale to the device you have. In the iPad app store there is a designation on the app that shows that is supports both the devices. These are the apps I tend to download and buy. Some of the iPad specific apps are fantastic. The developers really took advantage of the additional pixels and crammed as much content as they could on that screen. I can definitely see it being used as a teaching/studying tool. The iPad is still relatively new and great apps for it is far and few in between at least for the moment.
At the D8 Conference this week Steve Jobs stated that the tablets are like cars and desktops/laptops are like trucks. They’ll always be around, but not many will use them. I have to disagree. I would compare tablets to motorcycles and desktops/laptops to cars and trucks. Your first computing device will most likely be a desktop/laptop because, like a car, it’s more utilitarian. And like the iPad, motorcycles are cool and fun to try and it’s not very comfortable on long rides or very useful when you need to carry a load or even a light load. With Apple’s help the tablet is here to stay, but whether it’ll be mainstream only time will tell.
Great form factor and build quality
Decent battery life (9-10 hours)
Can access all your iPhone/iPod Touch apps
Simple and familiar UI
No Adobe Flash support