My interpretation of the iPad
On Wednesday January 27th, 2010, Apple Inc. Announced a new product dubbed the iPad. This device was designed as an intermediary device between a smartphone and a notebook. Most tech savvy and business people use both a notebook computer and a smartphone of some sort. To paraphrase from Steve Jobs’ speech, somme people have thought that a netbook is the great intermediary device. Something that’s not as big as a laptop but with more capabilities than a smartphone. However the problem with this view isn’t with the idea it’s in the implementation. Most netbooks today are simply trying to run the same software as a normal laptop, but with a fraction of the actual computing specs. At the end of the day all you’re left with is a mini laptop that can barely run much more than a couple programs at a time and not to the best they can perform and you end up with a shoddy user experience.
Apple realized this and sought to create a device that not only surpasses the capabilities of a netbooks, but puts what’s currently out there to shame. I feel that they have com up with that. The iPad, a small tablet device that functions not as a secondary computer, but a remote for your main computer. I’ve seen review after review bashing the iPad simply because people just don’t understand who the device is aimed at and why it was made the way it is. Yes there are some valid arguments out there against the device, but the majority of the bad press is the misunderstanding. I intend to , hopefully, dispel some of the bad views and help some understand the device a little better.
Before the iPad was revealed there was a tremendous amount of speculation and expectations, which were unfortunately not met with the public announcement. The public outcry about the ‘shortcomings’ of the iPad have been heard as loudly as ever since the minute the announcements were made. It’s been less than a week and already there are blogs and articles simply riddled with comments and criticism about a lack of certain features that are supposedly ‘must-have’ features. I’ll start by talking software and move into hardware aspects so that I can explain what my view of the iPad really is. This is a list I compiled of some of the most controversial features that were speculated about the iPad: No camera, No videochat/videoconferencing, No Multitasking, No Wireless Sync, No File Management or freedom to download files online, Only 256MB of RAM, Only 16-64GB of storage space, No additional Gestures, No Flash support, No USB, The large outer bezel, No native Handwriting or stylus support, and many more.I’ll try to explain each as I see the reason behind a move.
No camera, well I don’t think this was a solid decision to not include a camera. In fact there’s evidence in some applications in the developer SDK that camera implementation was included. So at one time or another there were plans to include a camera on the device. However I agree with Chris Foresman who wrote the article on Ars Technica entitled “The iPad doesn’t have a camera, but does it matter?”. The article, here, Points out that the iPad is not meant to replace another computer, but rather serve in addition to that computer. Why should you need to have a camera on the iPad when you have on on your phone and computer?
Multitasking. Yes this is an issue with some people, but to be really honest, the iPad only has a 1024x786 display, filling that space up is very easy and trying to have multiple windows open in that amount of space and still be able to easily read and use all of the programs open would be hard and confusing. I can get by just fine using one program at a time, especially in a corporate or school setting. I could understand having a page in safari open and using it to refer back to a Pages document you’re working on , but is it really too hard to just hit the save button in Pages, open up safari (which usually saves the last page you were on), get what you need and re-open Pages? No, I don’t think so.
No wireless Syncing, yes this is an option that was never mentioned at the time of release, but I have a feeling that Apple may try to include this before the final product is scheduled to ship in March and April.
No file management or freedom to download files online. I have a feeling this may actually change, due to the addition of a special place on the iPad storage where you can store files for iWork apps and sync them with your Mac or PC. Apple even says that this section of the storage will mount like a regular flash drive on your computer and allow you to organize and move files around in it. I have a feeling that Apple will at least allow Mobile safari to save a few downloaded files there as long as they fit.
Having only 256MB of RAM in a computer today is almost unheard of, however over a GB of RAM in a cell phone is a bit overkill. For basic internet browsing on a mobile device such as the iPad, 256MB of Ram will be plenty to work with. Sure streaming video won’t be as smooth as if you had a GB of RAM, but then again if your streaming video, you’re most likely someplace where a laptop would work better anyhow.
The storage sizes available range from a 16GB model to a 64GB model. While these do seem a bit small for this day and age, they are perfectly adequate for the iPad. Once again, the iPad is not meant to take the place of a computer, you shouldn’t need over 64GB for documents, apps,movies, music and photos. Considering most apps range in the single to double digit MB size as are most songs, photos, and documents the only thing that would use up most of the space would be movies. If you have that many movies on your iPad then you probably are a heavy traveler or have too much free time. In either case a laptop would serve you just fine if you want more storage space.
Additional gestures, sure there aren’t any new ones right now, but in new software updates to the iPad I’m sure that Apple will have the ability to enable more.
Adobe Flash integration is one function that almost all of the bad reviews centers around. Yes, there is a fair share of the internet that is Flash based, but what most people are forgetting is that the use of Flash eats away at battery life on any device that needs to use it. Flash requires more processing and graphics power than a mobile device usually has and those power and processing requirements are one of the main reasons that Apple never has had Flash integration in the iPhone OS. Besides those arguments, Flash is beginning to fall away in favor of the HTML5 standards and H.264 encoding, which provide much less in terms of power consumption, and hardware requirements.
No USB, yes at least one USB port would have been nice, but with the lack of a plethora of printer drivers and limited other use of a USB port on the iPhone IS I hardly feel thaat it would be a truly useful feature. This same answer can be said of the SD card slot, however transferring photos from your camera to the iPad would be much simpler than using the dock adaptor.
The larger outer bezel was an aesthetic decision, one that was made to give your thumb a proper place to grip without covering too much of the screen. That said it might have been a slight bit too thick, but a couple milimetres difference isn’t that bad.
No handwriting or stylus support. Anyone who knows anything about Steve Jobs, knows his distaste for the impersonal stylus. If you really want a stylus there is in fact a stylus out there that works with the iPod touch, iPhone, and now the iPad. It’s not made by Apple but there is one out there. As for the handwriting, there are a couple apps, I’m sure, that have some handwriting recognition capabilities, but like I said with the gestures, the technology is there, Apple could release a software update that could enable handwriting recognition. For the iPad.
Inability to run non-Apple approved Apps, sure this would be nice, but Apple approves certain apps and dismisses others for a reason, perhaps the program doesn’t run correctly or may cause a problem with the hardware. They limit the Apps so that the devices they make can run as they should to provide the best user experience.
No OLED screen, this isn’t so much an Apple decision as a manufacturer inability to produce enough units to satisfy the demand. Further information from Barry Young, Managing Director of the OLED Association, can be found in this article via Ars Technica.
The 1GHz Processor may sem like not much, but users who have used an iPhone and tested the pre-release devices demoed at the media event said they noticed a much faster speed overall in the iPad vs. The iPhone. The Apple A4 processor in the iPad is based off of the ARM A9 CPU so it uses a fraction of the power as a desktop while still producing the same amount of speed.
The iPhone OS, possibly one of the most touch enhanced versions of an OS on the market today. The underlying core of the OS is the same as the desktop version of Mac OS X, the real difference lies in the user interface layer where it utilizes touch instead of a mouse. The whole reason that the iPhone OS was chosen to be used on the iPad was for the touch layer. This layer is absent from the desktop version of Mac OS and is also much lighter and better suited for a mobile device. Building upon the familiarity of the iPhone OS, which 75 Million people already know how to use, was a no brainer. Stick with what works, that’s the adage that Apple used when the decision was finalized to use the iPhone OS. After that they simply went through and rewrote their core Apps to be optimized for the larger screen. Yes having the option to use regular Mac OS X apps would have been nice, but the device would have also been terribly slow and far more open for crashing.
Almost all of the 140,000 apps currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch are able to be used without so much as a hiccup on the iPad, which is quite a feat of compatibility in the tech world we live in today. With everything changing so fast, it’s nice to know that there are some people who still think that there are some programs from last year that are worth keeping around. I think what people are forgetting is that with this new screen resolution available, app developers are now open to making far more advanced and intricate apps than we have for the iPhone.
That’s the basic list that I’ve found other discrepancies that revolve around non replaceable batteries and not being able to use a bluetooth mouse, but the batteries are custom made for the iPad and there is no cursor so a Bluetooth Mouse would be pointless. (pardon the pun) The main Idea that people don’t get is that this device is designed to be used in tandem with another computer and is not made to be a portable media player for a TV and it’s not made to replace anything. The iPad is an entirely new category of device that combines the ease of use and fun of a media player with the power and visual aspects of a laptop. I know that I will be getting an iPad, I was planning on getting an iPhone, but this fits my needs so much better.
Posted January 30th, 2010 at 3:03 PM by Tyrantrum
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Posted November 29th, 2010 at 9:43 AM by Ooka