Give Apple and the iPad a break.
Yesterday for 45 minutes the internet went silent while “everyone” watched Steve Jobs present the iPad. I must say I was awed by it but then I didn’t spend months mulling over what Apple will be coming up with and setting my expectations higher and higher with each rumor. I did know what I don’t like about current products such as netbooks, the Kindle, the Nook and the also soon to be released HP Slate.
A few highlights of the iPad:
- iPhone apps work on it.
- Full screen mode
- 10 hours of battery life
- Apple’s own processor; 1GHz Apple A4
When the presentation was done my Twitter stream sprang back to life with lots of comments, mostly people questioning the lack of Flash support, lack of multitasking and just overall complaining that the iPad is below their expectations. My opinion on this is, Apple makes great products but they are not almighty, they cannot satisfy everyone’s need in one product and still keep the price reasonable.
The biggest complaint against Apple products has always been “they are too expensive” well now they are giving you the so much awaited tablet starting at 499 dollars. You get a superior design, a super fast tablet according to John Gruber who had hands on experience at the presentation. You can browse the web, listen to music, watch movies, read e-books, create documents, presentations, e-mail, play games, etc.
Lets take the Kindle DX for example, for 489 dollars you can browse Amazon’s bookstore, buy books, read them and take notes. That’s it, for 10 dollars less then the cheapest iPad you get to do those four things on the Kindle with no touch screen. Apple will compete with Amazon with their own iBooks store. Five of the six major publishing houses; Macmillan and Hachette Book Group, Harper-Collins, Penguin and Simon & Schuster have signed a deal with Apple. Only Random House hasn’t…yet. You will get the same shopping experience in the iBooks store as in the iTunes store and a nice library on your iPad.
The iPad will also be supporting the open ePub format in contrary to Kindle who have their own proprietary format. This opens the door for smaller publishers and individuals to sell their e-books in the iBooks store if Apple allows them, which seems the logical thing to do. It would open the market more for Apple against other e-book readers.
Did I mention that the iPad has the ability to manually drag a page like you do with real books? Beats clicking a button to browse pages.
Then you have the HP Slate of which we don’t know the specs of, we only know what it looks like, that it runs Windows 7 rather then Windows Mobile and that it also has a full multitouch screen. The design is nothing as sleek as the iPad. I would rather walk around with the iPad that weights 0.68 kg than with a boxy HP Slate that looks like it weights 1 kg.
Considering the HP Slate will be running Windows 7 it will probably run MS Office on it. Now I wonder how fast that could be? Even on a regular computer you need quite some RAM and CPU to run Windows 7 and the latest MS Office smoothly, keyword here people, “smoothly”. And you would probably multitask too on the HP slate so I predict a remarkable slow down of the system and fast battery drain.
Apple’s prime reason for not offering multitasking is to prevent the system being slow and to keep the battery from running out too fast. They even re-did the entire iWorks suite to be intuitive and fast on the iPad, this shows that they really invest in speed, intuitive interface and long battery life.
Then we have the issue of 3G. The iPad will use the newest sim card, the Micro SIM also known as 3FF-card. In the US only AT&T offers the Micro SIM which makes the fact that the iPad is SIM lock free a moot point. But T-Mobile will probably introduce the Micro SIM soon in the US and thus be competing with AT&T. This is only a temporary setback, it’s not hard for providers to start using Micro SIM so my guess is that before the year’s end AT&T will have competition for data plans on the iPad. I find it too soon to already form a full opinion on this. Right now it’s an AT&T market only but with still two months before they start selling the iPad anything can happen.
My conclusion on all this is that Apple released a great product, not perfect but pretty great for a first generation release. The apps that will be released will make the experience of the iPad better, just think about all the times you cursed the small screen on your iPhone when trying to read or do something.
As for the Apple users being underwhelmed by the iPad I subscribe that to being spoiled by Apple, they keep wanting more and more. Some people were so disappointed I was like “What? do you want the tablet to be able to cook for you and make your bed?”.
Regarding the lack of video and camera I quote Franky from Blogging Pro
“Do you want to be the moron recording video outside, holding a 10? high tablet in your hands? I know I don’t.”
So people get some perspective, we are still two months away from sale. If you paid attention during the presentation Steve Jobs demoed websites with Flash on it showing a clear plug-in missing icon I find this suspicious. Software wise a lot can change between now and in two months. Even so with the hardware specs they aced it pretty much with this first release. It can only get better from here on with new app releases and software updates.
And closing up do read about the accessories that will be available for the iPad, especially the keyboard will be very useful.