Friday, January 29, 2010

My thoughts & opinions on the Apple iPad

First things first... iPad... Really?  When I first heard Steve Jobs use that word, I thought he was referring to some form of tampon.  Seriously.  I'm not joking...  Ten minutes later I see links to the MADTV spoof where they actually poked fun at Apple with a product called an iPad which was exactly that: An advanced tampon.  Check out the MADTV iPad spoof below:
[flashvideo file= /]

The Apple iPad
Rumors were circulating around the net that Apple was going to call it the iSlate, and to be honest, I like that name alot more then the iPad. claimed that back in 2007, Apple had purchased the domain name According to ArsTechnica, Apple has a scheduled "internal hall" meeting to discuss the iPad.  My hopes would be that somebody would notice the MADTV spoof and perhaps change the name.  I mean c'mon, let's face it, the iPad is a terrible name.  I'm convinced whoever inside Apple came up with the name probably named it after that spoof. But enough about the name. So what is the iPad?  It's basically a giant iPod Touch with a 9.7 inch screen.  Literally.  Every aspect of the iPad is identical to the iPhone or iPod Touch.  The O/S is a modified version of the iPhone/iPod Touch software, just scaled to fit on its 1027x768 screen. The iPad will come with iTunes built into the device.  In addition it will full support of all the 132,000 iPhone/iPod touch applications already available in the catalog.  It can run these apps in the  native iPhone 320x480 resolution, or run them in a "fullscreen mode" where it doubles up the pixel size of the application, which means the application runs at 640x960.

The iPad showing off the iBook application
that displays your purchased books on a bookshelf
Aside from the iPhone/iPod Touch application support, it's going to have support for "iBooks" which will definitely give Amazon a run for its money with their Kindle; (perhaps Amazon should lower the price on the kindle considering its lack of features).  Any books you purchase through iBooks will appear on a bookshelf as displayed on the right.   Other then that the iPad will include all the same applications you'd find on an iPhone or iPod Touch:
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Notes
  • Contacts
  • Google Maps
  • YouTube
  • Calendar
  • etc...

The iPad does NOT support Flash
In addition, the iPad has the same limitations as the do the iPhone/iPod Touch, no multi-tasking, no support for Flash, which to me is a huge disappointment.  During the announcement, you can see Steve Jobs on stage sitting on a couch casually browsing the web.  Immediately you can see an icon where some flash animation should have appeared.  You could also see him switch in and out of applications; again - no multi-tasking... Very disappointing.  I just love how Steve Jobs during the announcement was like "who needs netbooks?"  Really Steve?  ...Really?

The iPad (just like the iPhone/iPod Touch) does not have a removable battery.  So over the years when the battery can't hold a charge anymore, you'll end up with an expensive paperweight.  Steve Jobs claimed while he was on a 10 hour flight from San Francisco to Tokyo, he was able to watch video the entire time which (admittedly) is impressive.

You are entering an Apple Restriction Zone
The only way to sync the device is using the same proprietary plug like what the iPhone/iPod Touch have.  What... No support for wireless syncing? (Even Microsoft's Zune HD has this.)  There are no alternative connectors or USB ports on this unit (which really shocked me).  No SD card slot, no nothing.  Any sort of input or plug will need to use Apple's proprietary plug if you need to load data onto the unit.

Apple will be releasing six different models of the iPad. The differences between these models will vary with the amount of storage space: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.   All models will have wifi 802.11(a/b/g/n) but the other three models will have wifi as well as 3G.  The downside is the 3G connection will only be provided via AT&T (Apple, you should have learned from the iPhone you fucking idiots).  The starting 16GB model with wifi only will cost $499, which is impressive considering how Apple normally overcharges for their other products.  Here's breakdown on the iPad pricing:

Wifi only:
  • $499 for 16GB
  • $599 for 32GB
  • $699 for 64GB

Wifi + 3G Connectivity
  • $629 for 16GB
  • $729 for 32GB
  • $829 for 64GB
The available plans for 3G (provided with AT&T):
  • $14.99 for 250MB of bandwidth (this plan is a rip off)
  • $29.99 for "unlimited data (probably a 5GB cap, but still a decent price.)

All in all... I'm not impressed.  Again, the iPad doesn't offer anything significantly unique from what Apple originally announced with the iPhone and iPod Touch.  And because of that I don't see any compelling reason why I should use it over the iPhone or iPod Touch.  It's not something I could easily carry around with me on the go due to its size.  Even if I did, I'd have to get a protective cover to prevent the screen from getting scratched or cracked.  With a netbook or laptop, this isn't a problem as the screens aren't exposed.

I was hoping that it would be the ultimate device to use for video playback, but considering how it's restricted to certain video codecs, this becomes a substantial limitation as to what you can or can't watch.  Also having no support for flash eliminates about 90% of all available video content on the web.  Also the resolution is lower then I expected... 1024x768 - which makes the screen more square then widescreen.  This means if  you were to watch high definition 720p content, you'd see approximately 1 inch of black on both the top and bottom of the iPad screen because it has to scale down the widescreen video to make it fit.  If you were to watch widescreen 16:9 content on the  iPhone/iPod Touch, the black borders would not be as thick as those screens are more rectangular with their 480x320 resolution.

I'm surprised it doesn't have a built in webcam.  Hell the Phone has a camera, and can even capture video... Why wouldn't this at least have a webcam?  The iPad could have been a great device to use with Skype, or any other Instant Messenger that supports video.  Certainly would have made it more useful.  I guess Apple needed to cut costs to make the price appealing.  Who knows, maybe next year they'll include one in a newer model.

Oh and Apple, you really, really, REALLY need to change the name... I think the "iSlate" would've been more appropriate...  The name is iPad fucking terrible.