The much awaited iPad is here alive and kicking. It’s small, beautiful, sleek and comes with attitude. The ‘I’ in the iPad stands for integrated and that is exactly what it does, although missing a few essentials. But I hear you ask so what is the fuss all about? What is so different about the iPad. The iPad has essentially redesigned the concept of a tablet PC. Before the iPad other tablet devices attempted at addressing a consumer need for an easy to use, flat out of the box experience. However what the consumers received were larger and bulkier versions of a PDA with stylus pens and an operating system that was designed for a desktop PC and there was nothing mobile about the tablet.
While the iPad is not perfect I do believe it is the best on the market to date and the use of the iPhone OS which is designed for mobile users is a great advantage for those who are already used to the Apple products.
So what does it have? In relation to hardware, the things that make everything run on the iPad. Well the iPad has a 1GHz Apple A4 processor, options of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB only, 256 DRAM built-in, the display is 1024 x 768 which translates into a 9.7 inch display size. So if you own an iPhone and you jump between using the iPad and the iPhone, you might find your eyes playing tricks on you. Oh and I forgot to mention that all the memory is solid-state flash, which means moving the iPad without the fear of data-loss.
So what is the battery life, I hear you ask. We all know that Apple has had a murky history when it comes to batteries. The iPad uses an internal rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery and Apples claims that the Ipad’s battery can provide up to 10 hours of video, 10 hours of web surfing, 140 hours of audio and one month on standby. A word of caution however is that over time all batteries will lose their capacity to charge and perform as well as they used to, It’s just a fact of life.
The iPad also has a Home button, an ambient light sensor, an on/off switch, a 30-pin dock connector, a 3.5-mm headphone jack, a volume control switch.
Good so far, design is pleasing, software something we are used to, for mobile technologies. So why would Apple decide not to have a built-in camera is something I find disappointing especially when all Netbooks come with built-in cameras. The long battery life, Wi-Fi great screen size, easy to carry anywhere, begs for video conferencing. I suppose your friends would have to meet you in real now.
Although the iPad has built-in speakers, they are not much louder than the iPhone’s; having said that playing games with the large screen size of the iPad and fairly decent speakers that do not distort the noise makes playing games that bit more enjoyable.
As mentioned before the iPad has let itself down in certain areas and earned the nick name of ‘large iPod touch’ by its critics. The lack of built-in camera has already been mentioned and to add further to the list is the lack of a USB port to either play external movies or view data and finally Flash support is a major issue, where the sight of blue squares on the iPad’s big screen while surfing almost feels like you have been cheated as the entry-level iPad would set you back a whopping £429 and the highest level at £699.
If you feel you have money to spare you can also purchase the following iPad accessories:
iPad keyboard Dock
iPad Dock to VGA adapter for external monitor or projector
iPad Camera Connection Kit
iPad 10W USB Power Adapter
The standard application that accompany the iPad are:
Mobile Safari: Nothing new but Apple does promise that web browsing on the iPad will be, to quote Steve Jobs, “The best browsing experience you’ve ever had.”
iBooks: Who needs Kindleworld (e-book reader) when you have the iBook e-reader on your iPad.
Calendar / Contacts: Nothing new here either but can be useful if you have lots friends.
iTunes / iBookstore / App Store: All three stores are based on the desktop version of iTunes.
iPhone apps on the iPad: Over 150,000 of the iPhone and iPod touch apps are compatible with the iPad, so there is no shortage of apps to chose from.
The iWork suite: You have the option of doing some work on your iPad with the iWork but I doubt If you will find the time with all the video watching, surfing, music listening and reading that you will be doing.
Ultimately, the iPad is as useful as your needs. To some it’s just a large iPod touch but for others it’s an easy to use hardware that has a lot to offer even with it’s short comings. If you are money conscious and your needs are simple web surfing and word documents, then a Netbook would suit you fine but if you want a devise that is mobile, easy to use with lots of tricks such as surfing, playing games, listening to music, watch videos, reading e-books and you have money to spare, then the iPad is for you.