By now you’ve all heard of the amazing new gadget by Apple. Apple have once again created a gadget that is likely to revolutionize the genre and has set their competitors scrambling to produce their own tablet computers. The iPad is set to be one of Apple’s most successful products, but with the likes of HP, Dell, Blackberry, Google and Amazon all either producing a tablet PC or rumored to be making one, should you wait a little or take the plunge and buy an iPad while they are hot.
Here are some things you should consider before buying an iPad:
A touchpad keyboard is great, and on a small gadget like a phone or mp3 player it really makes the use of the gadget very intuitive and easy. However, is it really going to replace a keyboard on a more serious gadget like the iPad or the Playbook by Blackberry? While for surfing the web and doing general things like using simple apps and viewing email, reading books etc the Touchpad will be great, you wonder whether you could be comfortable for using it constantly – for instance, would you want to write a novel or a business report on the iPad. (The iPad is seen as replacing the trusty old Laptop and therefore is going to be used by authors and businessmen as they travel).
The keyboard is larger than the iPhone’s keyboard, but I still feel serious users may miss the tactile feel of a real keyboard – you can buy a blue-tooth keyboard but this seems to defeat the object of a touch screen keyboard.
While the iPad can run most iPhone apps (upscaled) from Apple and also has a large selection of Apps already available, there are many companies who are producing their own apps for other smart phones and gadgets – with Droid growing fast, and Amazon promising to get into the App business, many Apple owners may miss out on a lot of 3rd party apps thanks to Apple’s policy of only allowing ‘registered’ apps to be downloaded – so you have to consider whether the Apple App store really has the variety of Apps you require.
What doesn’t the iPad do?
We all are aware of some of the fantastic features that the iPad has, but what are some of the things the iPad doesn’t have:
-No camera – both Dell and Blackberry include cameras on their tablet computers. I’m sure the iPAd v2.0 will have a camera, but you might want to wait for a year or so until it does.
-Adobe Flash – I’m still amazed that the iPad and iPod Touch don’t allow websites with Adobe Flash – more and more websites are turning to Flash to produce multi-media experiences and this is a major drawback for iPad users.
-No USB port or memory-card slot – not sure why Apple wouldn’t have provided at least a USB port.
-No direct printing support – you have to upload files to your PC or Mac – this is where a USB port would have been very useful.
You can get a low end iPad for $499, with 16GB memory and no 3G broadband, but for the best iPad with 64GB and AT&T 3G you end up paying $829. WOW! When I consider the type of high-end laptop or notebook I can get for that then I wonder if this is the right price range for the iPad – sure many Appleites will pay any price for one, but the standard Laptop PC owner will not rush out and buy the iPad, there’s simply not enough reason to!
iPad and Windows
Many businesses and home users would like the ability to run Windows – the Mac already allows you to dual boot with Windows and there’s obvious demand for it – currently though, the iPad isn’t slated to have Windows and this could be a problem as many people love the ability to install and use the thousands of 3rd party software that isn’t available for Apple’s gadgets.
There are even rumors that the next version of the Kindle will feature Windows 7 – and as they’ve just announced their own App store, there’s no doubt that the next Kindle will definitely be aimed at the iPad market.
Will the iPad replace my desktop or laptop?
Yes and no! For people who use a desktop or laptop to surf the web, check email etc don’t really need the power of a desktop or laptop, so the iPad or other tablet computers will definitely be a viable replacement. However, for serious users who either use top of the range games, or serious business software, the iPad is simply just a viable second ‘computer’ that will make it easier to travel, and perhaps give presentations etc – it simply doesn’t have the power of a top laptop or desktop.
What about the Netbook?
The Netbook is really not that much different than the iPad; they have similar functionality and are designed to be portable and allow users to surf the web, read, use apps etc. While the netbook is generally a little more versatile and powerful than the iPad, the iPad is probably easier to carry around and more intuitive. However, I fully expect the next generation of Netbooks to become more like the iPad, with touch screens and more apps.
What about the Kindle?
Firstly, the Kindle is a lot cheaper and is aimed at the reader – the ease of use and ability to download books on the go make it ideal for people who love to read. It’s not meant to be a computer, it’s simply a device to improve the reading experience for users. While the iPad can also download books, and adds multi-media to the experience, it is a very expensive eReader!
Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon bring out a high-end Kindle that directly competes with the iPad.
While there’s no doubt that the iPad is a superb gadget, after watching the phone industry and seeing how companies like Google and Motorola have produced their own smart phones that match the iPhone and in some cases exceed them, I’d suggest that its worth waiting a year or two to see what the competitors bring out and to see what Apple do to improve the iPad – it is a game changer, but there are a lot of very good players in this game!