Five pluses and five minuses about the iPad

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Michelle Steiner, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. This is from

    First the pluses:

    The prices: Leading up to today’s event, pricing rumors were all over the
    map, but most touted estimates in the range of $700 to $1000. So it was
    quite a shocker to learn that the iPad would start at just $499 for a 16GB
    Wi-Fi model. Let’s put that in perspective: it’s the same price as a 32GB
    iPod touch just two years ago, and only $200 more than the current 32GB
    touch, despite having a much larger screen, more powerful hardware, and
    more features. But perhaps the more telling comparison is that Amazon’s
    similarly-size Kindle DX, with its non-color, non-touch-sensitive screen
    and much more limited functionality, is priced at $489. Unless you’re a
    hardcore e-ink fan, the iPad seems like a relative bargain in comparison.

    Of course, if you want to spend more, you can: $599 for a 32GB iPad or $699
    for a 64GB model. And you can tack on $130 to any model to get 3G wireless

    Pre-paid, no-contract, unlocked 3G: There were plenty of rumors about 3G
    wireless support, but the big surprise was the iPad’s options for getting
    3G service. Unlike the iPhone, where you’re locked into a two-year contract
    at $30 a month, AT&T will offer two iPad data plans: $15 a month for 250MB
    of data, or $30 a month for unlimited data. The kicker? These are pre-paid,
    no-contract rates, and you can activate service at any time right from the
    iPad itself. So you can, say, enable 3G service before a big trip and
    cancel service when you get back.

    Of course, these plans get you 3G service with AT&T—the mention of which
    drew audible groans from those in attendance at Apple’s event. But the
    other part of the 3G surprise was that 3G iPad models will ship unlocked.
    Which means you should be able to plop in a SIM card for another GSM 3G
    network provider and avoid AT&T altogether, as well as use your US iPad
    overseas by buying a prepaid SIM card. (Update: It's actually a Micro SIM
    card, which not all providers currently offer.)

    External keyboard support: Macworld editors have been aching for Bluetooth
    keyboard support on the iPhone since the first model was announced in
    January 2007. Despite the small screen on the iPhone and iPod touch, being
    able to use an external keyboard for “real†typing tasks would make the
    device much more useful, and even let us leave our laptops at home for some
    trips. Sadly, with each new version of the iPhone OS, we’ve been
    disappointed by this omission.

    The iPad’s huge screen—which has the potential to be great for working with
    email and text—and the announcement of iWork for iPad (see my next item)
    had several Macworld editors crossing their fingers that Apple wouldn’t
    hold back on this obvious feature. This time around, Apple didn’t
    disappoint. Not only will the company sell a dedicated Keyboard Dock, which
    holds the iPad upright while providing a full-size (but no-keypad) Apple
    aluminum keyboard, but the iPad will also work with standard Bluetooth
    keyboards. I am very, very pleased.

    iWork for iPad: If the iPad really was just a big iPod touch, certain
    segments of the tech-buying public—business users and education,
    especially—may not have seriously considered purchasing it. But with the
    announcement of iWork for iPad, the iPad became a device that will also let
    you create, edit, and present Keynote presentations; work on spreadsheets
    and word-processing documents; and create newsletters and other basic
    page-layout documents. And support for Microsoft Office documents means you
    can import and work with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. It remains to
    be seen how well iWork for iPad handles these types of files, and what
    features it does and doesn’t support, but with a real “office suite,†a
    9.7-inch screen, and the aforementioned support for external keyboards, the
    iPad is a much more capable tool than it’s smaller sibling—and for many
    people, possibly a laptop replacement.

    ePub support: Most people expected the iPad to double as an e-book reader.
    But Apple’s announcement that the iPad’s iBooks e-reading app will support
    the ePub standard was big news. Adopted by the International Digital
    Publishing Forum (IDPF) as an open-standards-based format for digital
    books, ePub allows publishers to create books in a single format for
    distribution to various e-book resellers and for use on any device that
    supports ePub. With more and more publishers and hardware vendors adopting
    the ePub standard, this news means it will be easier for publishers—big and
    small—to make their e-books available for the iPad and other e-readers.
    (Questions still remain, however: Will Apple apply FairPlay copy protection
    to books you purchase through the iBookstore? Will you be able to import
    unprotected ePub documents into the iBooks app? We’ll be working on the
    answers to these questions going forward.)

    Now the five minuses:

    No video camera: The lack of a camera surprised me—it almost seems like an
    intentional omission, so that Apple has something neat to show in “iPad
    2.0.†A device with a large, gorgeous, full color screen, a 1GHz CPU,
    wireless and 3G internet access…and no way to hold a video chat? (Or audio
    chat for that matter—I don’t think there’s a microphone, either. Perhaps
    there’s one in the headphones, though.)

    With a video camera, the iPad could definitely replace the Mac laptop in
    our family room…but without it, that means I’ll need to lug out the laptop
    anytime grandma wants a video chat with her grandkids. If I have to do that
    anyway, I might as well just use the laptop in the first place.

    No multitasking: If there were a video camera and you could have a video
    chat with someone, it would be very useful to leave the iPad version of
    iChat running in the background—otherwise, you’d be quitting and launching
    it all the time to check if grandma had arrived yet or not. Notifications
    are nice, but not nearly as nice as simply having the window there all the

    It’d be pretty simple to design an interface to allow toggling between two
    running apps; some variant on Exposé, or a three-finger twist-swipe. I’m
    not talking about full OS X-style multitasking (though that’d be great),
    but just the ability to keep a key app or two open in the background.

    Support for Flash: Let me start by saying this…I have a strong dislike for
    Flash in general. The fact that it takes up to 80 percent of the CPU in a
    quad-core 2.66GHz Mac Pro to render a 400x300 Flash game just boggles my
    mind—full OpenGL games running at 1920x1200 often do so with lower CPU
    utilization! So yes, I know Flash is a CPU hog. I know it kills battery
    life. But like it or hate it, Flash is still a large part of the Web
    experience today for many people—and not just for those seeking Flash games.

    Even during casual browsing, the odds are very good that you’ll run into a
    Flash-enhanced (and I use that term loosely) site at some point—heck, it
    even happened to Steve Jobs today during his presentation! At one point,
    while a page was loading, the “missing plug-in†icon appeared where a Flash
    movie would have been playing.

    As much as I hate Flash, not supporting it on a device marketed as
    providing the ultimate portable Web experience is a glaring oversight. You
    can buy a full-featured (PC or Linux) notebook for less than the cost of a
    high-end iPad, and for that, you’d get full support for the Web and all its
    standards—even those that Apple doesn’t want to support.

    Bite the bullet, Apple, and find a way to enable Flash on the iPad. I don’t
    like it, I really don’t want it, but there are times I want to view a site
    that uses it, so I need it in order to make the iPad fully usable as the
    ultimate Web surfing machine.

    True GPS only available only with 3G model: This bit should be footnoted
    with an I think disclaimer, because Apple’s iPad specs page isn’t very
    clear about this. However, based on comparing the Location section of that
    page to the same section of the iPhone specs page, I think the 3G chipset
    is the same as the one in the iPhone—which means you’d get the true GPS
    chip with the 3G-enabled iPad.

    So basically, if you want to take full advantage of those gorgeous maps,
    you’ll need to pony up the $130 3G fee—because that fee buys you not only
    access to the AT&T 3G network, but a true GPS chip as well. Without the 3G
    chip, you get only an approximate location based on wireless device
    locations and a digital compass.

    Video limitations: While the iPad can play 720p video, it can only output
    (at best) 576p and 480p—so no using your iPad to send the output of a 720p
    video to your high definition television. Related to this issue is the
    puzzling resolution of 1024x768—in a world where everything is headed to
    widescreen format, the iPad is reverting to the older 4x3 standard. Sure,
    it means apps that are run in double-size will fit the screen better, it
    means thicker black bars on pretty much every movie you watch.

    To buy or not to buy
    As I said up front, I really do like the new iPad. I’d love to buy one; it
    looks like an excellent surfing, e-mailing, and movie-watching machine.
    However, there are two show stoppers on the above list that mean I won’t be
    purchasing the first-generation iPad: the lack of a video camera and chat
    capabilities, and the lack of Flash support. Without those two things at
    least, I will be reaching for the laptop more often than not, so I might as
    well just keep using that for my casual Web, e-mail and video chatting
    needs. But with just a couple little tweaks, I can certainly see an iPad in
    my future.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 28, 2010
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  2. Michelle Steiner

    Larry Guest

    Wow! Something's seriously wrong, Michelle. Flash runs fine on a 1.6Ghz
    Samsung NC10 netbook under WinXP SP3 without hogging all those limited
    resources. I didn't know it brought a big mac to its knees. I multitask
    on the netbook with Flash streaming TV away while I'm doing other things
    all the time and there's still plenty of CPU left for useful work while
    it's streaming Flash. Even the Nokia N800 Linux tablet will multitask
    while playing Flash video and it's only a 600 Mhz TI!

    Got a URL that's particularly hoggish on your mac? I'd like to see what it
    does to the netbook and Linux tablets.

    You mention Bluetooth in your post. Have you found any references to which
    Bluetooth protocols iPad supports, yet? I've been looking around and can't
    find any reference to what its bluetooth is allowed to connect to. It
    would be simply wonderful if the iPad Bluetooth 2.1+ allowed HID, OBEX,
    FTP, and some other protocols iPhone/iTouch doesn't support. With HID, you
    could use a folding, much more portable keyboard than that docking monster
    that's not made for mobile use with the iPad. Just as with iPhone/iTouch,
    many would appreciate being able to use a BT keyboard and other BT devices
    with it, even if Apple wouldn't allow us to use BT to swap files and do
    push stuff with it.

    Both WinXP and Win7 netbooks allow HID input on BT. iPad should also.
    Larry, Jan 28, 2010
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  3. Wow! Something's seriously wrong, Michelle.[/QUOTE]

    Take that up with the author of the article. Note that the first line of
    my message was that it is from
    What size image?
    I don't know. It doesn't bother me on my computer, but I don't often
    access any sites other than YouTube that renders flash.

    Maybe Adobe did a poor job of porting Flash to the Mac OS.
    Nope. As I said, check with the author.
    No; all the tech specs say is Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology. But I do
    know that it supports Bluetooth keyboards.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 28, 2010
  4. Michelle Steiner

    Guest Guest

    why the **** do you care? you aren't going to get one and you are going
    to trash it no matter what it does.
    what the **** for? it has wifi and you can ftp over that a helluva lot
    it's not a netbook.
    Guest, Jan 28, 2010
  5. Michelle Steiner

    Your Name Guest

    Take that up with the author of the article. Note that the first line of
    my message was that it is from[/QUOTE]

    Don't waste your time replying - Larry is simply a moron and a complete
    waste of space.
    Your Name, Jan 28, 2010
  6. Oh, I know that, but some newbie might not.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 28, 2010
  7. Michelle Steiner

    Larry Guest

    Larry, Jan 29, 2010
  8. Michelle Steiner

    Guest Guest

    Guest, Jan 29, 2010
  9. And it will work with the iPad.
    Michelle Steiner, Jan 29, 2010
  10. Michelle Steiner

    Your Name Guest

    Don't confuse the idiot with actual facts.
    Your Name, Jan 30, 2010
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