Obligatory Quick Assessment of the iPad

Like the size and form factor (the bezel could be shaved down a bit), and can see this or something like it eventually replacing my netbook and allowing me to skip a dedicated e-reader entirely. On the other hand, in the real world outside Steve Jobs’ head, a modern computer should be able to handle multitasking, so I’m not entirely sure what’s the problem there. I suspect I’ll hold out from getting the first generation version, especially as I so recently purchased an iPod Touch, and wait to see what the early adopter complaints and their fixes are before considering this for a purchase.

In the meantime, my little netbook has the same screen size, a faster processor and more memory, multitasks, features a real keyboard which doesn’t cost extra, and overall cost less than the low-end iPad by about $200. I can wait.

87 Comments on “Obligatory Quick Assessment of the iPad”

  1. I’ll be looking forward to the time when it has all the functionality of a Wacom tablet, including pressure & angle stylus* sensitivity. I’m sure many other artists are waiting for the same thing, because at that price point an artist tablet is a hell yes.

    *Must have. Most artists aren’t particularly comfortable with finger-painting— plus you need more fine-grade line work.

  2. The multitasking is an issue.

    Also, I’m a bit tunnel-visiony on this, I will admit, but I don’t see why you’d make a tablet computer without making it so that people could use their existing graphics apps on it. I was kinda hoping for an iPod Touch crossed with a Cintiq, and while it looks like you can paint some fun stuff up in Brushes, I already have a very expensive but extensive and serious art program in Photoshop. I have Colours on my iPod Touch, and that is certainly fun, but it’s strictly for fun, and not a serious alternative for concept art or whatnot.

    I’ve got my ereader with my iPod….though the larger screen of the iPad might be nice. I’ve got my games on the iPod. And so on…

    So, in short, for all the frivolous things I’d want the iPad for, my iPod mostly takes care of already.

  3. “Most artists aren’t particularly comfortable with finger-painting— plus you need more fine-grade line work.”

    I believe you can use certain capacitive styli.

  4. “. I have Colours on my iPod Touch, and that is certainly fun, but it’s strictly for fun, and not a serious alternative for concept art or whatnot.”

    I would expect the larger screen will invite more serious software for the iPad.

  5. I can’t wait till bookcasters start scaring the living shit out of everybody. I plan on being one. So please, Mr. Jobs, open up a free-book area using the ePub format (which is what iBook uses) for free downloads a la podcasting.

    I’m not sure y’all realize what a serious shot across the bow of dedicated e-book readers this thing is going to be for commercial publishing as well, and what an eleventh-hour save it is for digital periodicals. I notice no one has paid attention to the e-book pricing, either.

    This thing will also end up being a great MIDi controller.

  6. With a good, pressure-sensitive stylus an artist can have a field day with a tablet.

    Acer has already done it with their convertible tablet netbooks.

  7. The iPAD has an IPS LCD display from Hydis. These are very special LCD displays that are only found on the very finest computers (previously, only on $2500+ thinkpads). I bought a 24″ widescreen IPS my mom last summer and they cost 50% more than a standard display. They have 180 degree viewing angles, best colors, highest contrast, from better physics, i.e. everything but area dimming.

    The CPU horsepower in an ATOM is, well, pathetic. It can’t even run MS-Word 2007 or play a movie.

    I think your assessment is biased by netbook ownership, sorry … :-) :-)

    What do you get with a $200 netbook? upkeep headache. The ‘privilege’ of integrating a software suite onto your computer, at a cost of 20-80 man-hours. What do you get with a $600 iBook? None of that, you save 80 hours of work …

  8. systemBuilder:

    Having both run MSWord 2007 and watched movies on my netbook, I doubt the veracity of your comment. Nor have I found the upkeep at all onerous. So, meh.

  9. My Atom box must be special, because it can run Word 2007 and play a movie at the same time.

    Re: iPad…looks shiny, like everything out of Cupertino. One of my points of concern would be the 10″ glass covering the LCD without the benefit of a keyboard deck to protect it when it’s not in use. The iPod touch does fine in that respect, but that piece of glass is only 3.5″ across.

    Then there’s the fact that even though it comes with a touch-enabled version of iWork, the virtual keyboard doesn’t include quotation marks on the QWERTY layout. You have to toggle the layout to the symbols to be able to write quoted speech. That makes for Cormac McCarthy-style dialogue, which really only works when your name is Cormac McCarthy.

    Lastly: not a bad price for the entry-level Super iPod touch, but the size of it makes it neither fish nor fowl. It’s too big to fit into a pocket, and if you have to tote it around in a netbook bag or slipcase, you might as well use a netbook or an ultra-portable laptop…which offer more storage, more capability, and a lower price.

  10. I want something lightweight, with good battery life and a large-enough screen to read and annotate technical PDFs. None of the e-Ink readers are completely right for that job, though the Iliad might come close. The iPad seems to come closer, though they left off a few things I thought would be no-brainers, like a webcam. Lack of USB doesn’t surprise me, though I wish it were different. I was surprised by the pricepoint and the monthly ATT option. I could purchase a month here and there when travelling, rather than paying when I don’t need 3G.

    The ability to read my 1000s of PDF files at a decent resolution is very nearly enough to convince me all by itself. This adds enough other features that it looks very attractive, but then I don’t have an iPod Touch, or a smartphone. I do have a netbook, which I love for many things but is not ideal for reading.

  11. Completely agree with your assessment. I read the press info and said unto myself, “what can this embiggened ipod touch do that my netbook can’t already, and then some?” And the same lame limits on internal memory vis a vis price point? I thought we were beyond that now? *rolls eyes*

    I can VERY much wait for a few generations of this to pass down before I consider it a viable replacement for my netbook.

  12. The tablet aspect of it is what is most appealing for me, which is why I think I’ll go for one over a netbook. I’m both a teacher and a grad student, and laptops and netbooks are really frustrating in classroom situations, even when it would be really nice to have the technology aspect available. I hate it when students bring laptops to class because they physically create a barrier between the students and the rest of the class, and class discussion noticeably decreases when the laptops are up and running, even when the students aren’t off checking facebook or whatever. I think that the tablet–which is closer to the pad and paper of traditional classrooms–might bring the benefits of the tech without creating the isolating effects.

    And that might the one and only positive of the no-multi-tasking: students can’t keep their PDF version of the textbook open AND check facebook at the same time.

  13. Oops. Apparently it’s not really called the “Super.” But seriously. Would any woman have approved of the iPad product name?

  14. systemBuilderon – the CPU in the iPad is most likely nowhere near as fast as an Atom. The video is almost certainly offloaded onto something else, much like is starting to happen to Netbooks.

    The biggest disappointment for me about the iPad is the screen resolution – it’s not even 720p! (it’s 1024×768, which is fine for 720 high, but it’s not widescreen – it’s about 20% too narrow to be a widescreen *sigh*). The _quality_ of the display looks _amazing_ – I can’t believe they actually put an LED-backlit IPS display in something this price, but they kinda missed the HUGE trend of HD video on the Internets. If they had managed 720p resolution on the screen, I could have seen myself getting one. They _really_ need to support Flash video, though.

    If they had wanted to hit it out of the park, they would’ve powered it with Nvidia’s Tegra CPU – dual-core 1ghz ARM-based cores with 1080p video decoding.

    And it could use a microSD slot.

    So close it’s frustrating. :(

  15. No Flash support?
    No Multitasking?
    Requires a kit for access to a keyboard?

    Um, first rule of Apple: wait for the 2nd generation, which will cost the same but have better features and be out relatively soon.

    I just don’t see this as a practical unit, yet.

  16. I’ll do you one better: this is the day Apple jumped the shark. This product reeks of Steve Jobs arrogance. No multitasking? No camera? No USB port? Totally closed environment? Slave to iTunes? Are you kidding me? And I’m a guy with an two iPhones, an iMac, a MacBook pro, and (soon) an AppleTV! I really thought this was gonna be something awesome.

    Someone else wisely noted that Apple can get away with this when they’re the first out of the box. The problem is that they’re now playing catch-up, and they’re horrible when they do that.

  17. I’m with JulieB on this one. My first thought upon seeing this was not some sort of geek squee over the shiny flatness of it all. It was, “Seriously? That sounds like something I’d stick in my undies to hold off the red menace.”

  18. It’s an interesting looking device, but I think I shall hold off purchasing until at least gen 2, and pick up the version that does support multitasking, a camera, SDHC storage, and Flash.

    Also, I just bought my MBP, and have no money to spend on new gadgets anyway. :-)

  19. Here’s the game-changer that no one seems to be mentioning: $30 unlimited contract-free 3G. That’s a really good deal.

    Add that to a device that lets me read Zoe’s Tale, in bed, flat on my back, without a light on, and I’m sold.

    It isn’t a netbook killer. It’s a gadget for reading books and magazines in bed. And watching movies and TV shows.

    And, perhaps, playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. In bed.

  20. Who would have thought Apple would name a product after a feminine hygiene product…

    iPad Lite (16gb w/ wi-fi)
    iPad Maxi (32gb w/ wi-fi)
    iPad Super (64gb w/ wi-fi)

    iPad Lite w/ wings (16gb w/ wi-fi & 3g)
    iPad Maxi w/ wings (32gb w/ wi-fi & 3g)
    iPad Super w/ wings (64gb w/ wi-fi & 3g)

    Also comes with iBuprofin (AppleCare) to help things run smoothly

  21. To the people complaining about the name being too close to a feminine hygiene product: Do you ever use a note pad? Does the concept of a helicopter pad make you cross your legs uncomfortably? I mean…really.

    As for the device’s e-reader capabilities: The backlit screen likely means eye fatigue when reading novels and large amounts of dense text….not to mention horrible glare when reading in sunlight or uneven lighting. I’ll keep my kindle, thank you.

  22. JK: On a 3G network that has already has coverage and transmission issues, and only works on a single locked device. You sure you want to call that a good deal?

  23. I guess I’m one of the few around here that actually likes this thing. I have avoided a netbook because i have a laptop and a desktop. I have avoided Kindle, et al because of no backlight, color display plus the page turning delay. I currently do all my reading on the iPhone, so I’m invested in the eBook idea, but just haven’t found the right device. I think this thing will fill that eBook reader slot. Its not much more than a kindle, and for the extra money you get all that internet connectedness too.

  24. It looks neat, but just doesn’t seem to me to be much more than a bigger iTouch. Though the details I’ve gotten so far as slim so I reserve real judgement until I get the chance to lay a finger on the device.

    I don’ t know, I just kind of expected more. It’s Apple, and somehow I expected a home run, or at the least a triple when they jumped into this space. Instead it feels like a ground-rule double. Good. With potential, but only halfway there.

  25. @Daniel B: I have a strong suspicion that only a man could say what you said. The feminine hygiene product connotation was the first comment from all three women in my office when I announced the name. And I’ve seen it referenced half a dozen times on facebook–by women–as a problematic name. Not to mention “pad of paper” and “notepad” are almost always identified by the type of pad. You never say “hand me that pad!” Whereas if a woman asks “Do you have an extra pad?” every woman immediately assumes she’s asking for a feminine hygiene product.

  26. They won’t be supporting Flash because they consider it a CPU hog, and they’re right. Hopefully this will speed a push to more widespread adoption of HTML5. We’ll see. The reports I’ve read from people who have actually used it are that its extremely snappy runny apps, which doesn’t sound like any netbook I’ve encountered.

  27. I just ordered a nook last week and actually considered canceling it to get this.

    Only double the price for some more stuff.

    Very tempting to me as a ereader / mp3 player. Since that is what I plan on using the nook for. And since the nook’s current music player blows chunks having an ereader w/ itunes sounded pretty good.

    But alas I talked myself out of it. Need lots more info before I would consider buying since I have many many many ebooks already.

    Also I compared the ebook prices in the presentation to Amazon/B&N and the iBookstore is traditional Apple. Costs more. The demo book was the Ted Kennedy book. 50% more from apple than as an ebook from Amazon or B&N.

  28. @Joe Hass: You bet I think that’s a good deal. For no other reason than it will put pressure on Verizon and Sprint to offer similar deals for netbooks and laptops with built-in 3G (or USB 3G sticks).

    The other thing is that I’m guessing that the device itself will pass a crucial test for me: If I fall asleep while reading it in bed and drop it on my face (which I do all the time with real books), it won’t hurt too bad. I’ve tried that experiment with my netbook–accidentally–and damn near took out my eye. Light weight and rounded corners, check.

  29. @SirTomster: Amazon and B&N will likely update their apps for the iPhone to match the features in the iBooks app and to take advantage of the bigger screen. Then we’ll get all three stores on one device.

    Amazon and B&N are both presumably more interested in selling books than selling gadgets, so they’ll want to support the iPad, even though they also compete against it.

    Might WalMart bring out an app and on-line bookstore?

  30. I recommend checking the Defective By Design group before plunging in. Given Apple’s total control over WHAT you use on this thing, including software, books, movies, whatever, I see no advantage to buying an Apple product.

  31. I think I like it, but I’ll have to play with one to get a feel for it and form a final opinion. Superficially, this seems to be less a power device aimed at experienced or sophisticated computer users with needs and desires shaped by using traditional computers, but a computer/internet enabled appliance where most actions are streamlined for the user who doesn’t need to or want to dive into the minutiae of using a computer.

    As for book prices, my understanding is that Amazon is paying full price for books and then selling them at a loss, while Apple isn’t taking a loss but insisting on lower price points that publishers have to accept. Corrections to my understanding would be very welcome.

  32. I gather from other discussions that the big bezel is, in fact, an ergonomic feature because it helps prevent one’s thumbs from messing with the multi-touch screen.

    And I’m in the WTF no camera? camp. This gadget would seem to be ideal for skype.

  33. Nice but ultimately, meh. Bring back the Newton.

    “To the people complaining about the name being too close to a feminine hygiene product: …”

    Maybe that’s something to do with apples in general. Remember that Motts apple juice bottle labels had pictures of split apples with endocarps that looked like vulvas. Perhaps there’s some subconscious meme about Eve and a particular kind of fruit.

  34. Um, I just want to say that I have said, “Hand me that pad,” to other artists and coworkers. And strangely, nobody giggled. (Outwardly. They may all have the inner Beavis, like I do, but they suppress it.)

    Not that I’m getting it–not til issues have been worked out, and who knows, there may be a worthier competitor by then–but I would probably verbally refer to it by the same naming structure I refer to my iPod Touch by: the Pod of I. Therefore, the iPad would become the Pad of I.

  35. I’m pretty sold. Multitasking? Meh, buy a “real” computer. It’d be great for travel and for mostly-zero maintenance as in I don’t have to bother with backup and updates and all that crap, I plug it into my desktop on USB and that’s all taken care of, just like my iFone.

    The technorati are all “Ew! Pew!” They’re paid to do that. I wasn’t even all that curious about the pre-launch hype til I got to watch the demo video but that huge screen without the bulk of a laptop or netbook is teh awesome. Don’t care about a clackity keyboard either as I can type on my iFone almost as fast as on a clackity corporal keyboard.

    Ugh, “a keyboard, how quaint.”

  36. Not supporting Flash is a big ball of stupid. Crapple could argue that it’s too much for the iPod Touch and iPhone — I don’t buy it, but they can argue it. But what’s the excuse for the iPad? It’s not like it’s running more than one thing at a time.

    No webcam, no USB, no SD slot, and not even 720p? What a total crock!

  37. Don’t know how easy it will be to bend this to your will, but amongst the iPad accessories on the Apple website:

    iPad Camera Connection Kit

    The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card.

    Seems to me that someone will make an app to upload/download via USB or SD card… though I will admit that a dongle is less appealing than a built-in slot.

    Dr. Phil

  38. I agree with John. I’m a total Apple Zombie and yet as a general rule I never buy 1st-gen new tech, not even theirs. The first iPod I got was at least 3rd-gen, simply because I thought it ridiculous it only had a monochrome screen and would just be a matter of time before they offered a color one. Bingo, didn’t exactly have to be Nostradamus to predict that. So I’m guessing that around the time iPad hits 3rd-gen, it’ll have a lot of the problems tweaked out of it — multitasking, a camera for video chat (that would have made the thing a day-one purchase for me, so I’m baffled they didn’t include it in their gushing over “holding the internet in your hand!”), and higher storage capacity than this rinkydink 64GB flash drive. So I’ll begin looking into seriously buying one of these in, oh, 2012.

  39. Count me in with the “WTF no multitasking?” “WTF no Flash?” and “WTF no webcam?” crowds. But! The cam is not remotely a dealbreaker — I don’t particularly enjoy videoconferencing anyway. And the multitasking and Flash are both software issues; this thing is clearly powerful enough to handle both.

    I suspect we’ll see an update (at least an announced update) to the iPhone OS before this thing launches, which introduces both features across all iPhone/Touch/Pad platforms. Apple caved on cut-and-paste; they’re starting to look just as silly about these features now that the competition is catching up.

    For me, it’s a fast, lightweight internet appliance (one that’s actually useful, unlike, say, Mobile Safari) and e-reader. In other words, exactly what I’ve been jonesing for since the dawn of Wi-Fi.

    The test for me will be how it handles very low-light situations. If I can’t read in the dark without eyestrain, no sale. And I’ll just keep waiting for some e-book manufacturer to get its head out of its metaphorical ass and build in a friggin’ light.

  40. “Given Apple’s total control over WHAT you use on this thing, including software, books, movies, whatever, I see no advantage to buying an Apple product.”

    If this were true, you might have a point. I would suggest that you stop listening to the tools at Ignorant By Inclination.

  41. My overall impression was “Meh.” If you’ve got an iPod Touch, you can do most of what the iPad does, except for the large screen and the 3G data. If you’ve got an iPhone, as I do, well, now you’ve got the 3G data, too. (Plus a camera and voice phone capability, which the iPad doesn’t have.) Where’s the value add?

    But now, John, you’ve got me looking closer at those Acer Aspire Ones. Throw a decent Linux distribution on one of those, and I could actually use it to do some useful development work…

  42. Erbo,

    Actually, I think the iPod Touch and iPhones users are the core audience for this thing. Think about it – you already know how to use the interface and you can run your apps on it. Now imagine you’d like that same feel, but more screen real estate… there you go.

    People who aren’t used to the multitouch interface, who aren’t yet bought into the Apps ecosystem will be later adopters. Of course not all iPhone/iPod Touch customers will want the iPad…. but some well. And there are 75 million of them.

  43. Seeing as I finally got around to starting Old Man’s War this week, all I know is that if/when I get my new iPad, I’ll be calling it Asshole.

  44. danielb @22: sorry, but the whole “i” meme means that “iPad” sounds like Steve Jobs designed a sleek, glossy, easy-to-use menstrual pad. Hand to God, every conversation about this thing with another woman than I’ve had today has been: “So did you hear the announcement about the iPad?” followed by everybody collapsing into juvenile laughter.

  45. I keep seeing “it’s only a glorified I-Pod Touch”, but isn’t that the whole deal?

    As a 58 year old male who has an I-Pod Touch and and an I-Phone and who has had defective vision since pre-teens this thing looks the goods. At least I’ll be able to see the thing without squinting – but ain’t I sorry I bought that Kindle just before Christmas!

  46. Mythago,

    Ya know, I just don’t get that take – haven’t these people ever taken notes on a notePAD?

  47. My biggest pet peeve is the fact that they still have to use AT&T. I live where there is almost no coverage (and I do live in an urban setting). The black hole as we all call it. Apple needs to start offering the iPhone and iPad through Verizon, which has much better coverage, at least that I’ve found.

    I hate the new keyboard. Since I’m a fast typer, I can’t even imagine trying to type on that thing. It does look like an iPhone on steroids too. The price is way too steep right now and since it’s a first generation, all sorts of bugs will probably pop up.

    I do like my Touch, by the way. Hope you like yours, John.

  48. To the folks who don’t understand why almost all women (and apparently only some men) see “maxipad” when they see “ipad” but not “(something) pad”: it’s because of the “i” vowel and the fact that iPad is meant to be one word. A lot of menstrual pad brands like to prepend syllables to “pad” to create new “words” for branding or reference… like maxipad.

    And obviously Apple likes to prepend an i in order to create new words for branding, which just subconsciously strengthens the association, especially if you have to use feminine hygiene products on a regular basis and have had to put up with all the ad campaigns through the years.

    If the iPad were instead called, say, an “Apple pad”, the associations being tossed about on Twitter wouldn’t exist (or at least, not exist as much).

    (Microsoft came up with “Courier” for their supposedly sekrit tablet project. Now that would have made a nice iName.)

  49. RickWhoIsNotThatRick @ 53:

    Don’t argue with the facts. Yes, you don’t get that take on the name, but, if the reports here are accurate, it is at least a somewhat common reaction among women, maybe very common.

    People take notes on a notepad, not a pad, so the word notepad does not give rise to the same reaction.

    I wonder whether the Apple folks did some name testing as part of their market research and disregarded that reaction for some reason, didn’t get that reaction from their tests, or, due to their mania for secrecy, didn’t test the name. We’ll probably never know.

    It might be that the reaction to the iPad name will happen only the first few times, and will fade away as people get used to the name. We’ll see.

  50. I would like to note for the record that the Nintendo Wii continues to sell quite well for some reason.

  51. re: iPad ~= Maxipad

    Hmm…not sure “pad” has the same association outside the US, but I’m outside the target demographic so I could have just missed it.

    Still, not only did the Wii do ok but there’s barely a snigger at the name any more.

    I’m guessing the max-iPad frivolity will go the same way jokes for a couple of months while it’s new and topical, then a whole lot of “meh”.

  52. Over here in the UK they are known as ‘towels’ – maybe the focus groups were packed with Brits?

  53. Joe Hass @ 17:

    Someone else wisely noted that Apple can get away with this when they’re the first out of the box. The problem is that they’re now playing catch-up, and they’re horrible when they do that.

    Too true! If they hadn’t been so late to the party with their smartphone, they might have owned that market.

    And who even remembers now that Apple tried selling portable digital music players? If they had been first out of the box with those, maybe “MPMan” wouldn’t be as synonymous with those things as “Kleenex” is with facial tissues.

  54. Re snarky takeoffs on the name: my own “GiPhone” (as in ‘giant’) seems to have been an outlier. Somebody on Gizmodo dubbed it the “Max iPad” while the announcement was still going on.

    I would love the chance to play with one in a store. I don’t know that it would be worth $500+ to me, but it seems to have most of the virtues of an e-book reader plus a generic netbook without most of the downsides of either. Of course I’ve always liked the tablet format for a small laptop, it just makes sense you’ll want to use it standing up a good bit.

  55. Most of the complaints can be explained by the limitations of the technology currently available, primarily in batteries.

    In order for a product like the iPad to be useful it has to be able to run all day on battery, and that in turn makes all the other decisions.

    Multitasking works the processor harder, and likely would require a better processor, both of which increase the energy requirements (and perhaps increase heat issues).

    Flash is a notorious CPU hog, which again would decrease battery life.

    So solve everyone’s wishes would involve making iPad bigger and heavier, thus negating its primary target. The iPad is basically Apple entering the ebook market, and doing so with a product that offers enough extra features to make it attractive as a simple computer.

    As for the lack of Verizon support, blame Verizon. The rest of the world has gone GSM and it isn’t up to Apple to support a niche standard just for Verizon.

  56. I like it. First off, I think that multitasking is overrated. There, I said it. And I’m a techie. But as a techie, I’ve never seen the need for multitasking for anybody except me and my tribe. Do normal users need multitasking? Do I most of the time? There are a few that could run in the background, so perhaps you can have a “allow to run in background” switch for Pandora, and have one program allowed at a time. (Heck, allowing Pandora alone to do this would satisfy most of the complaints about multitasking!) One of the issues I encounter a lot is normal people losing track of what’s open, and then messing things up because of it.

    I’m of the opinion that we’re seeing a user interface shift here, on par with adding a windowed interface.

    As far as Flash, good riddance. I’ve never liked it, and want to see a web without it. A major player like Apple not supporting it is the type of thing that will start pushing it out the door, espicially as a website interface.

  57. We don’t like the iPad because its the first apple device that steve jobs didn’t make for himself. Every other apple product has been something steve wanted. Therefore, it appealed to all of the 20 to 40 something techies and geeks like us. This product is for non-geeks. It’s an appliance and it’s targeted to middle-aged moms and kids aged 9 to 19.
    I have kids. All of their friends either have the ipod touch, the iphone, or desperately want one. Practically every mom I see has an iphone. But every mom has almost no clue how to operate their iMac, macbook pro, etc. This is ideal for the stay-at-home mom who wants to do facebook, email, and chat instead of watching oprah. The educational possibilities are also off the charts. My 11-year-old wants to replace his iMac G4 with a macbook pro. That would be overkill for almost everything he actually does on a computer. An iPad is half the price and fits the bill almost perfectly.

  58. I wish Adobe and Apple would make flash work. It looks like some teamwork needs to happen there, and neither side wants to take the first step (Thanks for the link RickWhoIsNotThatRick).

    Why should Apple take the first step? It would open up the rest of the web that is using flash to their users. Yes, it would cost them some share short term, but _not_ supporting Flash is keeping me from buying an iAnything at the moment. Yes, HTML5 and H.264 are great stuff, _in the future_ when everyone is using/coding for it. We live in the here and now, and supporting a defacto standard is a reasonable expectation.

    I’d love a cam for running skype and being able to video conference wherever I am. That was a feature my sony clie had back in 2002. I can only imagine that it has gotten cheaper since then. I wish it could multitask, as running pandora and google maps while mounted on my dash would be an ideal in car solution for music/navigation. I would like to see Apple partner with more than just AT&T domestically for their coverage as well. The processing power/ram/battery life to deliver “insanely great” performance likely killed that one.

    Being able to hook up my digital camera is a nice feature, as I can then sort/scan through photos before I move them to my main machine. Games are going to be interesting, as the larger screen and resolution are going to make for interesting opportunities. I would love to have this to watch movies on when traveling with my five year old. Watching “Up” made a four hour lay over at O’hare bearable. Being able to load up a few movies and shows on a big screen, as well as some games (on the fly via 3G) would be a great way to fill the gaps on a plane.

  59. Here’s another thing about the iPad (and the iPhone/iPod Touch) that I like: they can update the OS. Thus, if multitasking is added, I don’t need to buy new hardware.

  60. Sorry, clarification: The Clie had a little cam that could flip around to face the front/back of the device – not skype.

  61. Regarding multitasking, my understanding is that Apple made a design decision not to enable multitasking (at least, not for third-party apps) on the iPhone/iTouch/iPad line, because if one of their own apps is running in the foreground while someone else’s app is hogging 75% of the CPU, the typical users are not going to say “hmm, let me open up the Task Manager, find out which processes are using up so much of the system’s resources, and kill them.” They’re going to say “CURSE YOU APPLE AND YOUR SLOW-AS-MOLASSES EMAIL PROGRAM I WILL NEVER BUY YOUR PRODUCTS AGAIN”.

    Them as who want Real Laptops with Real Multitasking can go out and get a MacBook. Them as who want Real Laptops with Real Multitasking and don’t want to spend MacBook-like wads of cash can of course go out and get Windows/Linux netbooks; Apple is never going to go into that end of the Real Laptop market because they want to sell products with Real Profit Margins.

  62. @Phiala
    the iPod touch can already handle playing itunes while running apps. The earbuds have an independent volume control. At least that’s what my 11-year-old tells me. I expect the iPad will have similar functionality.

  63. Phiala @ 69:
    The iPhone OS is set up such that music can continue to play when the user switches to another app. I’d be very surprised if the iPad couldn’t do that.

    re multitasking in general: There are rumors that the next version of the iPhone OS will include some controlled way of running apps in the background. And if they do it for the iPhone, they’ll do it for the iPad.

    Of course, rumor also had it that the next version of the iPhone OS was supposed to be announced yesterday. And if multitasking was going to be possible, it seems like they might’ve mentioned it.

  64. Rick @53: again, the trigger is the “i” meme for all things electronic (and parodies thereof). If Apple did design some kind of futuristic electronic menstrual management product, you just know they would call it the iPad.

    Maybe it’s just that women think periods are funnier than men do.

    Blunt Instrument @64: there genuinely is not a tiny switch in the uterus that turns off one’s geek potential after the birthing process. That said, perhaps this is a function of where you live. Here in the SF bay area, the people I hear crooning over the iPad are the same type of nerds who bought the Air (despite all its flaws) largely so that when they’re hanging out at the coffee shop, everybody can see that they a) are on the Cutting Edge of Tech and b) have way too much disposable income.

    Re using the iPad for movies, the no-HDMI is kind of a killer for me. If it were a big movie/media screen with high definition, there might be a reason for me to lug one more large, please-remove-from-your-carryon breakable expensive device to the airport so I could watch movies and read ebooks. In its current form, how is it better than my existing laptop that I have to drag around anyway? Other than being cooler and signaling my willingness to spend lots of money, I mean.

  65. Dr. Phil @41: How hard would it have been to simply add a microUSB jack and/or an SD slot? The idea of only getting those features through a dongle reminds me of the laptop I had in the mid-’90s, with a PCMCIA network card and a dongle that always managed to break off. What a pain-in-the-ass.

  66. mythago @72: Touche’. I didn’t mean to sound so chauvinistic – the perils of generalization. Some of my best friends are geekettes. Lame of me.

    My point was not that moms generally are not tech-savvy. My point is that there are a great number that are not. There’s also a great number of retirees who are practically tech-phobic. The iPad is meant for them.

    My limited worldview is likely a function of my location (Suburban East Coast) and age (>40). The moms I speak of were never geeks. They have limited work experience with computers. They live in constant fear of “breaking something.” But they ALL have iphones.
    Anecdote Alert: My iphone-wielding, macbook-pro-using (definitely not stay-at-home) wife saw it and immediately said “That would be perfect for me.” My 13-year-old and all of his friends were chatting/skyping on their macbooks/ipod touches during/after the announcement (instead of studying for mid-terms) and were instantly smitten.

    This will appeal to tech-phobic people and kids.
    There are lots of them. It will do well.

  67. There was a good pro/con bit in the New York Times today. About the same kind of comments found here, with a Kindle side. I won’t buy anything like this until it’s double sided, like a book. That way the screen is safer. These Pixi Qi screens are far more affordable and two of them doesn’t need to double the cost.

  68. I wonder if Apple will ever make a stand-alone version of the iPad. Use of my “real” computer — an older iMac — has dropped considerably since I got an iPod Touch. Getting an iPad would probably cause it to drop even further.

    An Airport Extreme, a Time Capsule for automagic backups and shared storage, a wifi-enabled printer, and an iPad version N for each family member might be sufficient for many families.

    Such an arrangement might cut into Apple’s desktop sales, but it might cut even more into non-Apple desktop sales.

  69. Wow,
    just one day after the Big Announcement, and here we are.
    It won’t do THIS, it won’t do THAT…Jeez !
    It’s enough to make ya barf. And nobody even HAS one yet.
    point #1. Ahem. the reason it won’t multitask is,
    TaDa !
    Most people don’t!!! Get over yourself. If you’re so f%$#ng busy you HAVE to listen and work and read and fly and all that, then you use a LAPTOP.
    This is NOT a laptop. Jeez !
    point#2. This is a BASE model for which Apple, in it’s wisdom, wants to sell you UPGRADES. Little pieces of tech goodness that will make you say “Sqeeee” or “Want!” or the like. Then you’ll buy it and their stock will rise (mine too!)
    That’s the reason that, AT IT’S LAUNCH, it won’t straighten your spine and win the war for the Allies (Thanks George…we miss you).
    You have to pay and pay for the goodies !
    You all should know this ! Jeez !

  70. @7 # systemBuilder:
    The IPS panels from Hydis aren’t _that_ expensiv.
    Aftermarket Hydis IPS panel for my Thinkpad (12,1″ 1280×800) only cost 150$ from the friendly ebay extortionist. (That price was incl. digitizer i dont need and shipping.)

    But yes, the iPad sucks, no real computer/OS, still vendor lock-in, hf.

  71. mehh@80:

    “the iPad sucks”: this is based on your extensive use of the product? that’s not shipping yet? or were you at the launch yesterday?

    Why is it so hard for people to say “I dunno, at first glance it appears not to meet my needs, so I probably won’t buy one” instead of “it sux”?

    [P.S. “no real computer/OS”? it’s running freakin’ UNIX!]

  72. Ok, let’s see, wife and I are Windows computer techs at a large research lab. We have a house full of Macs (with a few windows and linux vm’s), an Apple TV sync’d to a Mac with 400 odd movies ripped to it; and we’re over 42 and 52 years old. We’re not clueless soccer moms or urban hipsters (live in the mountains of NM and closest coffee shop is 30 miles away) wanting a useless toy to show off status or some such.

    We (wife, child, and myself) all want one of these. If nothing else, they’d likely replace 2 out of 3 laptops we now have littering the living room and allow me to move my desktop up to workshop as well. For me, these are the players for our a/v collection, our connection out to the internet, e-book readers (finally picked up paper back copy of Old Man’s War, after reading Tor pdf for a couple years on my work machine) and cool game players. Despite having picked up a Wii in October (that name’s moved beyond jokes so likely Apple will also bend language around to iPad use), am finding that we (daughter and I) split our game time almost equally between iPhone and Wii.

    As far as gen. 1 goes, yeah, no camera’s a bummer. Kidlet has fun on iPhone, taking pics and playing around with various picture apps. Lacking Flash isn’t that big of a deal to me. A lot of sites are starting to move to HTML to get away from the dangers of security Flash exploits. More will follow. Multi-tasking isn’t all that important either. On my iPhone, I can start it checking mail, fire up some music and then start playing a game or surfing the web and it’ll let me know when email’s in. For a somewhat more specialized device than a regular computer, that’ll work for me.

    The two things that I do hope get addressed are a way of streaming movies from my iTunes AV server to the pad, and not require synching movies over in order to watch them. Was really hoping this thing would be like an wireless Apple TV with built in monitor. The other thing is, I hope there’s a way to use a stylus on this. Really want Wacom Cintiq functionality with this thing. Would be sweet!

  73. Heinlein had cell phones (and dead zones) in 1948 when he wrote Space Cadet. Do we have to wait 50 years for a Zoe’s PDA? Because I want one now! And I want to listen to Delhi Morning.

  74. *wants Zoe’s PDA too* Though as it is, I think the iPad trends toward the “desks” in Ender’s Game in its design. I would be terrified to buy it, because I scratch every screen I own at one time or another, and that thing is ALL screen. I don’t own an iPhone (don’t have AT&T and I am not going to pay to switch carriers) and while the iPad intrigues me, I think I’ll wait for the dust to settle before considering a purchase, as I did with the iPod. I don’t have an e-book reader so it will be interesting to see how that aspect of it plays out.

    @PRT – interesting point about the classroom barrier that laptops present. I’m a college student myself and I understand the sensation, however I don’t know if the iPad would be any less distracting. Not to mention students could just tilt it up against the desk and the same problem would occur. If it was set flat on a table it also means that you have more of an eye-flick to pay attention to the instructor than you do now with a laptop, but I don’t know if that counts as a positive or a negative.

    I also chimed in to say, being female, I had the same reaction as some others on here to the name “iPad”. The MadTV sketch of an “iPad” as an actual feminine hygiene product happened years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsjU0K8QPhs
    However, I remember the same sort of discussion about the Wii when it came out, so it’s probably safe to say that the product name will survive the mocking.

    As for me, I am now waiting for the iPud, the iPeed, the iPood, and perhaps the most accurate name: the iPaid.

  75. @85 the “iPaid” ..hee I love it…

    I want one of these. I have a work laptop for working and an iPod for portable music, but I don’t like the smallness of the iPhone/iTouch for the calendar/pda/email functionality. This product “speaks” to me as I have a simple phone and wanted something like this for all the other things for which they designed this (dvds/cd’s/digital photo album/e-reader/email.) I find I don’t need as my computery things in the souped-up pda device I am looking for.

    I work in the IT field and really like apple design products. I inherited an iPhone that I used as an iTouch but I found I went back to my paper calendar/pda and my iPod, becuase the keyboard was too small; this looks better to me.

    I also don’t need a camera in it. I like my SLR digital camera for pics; I do however, like the size of this for a portable digital album. I will also wait to see the next generation though. I just spent $$$ on a souped up, large screen iMac for my other non portable computer needs and it actually was cheaper than the windows based machine I was comparing it to.

  76. Ryan: The only thing holding back Flash on the iPad is Apple. Adobe is rumored to have written a Flash player but Apple won’t allow it in the store.

    Flash player is available for Android and Maemo and will shortly be available for webOS. It is supposed to work quite well on the more powerful ARM smartphones.

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