Apple iPad – Revolutionary?

Last Edited – January 29, 2010 by Randall Crock
Filed under: Technology

I, like every other tech blogger out there will now put my two cents in on the new iPad. I have been loosely following the rumors, looking forward to a new device from Apple. I have always been a Windows PC kind of guy, sticking with my Zune and Vista, but I was intrigued with what Apple could do with their new tablet. My thoughts about what they would do stemmed from my experience with other tablet PCs. In high school, I used the HP TC4200/4400 for three years, and really liked the convertible tablet. I eventually got a Lenovo X61 tablet for myself for college, and I really like the touch features integrated into it. I figured Apple would go for something along the lines of the old HP TC1000, a slate type device with detachable keyboard and a stylus so you could still use pen input. The absence of a stylus on the new iPad was a disappointment, as well as not having USB ports.

The lack of a stylus really bothers me, because what I like most about my tablet is the ability to take notes on it, but still have them be hand written. I realize they were trying to keep the device thickness down, but why not offer a model with has a stylus? You are already offering 6 different versions, what’s one or two more? The stylus is a key part of the tablet PC market, so I don’t think that is what Apple was going for with the iPad.

Closer to the release speculation was that the new device, if it existed, was simply an over-sized iPhone / iPod touch, and it turns out they were correct. This is disappointing because the iPad could have been so much more. As I see it, it is more of a contender with the eBook market than with the tablet PC market. The Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook are certainly looking at some stiff competition; with cellular on the iPad to rival the kindle, and a full color screen to go against the nook Amazon and B&N are looking at the new contender. Unfortunately, since the new iPad doesn’t have an e-ink display, it will fall a little short in the eBook region. That’s ok though, since Steve has put it forward as a netbook replacement.

People I know who have netbooks bought them because they were cheap, light, and had excellent battery life. They are great for surfing the web, basic Flash video, and email. The iPad falls flat in a few of these areas. My friends with iPhones hate typing long messages on them, the iPad costs more than a gold-dipped diamond, and there is still no Flash support. This last one perplexes me; in three generations of iPhone, and ump-teen years working with Adobe, Apple hasn’t caught on to developing a Flash port for the iPhone despite the enormous demand for it. The new iPad doesn’t support Flash either, since it runs a modified version of the iPhone OS.

I honestly would have seriously thought about getting an iPad if it ran a stripped down version of Mac OS X, and that is significant coming from me. My stance is that most Apple products are overpriced, overhyped average computers, but before I saw that the iPad didn’t run Mac OS, I was really thinking about it. I have been looking at getting an eBook reader or netbook recently, and this would have fit the bill perfectly. Would it have been too hard to integrate the touch features into Mac OS? There is already support for tablets from Wacom, so it shouldn’t be that hard to port from the iPhone and Wacom to come up with a working system, This is speaking as a programmer who has worked on other cross-platform software; it would still be a giant pain in the ass, but not impossible for Apple to have done in a reasonable amount of time.

Finally, to Apple marketing: you usually come up with great names for things, even if they do infringe copyright, so iPad? Really? Really?? You could have done so much better. iPod has become synonymous with digital media player, iPhone with smartphone, and Apple was one of the first innovates of the Personal Computer way back in the day. I will reserve final judgement for when I get to play with one, but for now, I’ll keep looking into my Kindle or Eee PC.

3 Responses to “Apple iPad – Revolutionary?”

  1. I think what they were aiming for is a device that is fun to surf the Internet while you lay on the couch. I was also dissapointed about the USB port and no flash support and the iPhone opperating system instead of a full blown mac os x. However apple has a bunch of smart people and I think there may be capabilities we don’t know about. Btw I’m at dsst and Ian was telling me about your fractals thing so I googled you. Interesting stuff.

  2. I understand what they were going for, but a lot of people were really hoping for a real competitor to Windows based tablet PCs. I was just disappointed that they didn’t do more with it; they typically have really innovative stuff and push boundaries, but this isn’t really anything new.

  3. Fascinating! But you might want to check your comment queue more often. You seem to be receiving some spam comments. I had a similar problem myself. So now I check everything carefully.