Putting it mildly the tech community as a collective set of geeks and bloggers is less than wowed by the iPad. The Wall Street Journal stated that "the last time there was this much excitement about a tablet there was commandments on it," yet I must have missed the 'thou shalt not name your mobile device after feminine hygiene products.' Instead we may have had a simple touch screen netbook in front of us, and in no way worthy of the hype. This is not to say that the Apple iPad is not without its use. In fact it may actually signal a major step forward for mobile computing, even if it is not there yet.
Situations When it Comes in Handy
-The iPad is simply a large iPod Touch, and in this way you may want to simply maximize your iPod Touch use. If you find that the functions of your iPod Touch require both constant internet access and a larger format you may find the iPad the right unity of these needs. Take a look at your iPod Touch use and see if it actually warrants what is really and expensive upgrade.
-The major criticism that is coming out around the iPad is that it is not truly a mobile computer, and instead a mobile device. You still have to sync it to your computer to really get it going and it does not exist autonomously. This is a relative failure for Apple, but it does have its advantages. This can allow the content of your base computer to remain mobile in a way that allows it to still be accessible, even if it is not as much on a regular MacBook.
-All the features of the iPod Touch and iPhone are often too difficult for some people to read and interact with. The iPad makes this a little easier for those who have found the smaller format less accessible. This definitely makes the iPod Touch's function as an electric book reader more plausible, and can be preferable for certain types of games.
-The photo features on the iPad are nice, even if they are not revolutionizing anything. Browsing through these on a large scale touch screen is both responsive and option oriented, which is a major selling point for some people.
-iWork feature (as per reader comment) is a great way to create and edit documents on a move without carrying a laptop around
Reasons to Get an iPad
-Many people have been waiting for a tablet computer from Apple for quite a long time, and this is the first time they have peeked into this market. It is not perfect, but if you prefer the Mac format and design concepts this may be where you want to go. This is really only going to be true if you are already in the market for a tablet computer, and if you are not do not let the pre-release hype be a deciding factor.
-We cannot walk away from the fact that the iPad is a big iPod, and with that means all the iPod Touch media features are in both a larger format and with a comparable storage space. This means that using the iPad for a portable media player is a nice option. It may be even easier to use for watching videos than a normal MacBook because of its dimensions, and it is still cheaper. Try things like Hulu and Netflix streaming videos on the iPad and you may find that it is great for travel and college dorms.
-Apple has finally unlocked one of their mobile products with the iPad and this may be the most hopeful sign from this dismal release. You are not going to get 3G speeds from from other carriers like T-Mobile because of the specifics of its modem supports, but this does allow for a much more open series of options.
-For a netbook the price of the iPad is not as bad as one might expect. The base 16 GB model is marketed at a mere $499.99, but there is still the hefty models going for over $800. If you want to get a smaller model you are going to find that it does outperform most of its competitors in terms of your bank account. If you are really going to want to use this as a true netbook you are going to have to pay $130 more for each specific model to get the 3G network.
-You really cannot deny how small the iPad truly is. In terms of sex appeal it slams with a width of only a half and inch and a weight clocking in at a stellar pound and a half. This may make it great for constant mobility, but you are going to have to protect that screen.
-For a mobile computer its battery life is fairly impressive, even if it does not have the muscle to go to bat with a real computer. It has a ten hour battery life and can sustain stand by mode for about a month.
-Now that the iTunes' App Store has broken through the 140,000 iPhone applications marker you will find that having equal access to them on the iPad is quite a treat. This has moderate success as you will often find that using them in full screen can get a little resolution problems. Many of the built in applications, such as You Tube and Calendar, actually have been modified to work with the iPad's specific hardware. There is also a new SDK for iPad applications specifically, which may lead to a future of brand new applications with this device in mind.
-There is no way to deny how Brushes works on the iPad, which is beyond anything people could have conceptualized on the iPhone. It is not really different in any significant way on the iPad, but the size really does lend itself to this application.
-iWork – ability to create and edit documents in a mobile office environment (as per reader comment)
iPad Device Category
How do you really consider this device? Is it just another PDA like mobile device in the same lineage as the iPod and iPhone? Does it stand alone as its own type of computer, new and removed from the history of mobile computing? To really decide that you have to look at what you get with an iPod Touch and what you expect from a full fledged computer.
In terms of design the iPad takes its aesthetics from the iPhone, but much of the tablet computer model seems to mimic this. Does the iPad do this excessively? In most ways yes, but much of this can also be attributed to the branded design elements that Apple applies to all of their devices. This is part of how Apple has maintained its brand image, which is extended by the way their devices look.
Over all the iPad cannot be referred to simply as a mobile computer because it lacks most of the features and independence that come from a computer. Until the iPad can stand on its own there is no way to put it on par with any laptop available, even at the lower level.
Instead we may need to match the iPad against other netbooks and tablet computers to really see how it stands up. Right now it is not comparing well simply because its based on a mobile device model rather than that of a computer, and in this way it fails as both.
Until the iPad takes its next step in development it is going to have to be seen on its own. There are possibilities for the iPad, especially since it is likely to be in the image of future mobile computers, but it is just not there yet.
We only can say that iPad may be a new device category as a whole and therefore peop
le who plan to buy an eBook reader or a portable media player may get iPad instead. It wasn't clear at first but now it appears that iPad is a big threat to those type of devices which are not a smartphone nor a PC.
Only a certain amount of time will tell if future models and development within the App Store will validate this technology in general. Just wait for the iPad: With Wings, I'm sure Steve Jobs will stand in front of a projection screen to tell you why that release will be even more defining.