Tuesday, 1 June 2010
The iPad has been flying off the shelves in most Apple stores over the last few weeks but what are people's reasons for buying one? All arguments aside it does look like a nice piece of hardware and is fun play about on but does the iPad have any real practical application?
At this point I would like to point out I don't own an iPad but I have played about on one. If someone has found a practical use for the iPad then feel free to comment below however I spent a good amount of time playing about and struggled to find a situation I would need to use one. After trying out some of the apps made specifically for the device I found they were exactly as I expected. Exactly the same as the iPhone apps. The majority are good but they don't seem to justify the higher prices compared to the iPhone apps. This confused me since the pricing of the iPhone apps seemed to suit the market perfectly. Also the lack of 'lite' versions, to try an app before you buy, forces people to waste money on bad apps.
The screen is just as responsive, if not more, than the iPhone. It's incredibly easy to use, beautiful looking and self explanatory for practically any age group. After playing about on it for a bit I got thinking what practical use would I need the iPad for? I already own the iPhone 3GS and everything the iPad can do so can my iPhone (as well as take pictures and video). The graphics are better but doesn't offer anything to expand the experience apart from a bigger screen. So since I already own the iPhone, and love it, the advantage I would be gaining from buying this would be a bigger screen to do what I can already do on my iPhone. This could seem like a feasible thing to upgrade to when it comes to watching videos but with the screen resolution not matching up with the majority of videos, causing big black bars to appear above and below, it doesn't seem to be worth the money.
The fact that the device doesn't have a camera also seems to be a horrible marketing ploy to get everyone to upgrade when they inevitably release an iPad with a camera. With the new iPhone having a camera on the front and the back there is no real excuse for not having a camera on such a powerful device apart from getting people to upgrade.
I didn't think that not having flash on it would bother me that much since on my iPhone it isn't usually a problem but when you are looking at everything on a bigger screen it does become a lot more obvious. The majority of websites I go on all use flash on their content and by not being able to look at them is big minus. This means I can't use this device as my main web browser because I can't see all the websites I like to visit.
I can't see many people actually doing work on an iPad since a laptop is far better equipped. Also it's a huge hassle getting documents onto the iPad since you have to do it through iTunes which isn't a very user friendly process. Currently the only other process to do it is through Drop Box or by emailing yourself the documents which is an awkward way of working around the problem. The keyboard wasn't that bad but you can only use it for a few seconds at a time because of the lack of actual keys. I found I tend to drift to the right while typing, which I hadn't noticed before, and kept having to correct myself.
Potentially the one good use of the device would be to start reading E-Books since this device's sole purpose was to release the iBook store. The future is going to be reading off devices such as the iPad, and it demonstrates how this can be done well, but the price far exceeds the justification of this single function. It is also nice to point out that the iBook store will also be released for the iPhone this summer.
The pricing to use the devices 3G capabilities is obscene and unless you are travelling all the time seems unnecessary. The size makes it not as portable and for travelling the iPhone is a lot easier to handle with practically the same functions. The iPad does seem to be a device made to use at home or in an office.
Overall the iPad is a good piece of hardware but because it seems like it can so easily be improved then I wouldn't suggest buying one of these first generation devices. It is a device that is trying to do do two things but by attempting both does neither one well. Once another company matches the iPad's screen quality with flash and an open app store it will easily be able to topple Apple's initial dominance on tablet computers. No one has been able to match Apple's touch screen devices yet so it will be interesting to see how long the competition take to catch up. Apple have gone about this device the wrong way and most people now can start to see through their tactics of keeping back features and insulting it's consumers intelligence. It will take more than clever marketing for me to buy this device.