Yesterday Apple unveiled their new tablet device, the iPad (insert clever pun here). Here’s one developer’s opinion based on what I have seen and read. This is not a hands-on review of the device, just a quick take.
What It Has
The iPad has a lot of cool features but nothing really ground-breaking. Time will tell if the device will find it niche or not.
- Safari – For browsing the web, the iPad looks great. Let’s hope a Flash plugin comes along sooner than later though.
- Mail – The user experience in the mail application is clean and intuitive looking. It supports all the popular web mail providers as well.
- Photos – Very nice way to browse photo collections.
- Multimedia – You get video, YouTube, iTunes, and an iPod app. All of these look right at home on the iPad. They are Apple’s bread and butter.
- The App Store – The new SDK will allow developers to optimize their apps for the iPad. For now, existing iPhone/iPod Touch apps will upscale to the larger screen size.
- iBooks – The app has a Shelfari look & feel to it. As far as the reading experience, I’ll reserve final judgment until I see it first-hand, but it is not eInk. It will never compete with the Kindle, Sony Reader, and other eReaders when it comes to eye strain during long periods of reading.
- Other Apps – You also get Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts and Spotlight Search. All of these apps have the Apple polish.
- Battery Life – Apply claims up to 10 hours. If so, that is fantastic, but does not come close to eReaders.
What It Needs
Here are some things Apple could add in the second generation that would make the iPad more useful for developers and geeks like myself.
- Run Multiple Apps Simultaneously – The iPad should be running a scaled down version of Snow Leopard. Instead it’s a scaled-up iPhone. Working on spreadsheets and presentations in iWork is great, so long as you do not want to do both at the same time.
- Stylus Input – A tablet without handwriting input? Wow.
- Webcam – I am thinking this was left out in order to get AT&T to agree to the $30 data plan. (EDIT: It does have a microphone.)
- USB – I know the size of the devices makes this an issue (as does iPhone OS).
- Video Output – It would make the iPad ideal for giving presentations on the road. (A cable/adapter will be available as a separate purchase. No idea if it will support VGA or DVI and what resolutions.)
- SD Card Slot – This seems like a no brainer. Practically every device larger and smaller than the iPad has one.
- GPS – Google Maps would be much cooler if the iPad knew where it was.
- Verizon - No offense, AT&T, but let's open things up to a little competition here.
No, I will not be buying an iPad. If I had some extra money for a tablet device, I would rather spend it on an Archos 9. It supports video conferencing, handwriting, runs all my windows apps, and it can multitask. Not too shabby for $549, in my opinion.
Will You Buy One?
What do you think? Is the iPad something you need (or want)? Tell us why or why not in the comments.