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Apple iPad Review: The Good and The Bad

Many people have referred to the iPad as “the iPhone on steroids” as it seems to be a beefed-up version of the now humble iPhone. But for all the excitement generated, you can add just as much criticism of what Apple seem to have left out from their latest “revolutionary device”.

apple iPad devices
apple iPad devices

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is hoping to revolutionize the tablet market by making the technology palatable to the masses, but many people believe the product falls short in solving many of the problems faced by his competitors and instead actually adds new ones into the mix.

What’s right about the iPad?

But let’s first focus on what is right about the iPad. Well, it looks really, really good and initial reviews say that the speed of the CPU is something to be marvelled at. Web pages load pretty damn fast and it doesn’t seem to have a problem with moving from app to app. This is due to Apple building the chip that powers the iPad in house rather than going direct to Intel.

Its eBook facility is also stunning but still faces stiff competition from Kindle. Kindle edges the iPad’s eBook because of its huge battery life, but then again it doesn’t need to run apps so consumes far less power (however Kindle has “e-read” which basically makes the text softer on the eyes and its dam cheaper).

But the iPad’s future capabilities for interactively reading newspapers look extremely cool, as the Sports Illustrated demo video shows.

Dan Graham of Techradar.com says, “Already there are five publishers who have signed up to offer content to the iBooks store – including Penguin, Macmillion and Simon & Shuster.

“As it did with the iPod and iTunes, Apple has blown apart a burgeoning sector of the market – ebooks and created something which is accessible to all.”

But the praise is far from universal.

What’s wrong with the iPad?

Here are a selection of the things Apple are being chastised for omitting; no drag and drop file management, no USB port, no SD slot, no camera and no full GPS.

Also, unless Apple approve the apps, they don’t get put in the app store so there is no open development environment.

Two of the biggest problems are the fact it will not allow multi-tasking and it cannot run Flash. With a lack of multi-tasking capacity the iPad is shaping up to be a “one trick at a time” kind of pony because the 1.0 version is running iPhone OS 3.2. A possible deal-breaker for some.

The age-old problem of Apple products not being compatible with Flash continues as Jobs and Adobe still fail to meet in the middle. As Apple sits, waits and hopes for HTML5 to take off quickly and start to disinter-mediate Flash as the primary technology powering video playback on the web, this problem will not go away… and this could take some time.

The iPad has been called “the Emperor’s new clothes” by some critics for they way it fails to truly revolutionize the tablet technology. Unsurprisingly perhaps, Yahoo! Tech’s Christopher Null had this to say: “With a smaller screen than anyone had thought, and – basically – a juiced-up iPhone operating system, Apple isn’t reinventing the wheel here.

“The iPad’s utility seems awfully thin. There’s just no reason to use it to run iPhone apps unless your vision is rotten, and even Jobs was making mistakes when he was trying to type on the thing, making it a poor laptop substitute.”

Impossible task

Mashable.com referred to the Media hype surrounding the device’s release as “the lingering Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field”, but as this subsides there is a danger the iPad will flatter to deceive and leave even its most loyal fan base unfulfilled.

Unfortunately, Apple themselves gave the iPad the impossible task of living up to such the outrageous hype that surrounded its release. But we have to bare in mind that this is iPad v1.0, and in time this beautiful looking thing will become one of the most desired pieces of technology on the planet.

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