Wed - 18.10.2017

Will Apple's iPad live up to expectations?

Will Apple's iPad live up to expectations?

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been compared to a real-life Willy Wonka many times, and today, with the unveiling of the much anticipated iPad, it's once again plain to see why. But will the iPad live up to all the hype it has attracted?

In a press release, Apple calls the iPad a "magical & revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." PC World's Melissa Perenson reported that she had time to play around with the iPad at the San Francisco unveiling, and was "a bit underwhelmed." She also wrote that she "can see a lot of really useful applications for the iPad, but the reality is that it looks and behaves like an iPhone on steroids. And that's not exactly a good thing."

The tablet-like device for browsing the Internet, reading and sending e-mail, watching videos, playing games, reading and more has a 9.7 inch (25 centimetres) LED-backlit display. It will retail for US$499 for the 16-gigabyte model, half the price of what some analysts predicted, Bloomberg pointed out. The 32-gig model will cost $599. It will be available in late March worldwide, and Wi-Fi + 3G models of the iPad will be available in April in the United State and other selected countries for $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model.

Perenson also reported that even though the device is slim - just an inch thick - at 1.5 pounds (0.7 kilograms), "it is too heavy to hold in one hand," which makes it difficult to handle. She also stated that "the iPad's interface looked exactly like a blown-up version of my iPhone 3Gs."

Gizmodo's Mark Wilson meanwhile described it as "substantial but surprising light. Easy to grip. Beautiful. Rigid. Starkly designed." He also said that the iPad's biggest selling point and benefit is speed. "It feels at least a generation faster than the iPhone 3GS. Lags and waits are gone, and the OS and apps respond just as quickly as you'd hope. Rotating between portrait and landscape modes, especially, is where this new horsepower manifests in the OS."

The basics

The iPad, which has a battery life of up to 10 hours, features 12 next-generation Multi-Touch applications, every app works in both portrait and landscape, and it automatically animates between views as the user rotates the device in any direction, making it "dramatically more interactive and intimate than on a computer," according to Apple. It will also run nearly all of the more than 140,000 apps on the App Store, including those already purchased for iPhones and iPod touches.

Also today, Apple launched a new version of iWork for iPad, the first desktop-class productivity suite designed specifically for Multi-Touch. The iPad will also sync with iTunes like the iPhone and iPod touch, and use a standard Apple 30-pin USB cable, so it can be synced with a Mac or PC.

Newspapers and magazines

Publishers looking for a new revenue stream have had high expectations for the iPad, but industry watchers noted that at the unveiling, Jobs and his team spent a lot of time on TV shows and video games (about 15 minutes, according to Valleywag), and also discussed productivity applications, social networking and other non-traditional content and applications. However, there were no demos of iMagazines and not much time was spent on newspapers, either.

The New York Times did show off its tablet app in a five-minute presentation, but the app looked "very much like its Times Reader," Slate noted. At the event, The Times' digital editor, Jim Roberts, tweeted that he was "waiting to be surprised. That hasn't happened yet."

The iPad may have shrunk the Amazon Kindle's market potential, but The New York Times' Bits blog pointed out that while the Kindle is for books, the iPad is not. In a live blog of the event, it also pointed out that there are several features people were expecting that aren't there:
- No ability to play Adobe Flash animations, widely used on the Web.
- No camera, still or video
- No non-Internet phone function
- Unclear whether you can bundle your AT&T iPhone plan with an iPad data plan
- No removable battery for a device that can suck a lot of power
- No removable storage

However, Wired's Fred Vogelstein wrote that he believes the iPad "will violate Kindle's space." Why? It costs about the same as a Kindle, but has much more - so much, in fact, it could replace a laptop if necessary. It also one-ups the Kindle for print media:

"Reading a newspaper or a magazine on a Kindle is disappointing. On the iPad, you get the publication virtually as it was designed to be read in print, with extras like video and photo slide shows that you don't get in print," he stated. "Save for the New York Times, there were no announcements early Wednesday of newspaper or magazine reader apps for the iPad. But they're out there. It is well known that all of the big media companies are building them (Condé Nast is among those magazine publishers poised to be on the platform on day one). If they make it easy enough to impulse buy, I'd ditch all my paper subs and buy everything on the iPad. Lots of people won't, I'm sure, opting instead to just keep getting their information free from the web. But I think lots of people will as well."


Leah McBride Mensching


2010-01-28 00:18

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