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The iPad: A Commentary

What do people say about the new iPad? What are some shortcomings and benefits to this new gadget from Apple?

Roger: Really, Apple? The iPad? iPad sounds like iPod. You guys have a trademark for the iSlate already, why not use that?

Albs: Personally, I think the home screen is not very aesthetic at all. Although the interface is essentially that of a stretched-out iPhone, the icons retain a diminutive size in comparison to the rest of the screen and look very awkward. The “slide to unlock” bar just looks silly on the lock screen. It looks really nice in landscape, but just looks strange in portrait form.

R: I beg to differ there. How do you read books? In portrait. Even though the screen is much larger, a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels is still far too small to allow for comfortable viewing of two pages simultaneously. However, Apple’s really expanding their feature set here with the addition of the iBook store. There have been apps that allowed users to read eBooks before, but nothing close to a store offered on the Kindle.

A: Unlike Amazon’s Kindle, which uses eInk, the iPad relies on an LED backlit screen. As a result, people would probably hurt their eyes from reading books on an iPad.

R: That would definitely be a drawback for people using this as an eBook reader for prolonged periods of time, but I think most people will be using this device like an oversized iPod Touch instead, playing games, checking email, and browsing the Internet. The eBook feature and the addition of an iBook store is just a welcome feature.

A: I think Apple wants to expand the capabilities of touch screen devices, especially with the inclusion of the iWork suite on the iPad.

R: If the iPad includes dongles that allows it to connect to projectors, it could be a great presentation device, especially because Keynote is included in the iWork suite. Knowing Apple though, they would probably charge thirty bucks for a cable that can’t work with anything besides the iPad.

R: Gaming looks great on the device. However, it seems to be a bit awkward when playing some games, such as Cooking Mama. I can’t imagine shaking around a 10 inch tablet to fry potatoes in a pan.

A: Another thing is the awkward controls for iPad first person shooter. Accelerometer controls generally fail when it comes to gaming, and putting games on a scale like this would not solve the problem.

R: The redesign of the context menus is really nice. The screen’s real estate allows for small menus to pop up in corners of the screen rather than expanding to the size of the entire screen.

A: The iPad just seems so big though…with an iTouch, you can discretely use it during classes. Imagine waving around the iPad in the middle of a lecture, playing Super Monkey Ball or reading One Piece under your desk.

R: True, you can’t pull out a tablet while walking and browse the web. But honestly, this is one of those things you would keep in your purse or backpack. It offers a much better experience than an iPhone with far less obligation. Assuming that somebody can get VoIP working on this device, it would be like having a $30 per month all-you-can-eat plan.

A: 3G is patchy though. Even with VoIP and a Bluetooth headset, it wouldn’t work well as a phone.

R: The iPad – still no videoconferencing, still no background apps, but it bridges the gap between the iTouch and laptops at a very attractive $499 price point. Add that to the pay-as-you-go contract that Apple was able to negotiate with ATT, and I highly doubt that anything can come close to beating this.

A: Overall, the iPad is pretty good, but not revolutionary. It seems like a netbook without a keyboard running a cut down OS. Even with the add-on keyboard, which will probably cost a ridiculous amount because it’s made by Apple, most people would resort to using the on screen keyboard, and sadly, touch screen keyboards can never live up to a physical keyboard. The most revolutionary thing coming out of this was the $499 price point. If this thing could run iPhone apps on OS X, I would buy one immediately. But given its current specs and operating system, I can’t say that I would take an iPad over an unlocked Nexus One. To me, it’s either an uber-powerful iTouch or a dumbed down laptop.

Written by Roger Chen & Albert Yuan
Feb 01, 2010 at 10:35 PM

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