Do I want an iPad?
So, the Apple iPad is here… Well, it will be soon, so do I want one?
After all the hype I was initially a little disappointed. To me it was just a large iPod touch. It did of course look gorgeous, but that is to be expected from Apple, but it didn’t really seem to do anything revolutionary. Other than having a larger screen it doesn’t really do anything that an iPod doesn’t. You can view photos, movies, read books, listen to and buy music, browse the web and use iPhone apps. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want one but there wasn’t anything really compelling that made me think I needed one.
I’ve now had a bit of time to think about it though and can see that it might indeed become a completely new concept in computing that does indeed fit in between a laptop and a smart phone and could become a useful appliances in many households.
I can imagine many households, ours inculded, having an iPad lying around in the living room or the kitchen and being used as a family computer for quick access to e-mails and thing such as calendars or address books or a quick check of something on the web. Rather than going to the office and maybe having to start up the computer or get the laptop, we’ll be able to just pick up the iPad and get on with it.
The iPad obviously has lots going for it. The looks are great and the user interface and functionality is up to Apple’s usual high standards. The screen is super high quality and about the right size for tasks such as web browsing. The eBook reader looks good, and with so many 3rd party apps available in the app store it can do more than you would imagine. The new iWorks apps for the iPad llook good too, but it does have a few downsides as far as I’m concerned.
First up is the lack of multi-tasking. As far as I know, you can’t have more than one app open at a time (other than a couple of Apple specific ones). This may nor be a huge issue for general ‘living room’ tasks, but if I’m thinking of the device as a computer and trying to use productivity tools on it I could see that being an issue. It also looks as though I’d have to buy iPad specific versions of applications such as iWorks that I already have on my Mac. They aren’t expensive but it all adds up. And that brings us to the price. UK pricing isn’t being released until the product is launched, but the US price for the basic model is $499, so I’m sure the UK price will be around the £399 mark. That only gets you 16GB of storage though which probably won’t be enough for most and with no SD slot there isn’t a way of expanding the storage at the moment. The price isn’t bad, but it isn’t an inconsiderable amount to throw at a gadget unless you have a legitimate use for it.
There also isn’t any GPS which is a shame. Admittedly as a ‘living room computer’ this isn’t really needed, but people will take this out and about with them and it could make a great SatNav device in the car if it had a GPSr built into it.
I’m also surprised that there isn’t a front-facing camera. If it did have one and this was coupled with an iPad version of iChat then the iPad could become the ultimate home video chat system. I could just imagine passing it around on the sofa so that we could all chat to Granny!
It has to be remembered of course that this is only version 1 of the iPad and they have to hold some things back for version 2.0 so I guess a camera and GPS might appear in a later version.
So, do I want one? Well of course I do, who wouldn’t?
Do I need one? No I don’t, but I can see use for it in our house. As a Living Room Computer which is the niche that I see for this device, it has many uses. Having an iPad lying around ready to go would be great for quickly checking my e-mail or looking something up on the web. I can see us using it as a family computer for organising things, storing address books and calendars. Even in the kitchen for recipes and such like.
What’s more when not in active use we could place it on a stand and use it as a gorgeous 10″ digital photo-frame. Looks as though I’d better start saving up ready for the UK release!