Saturday, January 30, 2010

Apple iPad! It has arrived…Big Deal.

Okay, so the iPad has “arrived”.  Well, sort of.  It hasn’t been officially released to the public, but it has been officially announced, and will be available come March 2010.  However, the version to be released will be the WiFi only edition, as the negotiations for adding 3G cell phone components are still taking place.  On top of that, the cheapest model will sell for only $499!  Honestly, that is a great deal for an Apple product that offers a 9.7” multi-touch screen, 1ghtz A4 (Apple made) processor, and 16gb’s of flash memory.

However, there are pundits that argue that it isn’t worth it because the iPad is running nothing more than a modified iPhone operating system.  There are a lot of Apple enthusiasts that were crossing fingers for a true Mac Tablet running Mac OS X.  Honestly, it makes sense why Apple went the route they did.  Want my opinion?  Here goes!

  1. Multi-touch – To make Mac OS X multi-touch operable would perhaps require entirely to much coding to give it that capability.
  2. System requirements – Obviously, Apple wants the iPad to be small, compact, yet capable and functional.  The iPhone OS has proven itself as such.
  3. 140,000+ Apps – They are all so easily accessible, and do so many things.

Is a full blown desktop OS necessary for a mobile device like the iPad?  No, it isn’t.  Apple is creating a niche market, that will grow and expand with the iPad.  Netbooks are cheap laptop replacements.  They do not belong in the same category as the iPad, honestly.  That is perhaps the only real bad comparison that Steve Jobs made.

I agree that the iPad creates a bridge between smart phone and laptop.  It gives the user the power they need, along with the portability without needing to bust out two other devices to accomplish one, or two, things.  This is a device that a user can relax with, still feel productive, and not have to have a “cumbersome”  laptop on their lap, and the smart phone within reach.

However, what are some draw backs to this device?  Personally, I see only two.  Lack of Flash, and no real good portable physical keyboard.  Adobe Flash is everywhere.  There is nowhere on the internet you can go that doesn’t have flash on it.  Flash brings to the table so much power and functionality.  Why is there no flash on the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch?  That is between Apple and Adobe, and they will have to figure something out.  Once that is in place, you will see a large number of consumers consider this device heavily, including those of us that are not “Apple Users”.

Without a real portable keyboard, that will be the other issue that Apple will have to consider.  Even though we are surrounding by numerous touch screen devices, such as the iPhone and Motorola Droid, we still use computers, whether Mac or PC, that have physical keyboards and mice.  We still utilize these peripherals on a daily basis, and we are comfortable with them.  A touch screen that does not offer some form of tactile feel tend to turn off the general user.  It looks cool on Star Trek, but in the real world, we just aren’t used to it yet.

I will be the first to admit that I used to use my Droid qwerty keyboard more than the virtual one, but after a month of constant use, I almost never slide my Droid open.  Give the consumer a choice with portability, and they will make the move over time as they become more accustomed to it.  The keyboard docking station is a wonderful idea, and will be a required purchase for many users, but a portable one is the key here.

All in all, the iPad looks impressive enough that I would like to own one.  I may not be a fan of the iTunes application on the PC, but the iPad does have the app built in so I won’t have to rely on the desktop installed app.  This device will revolutionize computing, as the iPhone did with cellular phones.  Give it time and you will see these devices everywhere.

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