The Apple iPad: Great Technology Wasted

Okay, so that title is probably unfair seeing as how the device was only announced yesterday. Yet all around the blogosphere, people are calling this one a major disappointment. And if you think about it, it kind of is.

First of all, a quick introduction of the device: with a 9.6" screen. weighing 1.5 pounds, and at only half an inch thick, Apple is definitely keeping its signature minimalist style intact. Also, the iPad features full compatibility with all 140k of the App Store iPhone/iPod Touch apps. Along with the iPad, the famous tech company is joining the e-reader race with the introduction of the iBooks store and full color and touch support for reading. Built in Wi-Fi with 10 hours of battery life and this thing isn't looking so bad now is it? Apple has also reached a groundbreaking deal with AT&T to provide an unlimited data plan at $30/month prepaid (no contract!). Pricing begins at $499 for 16GB, 32GB for $599, and $699 64GB. If you want that AT&T 3G, you'll have to pick up the iPad 3G version for $130 more per model.

Admittedly, I got pretty excited when the product was unveiled initially. Who doesn't want a great looking web browser/e-reader/multimedia device with an excellent touchscreen supported by the best ecosystem of digital technology? But there are some fundamental issues with the iPad that really ruins that great taste you had in your mouth.
First of all, Apple has been touting this as a device in between your smartphone and your laptop, ignoring netbooks. The main problem with that is, despite how fast the device is (and after watching some videos it's safe to say it's faster than most California drivers) there is still absolutely no multitasking. This is a major setback for the device because while the company may dismiss netbooks, at least they can do more than one thing at a time even if it is at the cost of performance.

Another issue the iPad has presented is its name: honestly what were they thinking? The funniest comment I read about it's name is that "it sounds like Apple is releasing an electronic tampon". Really, wasn't iTablet good enough? Or even the iSlate? Ugh.

Apple has also been claiming that the iPad is the hands-down best web browsing experience of all time. Well there's some arguments against that claim: first of all it doesn't even have a real keyboard (of course you can buy an attachment for $70 if you like wasting money) and second of all it doesn't have what most netbooks and real computers have had for the past ten years: Flash support. That's right, the bleeding-edge device with a super powerful processor and a premium price tag can't play flash games that you're grandmother's Windows ME desktop computer can.

Finally, there's the little matter with the AT&T 3G deal. Now most tech enthusiasts and iPhone users know about how reliable their network has become since that phone was first released. But with the iPad, AT&T is probably having nightmares right now. Because of the iPad being able to download music, movies, and more instantly off of the iTunes store things are going to get a lot more hectic. True the iPhone does the same thing, but the iPad is also bringing along iBooks for bandwidth hogging. Overall, AT&T is probably going to make truckloads of money off this deal but their customers are certainly going to suffer for it.

A couple more disappointments include the lack of any kind of camera and no wireless tethering (where you connect your device to your phone through Bluetooth for wireless service). Oh and one more little thing: if you want your music, files, and movies that you've already downloaded you have to sync it to your computer. If Apple were seriously taking on netbooks, that right there would not exist.

The Apple iPad certainly has potential to be an absolutely killer device and the tablet form factor is finally being done justice. But if I were you, I would wait until some new features are added and there is an actual purpose to owning this thing. Because if you already have a netbook, a Kindle, or an awesome or popular smartphone, you really don't need this.

At this point what you're looking at is the fastest, sharpest, and coolest inflated iPhone ever.


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