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Apple iPad Review

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					Apple iPad Review
                                                                    Source : By Sam Costello, About.com Guide




                                                       Contents


1    The Good .................................................................................................................. 2
2    The Bad ..................................................................................................................... 2
3    The Price................................................................................................................... 2
4    Beautiful Hardware ................................................................................................ 2
5    Solid Software, With Better Yet to Come ......................................................... 2
6    A Great eBook Reader ........................................................................................... 3
7    Browsing in Bed (and On The Couch, and In The Bathroom) ...................... 3
8    Not Quite a Mobile Office ..................................................................................... 4
9    Surprising Battery Life .......................................................................................... 4
10   Not Without Its Problems ..................................................................................... 4
11   Who’s It For? ........................................................................................................... 4
12   Will It Succeed? ...................................................................................................... 5




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1   The Good
    Beautiful screen
    Lightweight
    Terrific web browsing experience
    Amazing battery life
    Bluetooth accessory support
    Support for 170K+ apps at App Store

2   The Bad
    Who/What’s it for?
    Only acceptable text entry
    No camera
    No multitasking (yet)
    Not enough native apps (yet)

3   The Price
    WiFi only: US$499-$699
    3G: US$629-$899

    Apple trumpeted the iPad, its first tablet, as being both “magical” and
    “revolutionary.” This first-generation model isn’t quite either of those things
    – yet. Instead, it’s a terrific luxury device that takes the first step towards
    fulfilling Apple’s revolutionary promise.

4   Beautiful Hardware
    As we’ve come to expect from Apple, the iPad is a physically beautiful, highly usable
    gadget refined to a state of excellence. The iPad is light – just 1.5 pounds (or 1.6 in
    the 3G model) – and feels great held either with one hand or two.
    Its 9.7-inch screen is a joy for practically everything, especially games, video, and
    the web (the only drawback is that non-native apps don’t always look great in
    fullscreen mode, but that will change as those apps are updated), but isn’t so big as
    to be unwieldy.
    While the screen is great looking, it’s also a magnet for fingerprints and smudges –
    even moreso than the iPhone. Apple applied an “oleophobic” coating to the iPhone
    3GS screen (which I don’t love, but that’s another matter). Why it didn’t do the
    same with the iPad is puzzling. Apple could have at least including a cleaning cloth
    like it used to with iPods. Looking at smudges on the screen is unappealing.

5   Solid Software, With Better Yet to Come
    The iPad runs a modified version of the iPhone OS that’s been tweaked for the
    iPad’s bigger screen. It offers all of the strengths of the iPhone OS, but adds new
    features like drop-down menus that present more information and options in the
    bigger space. These changes will be welcome to anyone who’s tried to work with
    long lists or large amounts of data on the iPhone’s screen. They also move some
    options out of a setting panel and into the app, and smooth the overall process of
    working on the iPad.
    But, along with the strengths of the iPhone OS, the iPad also has its weaknesses:
    no multitasking, support for tethering, unified email inbox, or powerful business




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    features. Many of these drawbacks (with the exception of tethering. We may need
    an end to the AT&T/Apple relationship to get that) will disappear with the release of
    iPhone OS 4.0 this fall.
    In some respects, the iPad feels like a large iPhone. But with the addition of the new
    OS, it will become more like a robust handheld computer that can challenge
    desktop functionality for many standard apps.
    Because it runs the iPhone OS, the iPad gets the thing that contains its greatest
    promise and potential: App Store support.
    The built-in apps range from acceptable to great and include the things you’d
    expect – web browser, media player, calendar, photos, etc. – but the nearly limitless
    options in the App Store are what make the iPad so exciting and fun.
    The apps that got the most attention at the iPad’s launch – the Netflix and ABC
    video players, Marvel Comics’ reader and online store, the iWork suite, iBooks –
    demonstrate the versatility and potential in the App Store. With it, users will only
    be limited by the imagination and skills of developers (well, that and Apple’s app
    approval system and technology restrictions, which are not insignificant factors).
    The iPhone platform has already gained substantial momentum as a gaming
    platform; the iPad won’t slow that down. In fact, given its bigger screen, multitouch
    features, and motion sensors, games are likely to get more sophisticated,
    immersive, and impressive.

6   A Great eBook Reader
    Among the many other things it does, the iPad is a strong – possibly superior –
    competitor to dedicated eBook readers like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s
    nook.
    Core eBook functionality is delivered via Apple’s free iBooks app, which is backed
    by an online store.
    The feature of iBooks that has probably gotten the most attention is its well-
    executed page-turning animation (so sensitive that you can move the page
    minutely, back and forth, and it doesn’t blink). But that’s mostly eye-candy.
    Using iBooks is pleasant enough. Pages look good, can have their font, text size,
    and contrast customized, and I haven’t experienced any eyestrain yet.
    When it comes to features – bookmarking, dictionary integration, links – iBooks
    works well and much like other eBook apps. But it’s a little sluggish sometimes,
    especially when turning pages, so here’s hoping Apple refines that in later versions.
    The iBooks Store is a little sparse right now. Hopefully the selection will grow there
    the way the iTunes Store’s music library grew – steadily at first, and then
    exponentially, such that nearly anything you could want is available. The risk is
    that the iBooks Store instead follows the path of the Movies section of the iTunes
    Store, which has never had enough titles to gain real momentum. If iBooks meets
    that fate, Apple’s foray into eBooks will likely fail.
    But, thanks to the App Store, the iPad isn’t limited to iBooks for reading. Amazon’s
    Kindle app is available, as it Barnes and Noble’s Reader (along with many other
    eBook readers). Comics fans are also in luck, with numerous great reader/store
    combinations from Marvel, comiXology, and many others. In all cases, the iPad’s
    screen provides a lovely reading experience.

7   Browsing in Bed (and On The Couch, and In The Bathroom)
    One advantage that books continue to have over eBooks (in addition to pure, tactile
    pleasure) is their portability into places you wouldn’t bring consumer electronics.




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     Recent eBook readers have solved this issue for bathroom reading, but they’re still
     not for reading in the tub (which is a shame).
     In most other rooms in the house, though, the iPad is perfectly pitched. This is
     likely to be the best web browsing experience you’ve ever had in bed or on the
     couch, and it may be up there in the mobile gaming and entertainment
     departments.
     Where as browsing on the iPhone in bed requires positioning the iPhone at just the
     right angle to prevent its screen from rotating, the iPad’s screen rotation lock switch
     ingeniously solves this problem.
     These areas are where the iPad’s industrial design really shines. It just feels good in
     your hands, in your lap, resting on your knees – better than any laptop, certainly.

8    Not Quite a Mobile Office
     Though the iPad looks like it could function as a mobile office tool – after all it’s got
     email, web, word processing, spreadsheets, and many productivity apps – it’s not
     quite developed enough for that.
     The onscreen keyboard is an improvement over the iPhone’s, especially thanks to
     its larger size, but typing is a choice between going slowly or incurring lots of errors.
     Multi-finger typing is a challenge and locating punctuation marks in separate
     screens frequently breaks up typing and thinking momentum.
     The iPad supports external keyboards through its keyboard dock accessory and via
     Bluetooth, but carrying yet another item along with the iPad isn’t appealing.

9    Surprising Battery Life
     Apple iPod and iPhone products haven’t exactly been renowned as battery
     powerhouses, but the iPad breaks that trend. Apple promises 10 hours of use on a
     fully charged battery and that’s borne out in my testing. On a full charge, over 3
     hours of movie playback consumed just 20% of the battery, indicating that Apple’s
     10-hour figure is perhaps a little conservative. Similarly, nearly 9 straight hours of
     music playback hardly dented the battery – again, about 20%.
     Given that most of us won’t use the device continuously, expect to get day’s worth
     of use before needing to recharge. The iPad battery is also a wonder on standby.
     Expect days, maybe even weeks, of standby battery life.

10   Not Without Its Problems
     All that said, this is a first-generation product and it has first-generation problems.
     Users have reported a variety of problems, from unclear battery charging messages
     to difficulty waking the device from sleep, from slow syncing to overheating.
     Perhaps the most widespread problem involves the inability to maintain WiFi
     connections and signal strength. Apple’s addressed that in support documents, but
     if that problem becomes more widespread, it could dramatically impact the iPad.
     One small bug that I noticed is a tendency for the iPad’s system time to lag behind
     the real time. I’ve observed it losing up to about 20 minutes over the course of a few
     days. Syncing corrects the time, but this shouldn’t happen.

11   Who’s It For?
     Despite all the very good things about the iPad, I can’t yet conclude that it’s great,
     primarily because I can’t quite figure out who it’s for.
     It’s not – yet – a laptop or desktop replacement (more on that in a minute). It’s not a
     replacement for an iPhone or iPod. I know that Apple’s trying to create a new




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     category with the iPad, but in doing so, there may be a period of time where that
     category, and how we’ll use the devices in it, is hazy.
     The iPad is really a lot of fun to use, but in my house, which already has a laptop
     and an iPhone, how necessary is it? It may be a good portable computer for trips
     where a laptop is too much, but how much better will it be than my iPhone? If I love
     mobile gaming, does what it offers justify paying more than double to get an iPad
     instead of an iPod touch?
     Right now, I’m not sure it does. But I think it will.
     We’ll begin to see the first glimpses of that this fall with the release of iPhone OS
     4.0. That will allow the iPad to include the good aspects of a traditional computer,
     while leaving limitations behind. It will also equip developers to create even more
     powerful and useful apps. When that happens, the iPad will be much more
     compelling.
     It’s in future revisions of the iPad that its true potential will be unlocked.
     Most computer users tend to have a fairly limited and basic set of needs: email,
     web, music, video, games. Most users don’t need to run Photoshop or page layout
     software, or video editing tools. For those power users, desktop and laptop
     computers will continue to be useful tools.
     But, for users with limited needs, won’t a future version of the iPad make as much,
     or more, sense than a traditional computer? Add more memory, a camera, an
     improved means of storing local files, maybe a USB port (though I’m not sure that’s
     absolutely necessary), and a few other tweaks, and the average computer user will
     have everything they need in a portable, affordable, exciting package.
     In fact, users who have the iPad as their main computer may find computing easier,
     less prone to errors, and more fun than with their old desktops or laptops.
     And that’s when the iPad’s real potential is likely to be fulfilled. But we’re a few
     years away from that.

12   Will It Succeed?
     The iPad’s success really isn’t in question. With sales of over 450,000 in the U.S. in
     its first week alone, it’s another hit product for Apple. The question isn’t whether it
     will succeed, but rather whether it can live up to the promise of being magical and
     revolutionary.
     As the device and its software stand now, I’m not sure it will. But, with the
     upcoming changes to its software, and revised hardware we can certainly expect, it
     may.
     For now, the iPad is a product for early adopters, tech and gadget enthusiasts, and
     those interested in luxury items. That doesn’t detract from its status as a well-
     conceived, fantastically executed device, though. Those who do purchase it are
     likely to be well satisfied.
     In the coming years, though, I suspect the iPad may be the device that we look back
     to as a turning point in computing.




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