Second-Hand Thoughts on the Apple iPad

In the last 24 hours, I spoke to five of my friends that got their hands on Apple’s iPad. All five of them are avid iPhone users, so keep that in mind as you read their opinions. Here are their sentiments, along with my thoughts on them.

The Form Factor is Sexy and Useful — Well duh. For the most part, Apple’s products always look good. My pals said that the iPad feels great and they can see themselves using it on the couch or in bed. All five raved about the its looks, but to me it looks like another Apple product. That’s not a bad thing at all, but I have to think they’re drawn in by the newness of the iPad and Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field”.

The Virtual Keyboard is Good — Four out of five of my friends (as opposed to dentists that recommend Trident gum) loved the virtual keyboard. They said the ample screen made typing very accurate. I’m sure that’s the case, but I can’t see typing for an extended period of time on this thing. The lack of tactile feedback is one thing, but typing on a hard surface can’t possibly be comfortable. I loathe the virtual keyboard on my (sim-less) iPhone and while I imagine that the iPad’s is better simply because of its size, I doubt that I’ll “like” it.

The good news is that one of my friends asked a rep about other wireless keyboards for the iPad and was told that any Bluetooth keyboard will work with the device. I hope that’s true.

It’s Just Like Using an iPhone — I think everyone was expecting this. On the plus side, it has the same simplicity and ease-of-use that the iPhone and iPod Touch have. The downer is it had the same limitations (no multitasking…yet) and quirks that the iPhone and iPod Touch have. When I was irked about the lack of multitasking, one of my friends said, “You do most of your work on your browser and Google Docs so why do you care?” He has a point. I could work efficiently on an iPad, but I would like multitasking and I’m sure many of you would too.

The Processor is Snappy — Continuing with the “iPad is the Mark McGwire of iPhones” theme, the device sports a zippy processor. Considering that some of the planned games and apps for the iPad are more robust than the iPhone’s, this was totally necessary. For entertainment purposes, the firepower was needed to play high-quality video at 1,024×768. Hopefully the fast processor will lead to multitasking on the iPad at a future date.

The Screen is Lovely…But Not Widescreen — As I noted yesterday, the iPad has a strange aspect ratio for this day and age. Considering it’s being positioned as a data consumption device, it’s unusual that it’s 16:9. All five of my friends at the event were puzzled by this and none of them could get a good answer.

Apple is Being Mum on VoIP — I was annoyed that only one of my friends asked if Skype would work on the iPad. It can and it should, but the communications aspect of the device were not mentioned at all. My friend that asked this question was met with a big IDK. If Apple blocks Skype on the iPad, its usefulness to me goes down by 44 percent.

No Camera? — Considering how cheap a 640×480 camera would be and how large the iPad’s bezel is, three out of five of my friends were shocked that it didn’t have a camera. It seems like it would be a great device for video chatting. I’m with you brothers!

GPS Mystery — The WiFi only models of the iPad lack any kind of GPS. The WiFi + 3G models have assisted GPS. Two of my friends asked if it had “real” GPS and were met with crickets (not actual crickets or the Disney variety).

24 hours later, the device is less interesting for me. I have an iPhone 3GS and I’m getting hooked up with a Kindle this week. The iPad is cool and beautiful, but for the price of the high-end model, I can get a pretty powerful thin-and-light notebook from Asus that would be way more useful. I do think the iPad can be a productive and entertaining device, but my bases are covered already.

So there you have it! Given the information I received from my five pals at the event, has your opinion on the iPad changed?

Author: RPadTV

23 thoughts on “Second-Hand Thoughts on the Apple iPad”

  1. being available for AT&T kills any interest for me. open it up to all the cell companies and maybe I would add it to my Sprint account, but no flash makes me completely un-interested as well.

    Any word on when the Iphone will come to other carriers?

  2. @Hrolf Amen brother!

    As for the iPhone coming to other carriers, I'd expect to hear something in June. That's allegedly when AT&T's contract is up and Apple usually makes iPhone hardware announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

  3. @Rpad – I think 2nd generation is going to open up a flood gate of possibilities, I may just hold back as I don't 'need' the iPad yet. also, I know of skype but I don't know how it would work with a laptop or tablet.

    I watched the keynote myself this morning and I've got to say I was a lot more impressed than I expected. It seems useful and a lot better than an iPhone for many tasks.

    Bluetooth keyboard would be awesome. I don't know why all the hate for the virtual keyboard on the iPhone. I can practically type just as fast on it. but I think the virtual keyboard is a little less useful without one-handed typing. if I bought this for home use I would definitely go keyboard.

    lastly, I think this is a better solution to the Kindle, Hopefully iBook supports a white on black text, I'll be good to go, but even now I do some reading on white background on iPhone. I'm also reading on LCD all day at work and it doesn't bug me so bad.

    Conclusion – I think I'm going to sit the first generation out. the price will almost assuredly come down (hopefully pressing down on the ridiculous $700 3GS iPhone) and functionality will rise. I'm also curious as to what Apps will be made for this device. I'll admit that out of the 140,000 iPhone apps about 100 of those (if that) are useful. and even fewer games are actually fun.

  4. I think Flash is going to happen, clearly talking about it was avoided during the keynote. it almost seemed by accident they showed a web page missing the flash plugin, Apple has to know this is going to be one of the hurdles of the device. besides, this is a device that no Macbook/iPhone user NEEDS just yet. I don't anticipate this will outsell the iPod or iPhone. If you asked Apple what is more important to them, $1 apps or iPad sales, I'm sure they'd be happy to tell you

  5. @Shockwave562 I completely disagree that this is a better solution for books. Have you ever seen an e-ink screen or used one for a long period of time? It's much, much easier on the eyes than an LCD.

    I also disagree that Flash is going to happen, for two reasons. First, it would kill a lot of short-term revenue in the App Store. More importantly, HTML5 will make it irrelevant in the near future. I guess I should rephrase that. It could happen, but I don't think it will matter much when it does.

  6. @Rpad – I have used the Kindle and am thinking about getting one, but I just can't justify it as such a unitasker, I know it's easier on the eyes but I don't mind reading off LCD.

    No doubt reading on Kindle is easier, but the iPad has a lot more functionality when it comes to ebooks, so you have to weigh that in.

  7. @Rpad – Apple has been Pushing HTML5 forever now, but when is it going to happen? I don't think they can afford ignore Flash much longer if iPad sales are weak

  8. After mulling it over, i'm even less impressed with this device. The Star Trek aspect of it is the only thing cool to me.

    @Iphone contract

    I don't know so much about the Iphone being brought to other carriers in the US. I can't imagine Steve Jobs and co. liking to explain to shareholders or a board why one type of device is good as opposed to one doing poorly now (relative comparisons). This is just simply a business objective view of it. In reality us as consumers see no problem. Just looking at it from the view of a spreadsheet only.

  9. @Rpad – not to mention, the same screen size in Kindle is almost 500 on its own. leave out all of the other features of the iPad

  10. @Rpad – good point, that will definitely drive down the Kindle price which would be nice. I too would like to see more HTML5 in action. I'd also like to see the iPad on all carriers, especially Verizon

  11. @Shockwave562 Well, you're comparing the price of a product that's out now and one that's available in two months. I sincerely doubt the Kindle will have the same price when the iPad is out.

    @Smartguy From that standpoint, they'd sell a ton of phones if they were available on all four majors.

  12. I hope Apple didn't sign some multi-year deal with AT&T in order to get the pricing for the iPad, if they did, god help them, I don't see this device selling like other Apple products.

  13. @Shockwave

    42% applies to cables, accessories, computers, laptops, iphones, ipods, etc. Do you really think a 3GS costs anywhere near 700 to produce? ATT buys them for 700 from Apple and resells them.

  14. granted, this is what I have read. I assume it is pretty close on the mark. Apple is publicly traded after all.

  15. @Shockwave562 Sure, but I expect Amazon to slash prices when the iPad hits the market.

    HTML 5 apps are hitting now. Look at how Google got around its Google Voice for iPhone banishment with HTML 5.

  16. @Smartguy From a developer standpoint, getting the device on all four major carriers would be huge. Apple would stand to make even more money through the App Store.

  17. @Rpad – agreed, think how many more phones would be out there if they were on all networks. I guess when this contract comes up we should get some answers.

  18. @smartguy – 42% makes sense for Computers and laptops. but I would think that margine is much thinner on the iPhone/iTouch/iPad market

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