Editorial

Is the iPad Apple's iFail?

Whilst the dust settles on Apple's recently announced iPad, it seems the hype has died down and everyone has an opinion on Apple's latest creation. At Neowin we've been mulling over the announcements and have a few thoughts and feelings about Apple's new iPad.

What is it?

As Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad on Wednesday January 27 he described it as something between a Smartphone and a laptop. "Is there room for a third category device in the middle?" he asked. Jobs explained that in order to create a new category of devices, those devices would need to be "far better at some key tasks". The iPad is effectively a large iPod touch with optional 3G connection if you look at it in its basic form. Aside from the exterior the iPad packs a 1GHz Apple processor, 16, 32, or 64GB of flash storage and comes with iPhone OS 3.2 meaning it supports most of your old iPhone/iPod Touch applications.

What's good about it?

It's certainly a device in-between a Smartphone and a full laptop. The display is well sized, well lit and nearly perfect for photos and videos. The addition of eBooks will likely signal the death of Amazon's Kindle and similar devices and the convergence of many media features into one device. The device also appears to cope well playing digital media and rendering web pages with impressive responsiveness.

What's bad about it?

Where do we start? Apple has picked an odd size for this device. It's too big to use as a mobile device and it's too small to use as a productivity device. The screen on the device is 4:3 and not the usual 16:9 widescreen that is a standard amongst most gadgets these days. It's almost a step back for video playback. Next up there's no multi tasking, you can't compare an email with a map or compare a document with a web page as you have to step in and out of applications in the same way you have to on the iPhone. Apple has also dismissed Flash support in the browser meaning thousands of web pages will not render as they were designed. There's also no USB ports, you need to purchase an adaptor for that. Perhaps the biggest drawback of the device is the lack of a camera. This is a huge down flaw that will put off many potential buyers. A camera in a mobile device is essential and has become standard in most Netbooks today. If Apple can pack a camera into an iPod Nano why can't they put it into an iPad?

Should I buy one?

There's no easy way to answer this one. It truly depends on your circumstances. If you have a Smartphone, be it an iPhone, Android or other device and you also have a laptop then we would say no. If you don't have a powerful Smartphone and want to do some casual browsing and media consumption but don't want to use your laptop each time then it may be for you. The iPhone and iPod Touch can handle most of the features that the iPad has if you're primarily using them in an "on the go" sense. The iPad isn't something you're likely to want to use discreetly at a dinner table but it may be something that your family could pick up quickly and use to send emails, watch videos and browse the web around your home.

Will this thing sell?

That's a good question. Historically Apple's mobile devices have done very well against their competitors. The iPod just reached 250 million units sold and the iPhone is gaining market and mind share around the world. I have a feeling that the first generation iPad may not fair so well against Netbooks and mobile phones. Apple is trying to create a new category of devices here and the hype for this tablet was huge. Looking across the Internet for reactions to the device there seems to be the general feeling that the announcement was disappointing. The device isn't cheap either for something that is lacking in basic features. Looking back at the introduction of the Nintendo Wii, many people were skeptical it would sell due to the poor graphics and lack of games. The Wii sold extremely well but mainly due to its unique controller. The iPad doesn't have a killer feature that has made everyone go "wow" yet. Perhaps once iPad developers start creating applications for the platform then this will change but asides from third party applications it's a little disappointing.

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I agree that it is a pointless product, but we are talking about Apple here.
Steve Jobs could sell his faeces as the "iTurd (tm)" and people would buy it and pretend it didn't stink.

And anyone who thinks this will the e-reader doesn't understand what and e-reader is and probably doesn't read much either.

What is going on? This is just lame. Lame. Lame.

Lame.

A tablet without handwriting? Who thought that one up? I always thought that was the whole point of a tablet.
No multitasking? When was the last time anyone saw a computer that can't even walk and chew gum? 1997?
No Flash? No Java? Can't even display Apple's own website.
No stylus? Can't draw. Can't write.
Removable battery? Forget it.

Just what is the point of this piece of utter rubbish? Lets face it. That's exactly what it is.

iPad? iFad more like. iPass.

Apple putting a ****ty product in a big aluminum casing with a graphite engraved Apple logo. Big ****ing deal.

Seriously? Who would buy this retarded thing? Is it that hard to have a laptop in your lap than an iPad? Oh well, only the real idiots will buy this thing.

look at the stock market. after announcement, AAPL fell. investors are disappointed at this product.

I think apple this time just wants to make money out of the popularity of the iPhone. what else did they do to the new product, except making a larget iPhone? No wonder it can sell it cheap because enlarging a phone doesn't cost much.

and iPad, what a fuggy name. sounds like the women's sanitary pad. :s

it has iFail written all over it....and the worst for Apple is that its failures are much more visible than any of its other devices....and hence it reduces its face value to a great extent !!

What surprised me the most was when I hit up one of my friends who bows at the alter of Steve... this guy has owned several macbook/macbook pro computers, ipod, iphone, apple tv in every room of the house, and airport router...He told me the iPad is a steaming pile of crap

Given that I don't think that this device is going to be very well received. It also seems like with the new MicroSIM that it's not going to be hacker friendly... I think that being able to hack the iphone and use it anywhere was one of the primary reasons it is so popular.

As much as I love the iPod: the iPhone and now the iPad have been a let down to me. Apple really made innovation with the iPod, they added features that other mp3 players didn't have. The iPhone is brilliant, I don't own one because of the lack of multitasking and the lock downsApple place upon software but I do appreciate its speed and the quality of the device.

The iPad had such potential, coming from Apple it had a guaranteed market but has been let down by some of the issues people don't necessarily need of their fancy iPhone but would be stupid to go without on a laptop alternative.

How can Apple expect anyone that actually wants a tool that enhances their lifestyle to purchase the iPad? The dimensions, and lock downs and lack of connectivity make the device a liability when it comes to productivity on the move. The lack of multitasking makes the idea of this being an alternative to a laptop/netbook just a joke.

I hope Apple continue to develop the iPad and that one day it can multitask and be the Swiss army knife of portable devices but right now it seems to be more of a gimmick than a tool.

Yes, iFail ! I already have an iphone, why would I want a much larger version that doesn't even do all the things my iphone does........

Huffdady said,
Yes, iFail ! I already have an iphone, why would I want a much larger version that doesn't even do all the things my iphone does........

You may not need it, but there are other people who were wishing for a bigger multitouch device from Apple based on the iPhone OS which is based on a modified version of OS X.

DragonWings said,
iFail

iFail? from what? What is on this device that is so fail? I just don't get it what people want from the iPad. It's not meant to replace your main computer, its a media consumption device.

it is indeed an iFail. What was Steve thinking; the much rumored tablet was already released into the world in 2007 in the form of the iPhone. I seriously hope Apple puts its focus back into the Mac platform - we dont need a third category that sits between 'smart phone' and 'laptop', we need the two existing platforms to be concrete. The MacBook platform has HUGE potential.

actually, since Apple has abit less than 60 days to ship the thing out, who know's if this was a 'fake' announcement to throw competitors off when the REAL iTablet comes out on launch day. Oh sigh how I wish it were so...

The iPad is a misunderstood child. It is not meant to replace any of your gear. It is meant as a media consumption device. Think of it as a digital magazine. You may leave it lying around the house, either on the coffee table or a night stand in your bed room, when you want to read something real quickly, boom! your iPad is there. Am excited because I wanted a bigger iPhone OS touch based device. This is Apple's biggest multitouch device yet.

The one thing that impresses me most about the comments posted about the iPad is that not one of you has ever handled or used one! I guess you would have said the same things when the first computer was announced all those years ago. Surely it is more sensible to make a balanced judgement once you have used and evaluated the iPad for yourself ? Then again, what do I know..

People need to stop comparing the iPad to the iPhone or iPod. With the iPhone you could make phone calls. With the iPod you could listen to music. What exactly does the iPad do? As a customer expected to shell our my hard earned brass for a product every once in a while I'd like the product to actually do something and not just be 'cool' an end in intself.

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