The iPad has finally arrived, like the punchline of a poorly constructed joke gone on too long. It’s too late to even laugh at the effort. Starting with the very name, which is embarrassingly close to a certain women’s hygiene product and became a laughing stock as soon as it was unveiled.
The iPad Jobs claims is “more intimate than a laptop, and it’s so much more capable than a smartphone.” Certainly one can understand that the device would be more intimate than a laptop, being operated entirely via a touch screen, however it isn’t more capable than one. Is it even more capable than a smartphone?
Comparing it with Apple’s own smartphone, the iPhone, and what do we see, a larger screen hence an interface to support the larger screen, thanks to the large screen we now have a larger keyboard, a larger screen enables better use of productivity software — which by the way you have to pay for — and a better multimedia and internet experience. Kinda like an iPod avatar in a, well, larger body. Might as well call it an iPhoneNot.
Sure, the faster processor means it is more capable technically, however as more smartphones come in the market with 1Ghz and faster processors, this point becomes moot. The Nexus One itself features a 1GHz processor, and does not come with the shackles surrounding the iPhone OS store.
Matching the iPhone and the iPad feature for feature, the iPad actually comes out on the losing side. Quite obviously, the device is not a phone, yet when comparing it with the iPhone you come to realize that is is just an oversized iPhone which can’t make calls. Connect your iPhone to a larger display and what can’t you do?
How is this different from an Android-based tablet?
With great derison Jobs discards netbooks as cheap laptops, yet the iPad is still to show any multitasking capabilities. It does not come with the free ecosystem of application and development as the netbooks have. Instead you are pointed to the 140,000 application which exist in the Apple store, many of which will irrelevant for a device which is not a phone, and the others will have to go through the painful process of updating their applications for the new screen size and getting their updates pass through the gatekeeps for the App Store.
For a device which claims to provide the best internet browsing experience, support for Flash is essential, and yet the iPad shuns Flash. This does more to hurt the iPad than it does Flash. For an internet centric device which boasts of 3G and WiFi connectivity, the lack of suppot for the full and rich interent experience is a blunder. A large sumber of cloud applications rely on Flash, and it is not just restricted to web-video. While shunning Flash from the iPhone might have worked out fine since no one expects a full interent experience on a phone, however when you are buying a device which is supposed to bring the “best web experience” you expect more.
Better than a netbook really? The iPad fails to be better than even an iPhone.
So here are 10 reasons why we think the iPad sucks, if we haven’t made that clear already:
- No multitasking. Remember, it’s meant to be better than a netbook.
- No Flash support. “The best web experience”; indeed
- Screen is not widescreen. Well, innovation sometimes take us a few steps backwards
- No HD output. Who watched HD these days anyway?
- No camera. So much for video chat…
- No USB port. Don’t want to be too much like a netbook now do we?
- No SD card slot. Cause 64GB ought to be enough for anybody…
- Essential peripherals sold extra: keyboard, USB, SD card dongles, each sold for $30!
- Another iPhone-like operating system. Read closed system. This seems to be Apple’s game plan
- You need to pay $10 per app for the iWork productinvity applications suite. It’s like Apple didn’t want you, or expect you to be productive on it by default
Even so, the iPad has a chance for success, and for many of the same reasons that the iPhone is a success. It is a beautiful product, with a dedicated developer community which just won’t give up dispite the constant abuse. It has hundreds of thousands of applications which give it an edge over new platforms which have lesser applications. The iPhone continues to be a favourite of many because it is a pleasure to use despite its many flaws. Apple may not have done anything new here, but just given a more of the good old stuff that they already know works.