Monday, June 21, 2010

Impressions of Apple’s new iPad

Thought I’d pass this along to all interested. I managed to luck out and was able to borrow the Apple iPad for a prolonged period of time. My expectations were high for this device. If met they might actually turn me from my evil Windows and Linux ways and towards the path of Apple enlightenment. From my current experience with this device it appears my false tech gods still have their hold over me. I find this device’s cool factor up there but this is really due to the power of the iPod and not thru any mind blowing Apple Innovation. They seem to have taken the easier ‘larger then the original copy’ approach to this new product instead of trying to hit the ball out of the park. This leaves the usability as a real compute device lacking in major ways. They have missed with this device holding the hope and promise to extend the ability to integrate the compute device into the household environment.

For better or worse, a well-defined consumer based pad device is a combination of a magazine, laptop, game, and multi-media device. This device needs to free the household from the burden of carting your laptop from room to room and be cheap enough to perhaps have more than one. Ideally this device should integrate into your remote control interfaces and your internal network. This being said there is truth to the rule you need to walk before you can run. However this is not an excuse to not attempt to toddle off the carpet.

I found that the iPad was nothing more then a glorified iPod touch which was very disappointing. It’s clear from the feature set, Apple took the easy way out and chose not to lead by example here. This device has no native connectivity to your household network storage or if it does they have buried it in a way that I can’t find. It appears that you need to sync your files onto the device to use the content on your external media. I have an eight terabyte media store. My expectation is to be able to browse, edit, view and sort these files using the iPad. The tools today I have found however require you to sync them onto the device. This sets the device as a content owner and not the content tool. If a Pad is to be successful as a device it must be a tool that interacts with all the various storage and compute devices that are becoming standard fare in the homes today.

Households by nature are multi-tenant/multi-user models of operation. This requires the device to interact with all components of the home media experience, while not to be the sole provider of said content. Without this multi-tenant ability these devices tend to be non-starter from the git-go.

Final Impressions:

  • Ease of use – Very good, after all its the iPod Touch on steroids.
  • Innovation – Poor,
  • This appears to be just a large version of the iPod: shame on you Apple you’re trying to be setting the lead on new innovation these days.
  • Form Factor – Acceptable but I would like a slightly larger screen.


  • Good single user device
  • Nice to play games on
  • Nice to browse the web
  • Poor integration with other home and computer devices.
  • Good for reading books …
  • If you need a large format iPod this is the device for you

1 comment:

  1. Good review. My wife and I tried one out at the local Apple store. She was considering one for reading books and sending emails on an upcoming trip to Israel...Israel's original ban on iPads having been lifted. She found the screen had too much glare and the device was too heavy to hold for long periods of time. I found the touch-screen lousy for typing, so wouldn't want to use it for anything but the equivalent of texting. So our household saved a few hundred dollars...for now, anyway.

    Another guy I know borrowed one from his company for a few weeks. It was purchased as a giveaway prize for a conference. His litmus test for the value was whether his son minded giving it back. He didn't.

    One client, Hancock Software, has ported their iPhone/iTouch application to the iPad and the form factor seems to work well there. It seems to work well as a data-entry device when most of the data entry options are choices from drop-down menus.