Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mysterious Mr. iPad

When Apple launched the iPod it changed the music industry. Samething happened when it launched the iPhone. The dwindling and struggling smartphone industry was revolutionized. In an age when there was hardly any talk or recognition for smartphones, Apple brought the industry to light and now everyone right down to the ignorant layman is talking about the iPhone.

The BIG question is if Apple can do the same thing all over again. Many companies including Apple have tried to introduce the tablet PC and have failed miserably. So can Apple be successful 2nd time round? Its hard to say, a lot depends on how people receive the iPad.

The problem with tablets and why so many companies have failed in their attempts is because it lies in the convergence area of multiple technologies. It’s mobile, it’s a laptop, it’s an ebook reader, it’s a video cum music player, it’s a netbook et al.

Now that we know a little about history let’s get to know the iPad. It looks like an oversized iPhone except that it has a 9.7 inch high-resolution (1024x768) touchscreen. It supports multi-touch and has an accelerator to adjust the image as you tilt it. It is about 0.5 inch thick and tips the scales at 700 gms, making it very portable. Like the iPhone there is just one home button on the front, with buttons on the side for volume and resetting the device.

Purring beneath its sleek hood is Apple's new A4 1 GHz processor, which Apple claims, packs a punch while consuming little power. Connectivity options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in all iPads and GPS and 3G in some models. The device claims to offer a staggering 10 hours on battery back-up while on Wi-Fi, putting it well ahead of most netbooks, notebooks (including the iMac) and phones. It'll be available in 3 memory capacities - 16GB, 32GB & 64GB.

So Can we use this as a normal computer/laptop? No, Of course not. The iPad is not exactly a laptop in tablet form. Though, we can use this for all our normal activities like browsing, email, watching movies, listening to music, playing games etc. we cannot install off the mill softwares on the iPad. Apple will have apps available for the iPad like it does for the iPhone. There is also no option to expand the memory. No USB or Firewire slots, no SD slot, no HDMI ports, no LAN ports and no disc drives.

Apple has made a very decent attempt in introducing a tablet PC but it’s got gaping holes. Their thinking and imagination has been restricted by the iPhone and they’ve taken the mobile concept and enlarged it with a few changes. There is no multi-tasking. That means you can do one job or run one program at a time. The whole concept of minimising and running in the background is unavailable. Apple has made the iPad dependant on another computer. You need a computer to sync and configure your iPad like you do with your iPod and iPhone. I can't imagine taking the iPad to class. It'll be so difficult to type on it and to use MS Word and Excel at the sametime (and the fact that i cant install them on it).

The main advantage for the iPad is that it’s an Apple product. If HP or Dell had introduced this it would certainly have failed. If you ask me to rate it on 5 stars, I’ll give it 2.5-3 stars.

Apple could have done a brilliant job but instead they come out with a half baked product which is more based on the mobile concept than the computer concept. They just took a step backward. On the other hand their main competitor, NotionInk’s Adam is the perfect tablet PC which is a PC which is mobile, instead of a mobile which is a PC (iPad).

p.s. coming soon... Adam without Eve

-> SJ

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