The iPad- yes or no?

Posted on January 28, 2010 by

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Why I’ll be buying one.
by Chloe Morgan.

The modern Moses and his new commandments.

Okay so, I’m not James- I’m not a mac enthusiast, technophilic corporate slave, and i’m not particularly excited about new stuff but, I have to admit, this new techno-whosit apple have bequeathed us has turned my head. I don’t own a laptop of any kind, instead preferring to do all my work on a desktop PC that i’ve been stubbornly upgrading for five and a half years, to the extent that it no longer resembles the original product. Now, I picked up an iPod touch a few months ago and it turns out that the damn thing is the most useful little bit of sparkles in a box i’ve ever held in my hands, and it gave me serious pause for thought about looking into getting a netbook (One of those adorable dinky laptops that inevitably explode) to cover my needs because, as a university student, I don’t wanna be hauling a big heavy laptop around with me all day, even though it’d be reeeeally useful.

And then, out of nowhere, there cometh rumours of something in-between smart phones and laptops, a third (happy, haha) medium which would bridge the gap for people like me, a Tablet PC. ‘Well,’ I thought, as you do, ‘colour me interested’. And I was. So, I did some digging. (I say digging, most of it involved wikipedia, which astonishingly, has yet to be updated with iPad info) Tablet PC’s have been around for a while now, since 2001, although they have mostly been the purview of the other big names like Sony, HP and Panasonic, and which mostly ran Microsoft windows XP Tablet edition, and never became what you might describe as popular. They were more like the stereotypical image of PC users, the nerdy little kid at the back in the big thick glasses who’s socially awkward and doesn’t really have a place. Apple did a lot to change that status quo before going for the Tablet PC market- they came out with the iPhone/iPod touch, brilliant devices in their own right, but also staging grounds and beach heads for a bigger incursion, while giving everybody a taste of what was to come.

I watched a live stream of tweets and photos that James, giddy with excitement, had sent me. Wherein Steve Jobs (Who seems to be a lot healthier than he was, bless him) looking rather like Moses, descended with a Tablet for the people. It was my first technology launch, and I have to admit I was actually getting excited myself about this- could it be what I was searching for? Would it change everything? Well, apparently, Yes. The iPad does everything I need- it can word process, hold music ad pictures and video, browse the web, either via wifi or via 3G with AT&T, runs apps and works as an e-reader. I’m honestly quite enraptured about that last part. I love a good book, me. James believes in the sanctity of paper and bindings, that books are sacred and shouldn’t be interfered with, but I would love to get my hands on a device that holds every book I own without the need to fill my room up with bookcases. The iPad is something I have to get my hands on. On-the-go computing for just $499? Yes please. 10-hour battery? Yes please. iPad? Yes please.

Why I wont be buying one.
by James Eagle

The iPad could save newspapers- or be the final nail in their coffin.

Apple are known for sexy, simplistic styling coupled with form, functionality and innovation. They gave us the definitive MP3 player with the iPod. They forced the market for smart phones to evolve when they released the iPhone. Their products continue to grow and evolve with new technologies, and new markets. The iPad is their newest release- and it looks good. It does everything your iPod touch does, while being bigger, and doing a few things it can’t. It can hold and display e-books, it can use a word processor, spreadsheet and slideshow programs, it plays movies and music and holds your pictures and plays games. The 9.7 inch glossy touch-screen makes it portable in ways that laptops, which can be unwieldy and heavy can’t be. It’ll stream your daily newspaper to you via the ether, hold whole libraries of books and make note pads superfluous. So competitively priced, it could become an invaluable tool to many industries, from Journalism to Personal assistants, because it works. It fits into this hole in the universe that no one even knew existed until yesterday afternoon, and its big enough to look like a business tool, and not some smarmy blackberry gadget. I know it’s primarily marketed at families, and that’s fine, it’s just the thing for introducing the wary to the wonders of Apple, but marketed towards to on-the-go professional, a person with zip, vim and vigour, a person with a can-do attitude and get-up-and-go, this could change the way things are done. Not in some huge revolutionary way. That would be… tacky. The iPad will do it subtly and quietly and it will be in everyones hands within three years. Possibly even mine.

But I wont be getting one on the release-day. Nope. I know, you weren’t expecting it, right? Last June I was converted to the way of Apple, and I will never look back if I don’t have to. Using a normal PC now feels unnatural, slow and clunky. I don’t need convincing to part with cash when it comes to these people. I trust them explicitly, and respect them immensely for being able to stand up against the towering giant of Microsoft. But I wont be getting an iPad. Had my first Apple been an iMac, I would be seriously considering it, but instead I got a Macbook Pro, which cost  pretty penny, and which I adore profusely. But it sort of makes buying an iPad a bit redundant. Between the MBP and my iPod touch, I pretty much have all the bases covered. This is because while it’s new and shiny and definitely something special, the iPad doesn’t do anything I can’t already do.

There’s no stylus for fine control, for example. If they add one of those and an artistic drawing app, it could replace my sketchbook. If it had a camera built in, I could video conference with my friends in america (Like my counterpart Chloe) on the move. With no support for flash (Due to an ongoing battle of attrition between Apple and Adobe) a lot of my internet browsing would be severely stifled. With no USB support (It only has an iPod connection for linking to proper Macs) you could plug a dongle filled with songs in to listen to, or download your latest pictures from a camera, or hook it up to a printer to print out that essay you wrote on it while you rode in on the train. It has a headphone socket, but you’re better off using your iPod because it doesn’t have a huge amount of memory, and it can’t multitask, so if you want to listen to music while typing away, tough luck. And with no SD card slot, there’s no way to up the memory quotient of the iPad either.

When I watched the release, my first technology release with Apple, in fact, I was excited. I had a running commentary on my twitter feed where I made excitable noises about the facts and the figures. Then it was over, and I started to think. I wanted it. But did I need it? It didn’t do anything outright revolutionary, and while I could see how useful it would be, I decided I would wait for the next model. I give it three years. That’s when Apple will come out with a newer, better model. It will have a camera, flash support and more powerful processor capable of multi-tasking without sapping the already impressive battery, and it will still be dirt cheap because Apple are great like that. So call me up in three years, Apple, when I’m ready to settle down at home with an iMac and swap to something smaller for my travels in the outside world.

Like an attractive picture frame, really.

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