Sep 7, 2010 - iPad Review - Part 3 - General Findings

When I first purchased the iPad, I was mesmerized by this cool and convenient little touchscreen device. I could carry it anywhere, read or write in any number of programs, and every day I was finding a new app to keep me entertained or make me more productive.


Months later, the honeymoon period may be over, but I am still as impressed as I was on day one.


Apple created a new computing paradigm with the iPad, namely a touchscreen tablet. In its most basic form, it's a mobile device that allows you to surf the web, watch videos, listen to music, and read email. This is what you pull out of that nice little apple box, but it's just the beginning.


The strength of the iPad is the app store. It is through the apps in the store that the device is able to morph into something that caters to you. If you're an artist, there are apps for that. If you're a doctor, there are apps for that. A gamer? Of course, there are apps for that. If I recall correctly, the last count I remember seeing pegged iPad apps at 200,000 and growing.


Apple got a big jump on the tablet market when they launched the iPad. Now, competitors are starting to emerge, and new devices are on the horizon. While I don't doubt that Research in Motion, Samsung, or *cough* Microsoft may be able to create competitive offerings, I must say, I think Apple's first-to-market footing is a big deal. Everyone else seems to be copying at the moment, in my opinion, while Apple's app inventory continues to grow.


In closing, I'd like to give a synopsis of my findings, in very simplistic form. For all the upside the iPad offers, indeed, there may be some downside as well. For all the "wow, I love this thing" reviews you may read, yes, there are some frustrations.


Pros



  • easy and enjoyable to use

  • constantly growing selection of apps to enhance the device's capabilities

  • currently the leader in the tablet space

  • great battery life

  • excellent screen and on-screen controls

  • using additional components, allows for external keyboard, and camera/SD card connection


Cons



  • does not currently support any web-based Rich Text editing, which is a big deal to most bloggers (let's hope this gets fixed soon!)

  • file upload to the web is impossible without a third party app

  • users are forced to rely on iTunes for sync'ing. As a PC user I will say I absolutely hate using iTunes, but that's a topic for a whole other blog article...

  • As the number of apps in the App Store grows, it becomes more cumbersome to find good apps without a third party app (about apps), or reading reviews elsewhere. Surely Apple can devise a more user-friendly way to find apps, but we'll see about that.


 


Part 3 - Conclusion


It hasn't yet been a year since the iPad was released. In the months to come, clearly this format of device can expect to see continuing adoption both in the business world and also with casual internet users young and old.


It's very exciting to watch a new technology emerge in such a successful way. Tablets have been around for years, but none have been so accessible, affordable, useful and exciting as the iPad is proving to be.


The iPad may not replace a laptop just yet, but without a doubt, it affords you a new way of computing. This new paradigm of computing is exciting to me because Apple has raised the bar on what people can expect from a device, and sent other technology creators back to the drawing board, where they are now striving to surpass this excellent device, or at least keep up with it.


If you ask me, this whole tablet computing story has only just begun, but what a great story it is!


In closing, after reading this series of posts about the iPad, you may have the impression that I am what some call an "apple fanboy". Quite the opposite is true. I don't own a Mac and while I wouldn't say I prefer PCs, they are what I use. I generally don't like Apple's business model, proprietary docking mechanisms, closed architecture, and decisions to block certain apps from their devices. Two such examples are Steve Jobs deciding that iPad/iPhone/iPods will not support Adobe Flash, and his shocking decision to ban all apps that feature scantily clad (but clad nonetheless) women. I don't think this mode of top-down "we decide what you get" thinking helps Apple further their success, but regardless, at this time, their hardware and apps are cool enough for them to get away with it... for the time being.


Now, bring on the competition!


 


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