Tablet computers have largely been a failure so far. Having an entire OS on a touch screen (with stylus input) is just awkward and terrible. Even with this, the idea of an Apple tablet has been around for years. It’s what the iPhone’s idea and technology came from. If anyone could succeed in creating one, it’s Apple. Low and behold: the iPad. It’s a tablet that essentially runs an extended version of the iPhone/iPod Touch OS.
First things first. What a horrendous name. Can we move away from this whole “i” thing? iPad? Really? MadTV already did a skit about that one. It sounds like a Chinese knock-off brand of Maxi Pads. And since MadTV is a big enough knock-off already, it’s double-y unoriginal. Moving on.
The hardware is pretty. I wish there were less of a bezel, but I understand why it’s there. It makes sense. It’s super thin and fits into Apple’s design aesthetic nicely. The screen is of a pretty high resolution so videos and photos and the web in general look amazing on it.
Using the iPhone OS was a smart move. It keeps it simple and allows it to be really good at what it does. However, the homescreen does not look too hot all extended like that. Such an awkward use of space. Functionally, it’s fine I suppose, but I expected a little more “Apple elegance.” However, when one of the included apps are open, it looks beautiful. Unfortunately, even with the quick little processor they have in the thing, there is still no multitasking. That is a damn shame. Hopefully they are just saving it for iPhone 4.0. They better be. Being able to run all the apps in the App Store out the gate is a nice feature too.
I wasn’t sure if I was sold on the product when I was just looking at pictures, but watching a video of it changed my mind a bit. (Try to ignore the change-the-world propaganda.) Starting at $499, they actually priced it right, too. It’s cheap enough that it would probably still be worth it to get one. It still needs some things to be a complete winner in my book. A front facing camera (video chat would be incredible on it), multitasking, more of a tweaked UI to make it look like more than a giant iPod Touch, Flash, and it has to feed me my Ritz crackers when I just don’t have the strength or motivation to do it myself.
It’s a good start, for sure. I’ll certainly be jealous of people I see with one. It’s a great mobile device. However, just like the iPhone, I think it’s going to get much better over time.
Edit: The more I think about it, the more I think this will be a success in the home. Especially for those who don’t necessarily need a laptop. I see this device as being perfect for sitting at home, reading books, magazines, surfing the web, and listening to music. If Apple does the right thing, I think it’ll eventually be integrated in the whole home network idea a la Apple TV and there will be streaming content involved. It still needs Flash support, a camera for skype, and multitasking, but if the print industry really adapts and creates the concepts they’ve been showing off, this could be a pretty big deal. Instead of curling up in your Snuggie and reading a book, you could have your iPad.