The long awaited Apple tablet has finally been revealed. Steve Jobs pulled the wraps off on January 27th in a tense morning for Apple and tech fans all over the world. Now with the specifications and information out there it's time to preview the iPad and its potential.
First of all the design is pretty spectacular. The front is dominated by the large 9.7 "LCD Led lit display that without a doubt will look great. Just below the screen you get the iPhone home button that allows you to go back to the beginning at all times. One less pretty feature for me are the black borders around the screen. They are a bit too wide for my taste, it would've been better if Apple was able to stretch the display a little and remove the borders. On the top you get the sleep button that will deactivate the display. On the right side you get the volume buttons and the silence switch, interesting is that the buttons have been moved from left (iPhone) to the right. On the back you get the large black Apple logo in the middle of a big gray (aluminum?) mass. It also says iPad on the back, the number of GBs and a few FCC things that are required to be there I think. It's not impossible to assume that the new iPhone will feature a similar back. is really thin, in fact it's just 0.5 inch thick, that's as thick as a n iPhone. Height and width measures come in at: 9.6 inches and 7.47 inch.
Now lets talk about the software of the iPad. It works very similar to an iPhone. Slide to unlock and you're in the main screen with the typical iPhone icons. You get: YouTube, mail, Safari, contacts, iPod, iTunes, app store, video, settings, maps (by Google!), Calendar, photos and last but not least notes.
The apps have been modified a bit for the new capabilities though. For example photos are now arranged by event blocks. Tapping on a block of photos will show you a preview of the photos in that event (or map for windows users). However you can also view your most treasured memories by list, location, faces or date. We can imagine that it will look really fantastic to manipulate the photographs on a huge touchscreen and to show it to your friends.
Another app Steve Jobs showed extensively was the Safari app. The browsing experience exceeds the desktop experience because you can touch and flick through the pages. And unlike the iPhone you now see the full webpages.
The App store will transform this device into things Apple alone could never achieve. You can run all the iPhone applications on it in either full screen or 1: 1, the latter being the actual resolution we're used to from out favorite smartphone. But in addition to running the iPhone apps, the iPad will also get its own apps. Developers can create programs for it and utilize its full potential. The things we've seen in the keynote, including software from EA, looked okay but not very impressive. In a few months some amazing piece of codes will come out for the tablet we're sure.
I have taken everything into consideration and a few things bug me as of now. Firstly does the iPad have flash support? The tablet is suppose to deliver the best browsing experience ever, but flash is a big part of the experience.
Another thing is the hardware. Apart from the case and the touchscreen things aren't looking good on paper. It has a quadcore 1ghz processor built in from Apple, a company not specialized in these chips. I have fears that this A4 processor might not be fast enough for the really interesting apps. Another downer is the lack of iSight camera. This thing would have been amazing for conferencing or instant messaging, an opportunity missed there. Other hardware figures are a mystery. Like how quick is the graphics chip? And how much system memory does it have to work with?
And last but not least I'm having a hard time giving the software my two thumbs up. I think it looks to much like the iPhone software. The iPad would have been a much stronger product if the software allowed some advanced things like video editing or the ability to access and store files in finder windows (or maps for windows users).
To conclude. The iPad looks amazing and with a price of EUR499 it will sell really well. But much like the first iPhone launch the iPad has some obvious shortcomings. It isn't really fast, has no webcam and on top of that the software is lacking premium computing features. With that said I might still get one if the experience is as amazing as Steve Jobs expressed during his presentation. Which knowing Apple will probably be the case.