Monday, November 8, 2010

What's not to like about the iPad?

Generally speaking I'm very impressed with the iPad. Given that it is a brand new category of device, Apple got a whole lot of things right on Version 1.0. This is the reason dozens of other companies are struggling so hard to create an "iPad Killer". Just do a Google search on "iPad killer" and you'll see what I mean. The size, weight and basic design are excellent. Apple has always been "minimalist" in terms of hardware features. They have preferred to let software handle most task and have gone from a one button mouse (that I have always disliked) to a one button iPad which I love.

Apple set the functionality bar high and the price low;  most people thought it would be nearly $1,000 and there was a noticeable gasp at the announcement when the base price was quoted at $499. So it's really hard to come up with something that's "better" in some important way or lower priced.

What don't I like in the current model?

  • Arranging icons on the ten home screens is tedious since they are displayed in simple rows and columns and must be dragged from place to place in a clumsy and sometimes frustrating process. Apple went a long ways toward fixing this problem on the iPhone when they came out with their new operating system - iOS4.1. This version includes folders which contain multiple apps and greatly simplify app organization. It will be available as iOS4.2 on the iPad in November.
  • The iTunes store has evolved from a simple music download service to a powerful but overly complex infrastructure for all manner of activities. These include app downloads as well as syncing and backups for iPhones and iPads. An overhaul of this service is overdue.
  • A camera would be nice and rumors are that the next iPad will have a front facing camera for video conferencing.
  • The iWork productivity applications are weak on the iPad. I use the Keynote app for all my presentations and it is very limited compared to the iMac version. It appears Apple wanted to demonstrate that the iPad was a business tool and rushed these apps out to make the point. I'm definitely looking forward to an upgrade of these apps.
  • Printing capabilities are very limited. Again, the iOS4.2 upgrade will include wireless printing capabilities and it will be important that they get that right.
  • There is currently no USB connection which makes it impossible to connect directly to a printer.
  • There is no memory card interface. Internal memory up to 64GB should be more than adequate for most people at the present. Other devices that offer memory card capability often provide significantly less internal memory. And since more and more of our information and media will be stored on the Internet (the Cloud), internal memory should become less and less important.

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