Initial Opinion

I was initially very disappointed in Apple for announcing what I was myself calling a “large iPhone that can’t even phone”. I saw no market for the iPad, I just could not see anyone buying it. You really can’t use an iPad unless you already have a computer (you need to be able to sync it) and so I thought why in the hell are people calling it a tablet computer, when it most clearly is not one.

The Good

However since then I have come round to the iPad a bit more. It has a great UI and from what I have seen and heard it works wonderfully in your hand. When I started to think about the kind of people at would use an iPad. I really could only see one possible answer, and that was the kind of people that use Netbooks. When Netbooks first came out I did a review of the Asus EEE PC and one of the major problems it had was the input devices i.e. a keyboards and trackpad, they were just not practical on such a small device. When Netbooks first came out most ran their own version of Linux, but nowadays we see most of them running Windows. The main reason for this is the lack of functionality and applications for the linux based versions. This is not a problem with the iPad as it already has thousands of apps ready to run sitting in the App store. The more I Think about it, it really is what Netbooks should have been. Finally the biggest surprise of all was the pricing; the top of the line only costing $829 (£530 roughly), putting it in perfect contention with other Netbooks.

The Bad

Sorry if this bit sounds like a rant but Apple left out some major stuff. First off why is there no camera? Considering most Netbooks are used for Skyping (and other AIM clients that support video), you would have thought a camera was an obvious one. Next on my list is the lack of Flash, Apple claim this is the best web surfing experience out there, but I ask how can it be if you can’t see anything done in flash? John Gruber of Daring fireball wrote a very interesting piece about this subject, which I suggest you check out. What really gets my goat is that people are calling it a tablet computer when it is clearly not a computer at all; even Steve Jobs calls it an iPod (29:40).

And that is a little bit of an overview of the
iPods hardware

It has no multi tasking and no standard interfaces such as USB ports, so if your friends shows up with a keynote on a memory stick and you want to put it on to your iPad you’ll need a computer; in fact if you want to put anything on your iPad you will need a computer. Apple also seem to be keenly advertising the iBooks function, but what they forget to mention is that at the moment it is US only.

The Ugly

In this case I think the beautiful might be more appropriate. There is no doubt that Jonathan Ive and his team have done a great job designing the iPad. Physically the iPad is slim and familiar. The UI is out standing and brings some of the nicest physical aspect of having a address book and a book in ones hand in to the digital realm. The contextual menus are well integrated and work seamlessly with the larger screen.

Final Opinion

My final thoughts after a bit of contemplation are that of contentment. I think it is a great start but as with any first generation device things are missing. Also I feel the hype didn’t help, people were expecting a fully fledged tablet computer and what they really got was a tablet iPod. I feel the iPad is for people who have a main computer, but might occasionally need a Netbook.