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iPad Review 750

This weekend saw the delivery of iPads into hundreds of thousands of filthy hands. I managed to get my hands on a 32GB unit and put it through its paces for a battery charge and a half, and wanted to take a few minutes to share some notes with you. But if you don't care to read the whole review, let me give you a hint: I am typing this review on my laptop.

The packaging is minimal and sleek. Almost nothing comes inside the box: just a cable, power cube and some minuscule documentation that nobody will read. The iPad itself arrived fully charged. It is usable out of the box without any syncing, but I chose almost immediately to pair it with my laptop just to get all my apps and data on it. This syncing process took forever. It's kind of amazing how long it takes to sync 20 or so gigs of movies and mp3s. This isn't unique to the iPad of course, but I never really noticed it on the phone since I don't sync video there.

The UI and functionality is pretty much as expected: It's a big iPhone. There are some minor differences (like being able to drag different numbers of items to the sticky footer menu). The new calendar application is nice. But the star is the mail client. Reading mail on my iPhone has been the "Last Resort," but the speed and clean layout and usability of the iPad mail app makes me prefer it to my desktop. I need a faster way to mark spam, but that's not necessarily the end of the world. Writing mail on the iPad is a different story. More on that below.

The new photo app is decent, but if you have a large number of albums and events it gets tough to find specific stuff quickly. I can't figure out why the iPhone and now the iPad don't make use of folders. Their mac equivalents both let you create nicely nested hierarchies of albums or playlists, but those both get lost on their little cousins where screen real estate is even MORE important. The video app seems to do strange things with thumbnails: it seemed to want to give videos the same thumbnail icon if they share an "Album." This means navigating my home movies category is lame because all 15 or so videos have the same thumbnail. It shouldn't be that way.

My iPad has no 3G, therefore it has no GPS. But applications were constantly asking me for permission to use my location. This seems like an oversight: if you don't have a location sensor, don't ask! Even the built-in Map app asked me for information that it could not possibly have.

Finally, time to test Safari: I tested out Slashdot first, and it renders pretty well. There are a couple of minor layout glitches and a few trickier functionality problems. The problems are mostly the same as the iPhone, but having the larger screen makes it a lot more obvious. I'll probably get some tickets into the system this week to clean up these bugs.

When I started browsing the net at large I noticed a few interesting problems: The first is that a lot of websites are serving iPhone pages to the iPad. So you get a number of ridiculously minimalistic pages on the big bright screen. It's laughably annoying to see these teeny tiny menus. Most sites seem fine, but I was surprised at the number of mainstream sites that thought I needed this. The lack of Flash is MUCH more noticeable than I thought it would be. The good news is that YouTube seems to embed cleanly and in-place, so a lot of video oriented websites still work fine. But the lack of Flash hurts. Apple has made their position known on the subject, so I'm not expecting anything to change. The lack of a real scroll bar make sites that make use of frames for navigation not really work properly. At the end of the day, I was surprised at the number of sites that actually had SOME problem with them. Most worked fine, but when something fails, I noticed more than I do on the iPhone. I think this is simply a user expectation thing: on my phone I expect things NOT to work and am happy when they do. On the iPad I expect things to work as well as they do in Safari in my desktop, and am irritated when they don't.

I tried out a good number of apps. The NetFlix app is really nice, but it doesn't let me rate selections using their little star system. Since I'm OCD about that, this bugs me. Epicurious is a fantastically elegant little recipe system that really shines on the system. ABCs app works but meh. The Weather Channel has a nice little app, and several of my old favorites have ports that make at least some use of the big screen. I suspect it'll be a few months before we really see what the unit has to offer since many of the most popular apps haven't been ported yet. I'm thinking Facebook and even the Apple Remote are very overdue. But hey, the old versions work, they just look like crap.

Let me talk about User Accounts. An iPhone doesn't have them, which is fine because one phone sits in one person's pocket. But your laptop is passed around, and the user account system on a Mac is necessary in any place where you want multiple people sharing a computer with any regularity. The iPad needs it: since this machine wants to be seen in a public place and be handed around, my wife shouldn't have to keep logging out of Gmail and Facebook. And I shouldn't have to leave my iPad on the coffee table signed into my mail. And I shouldn't have to sign out every time I put it down, leaving a brick on the table unusable by guests.

Finally let me talk about the device itself. It's heavy. I mean, surprisingly heavy. The specs say that it is 1.5lbs, which sounded very light on paper. For the first few minutes, I liked the heft; I felt that I was holding a solid, well-crafted item in my hands. But then I started trying to figuring out ways to type. I wrote a number of emails of moderate length and slowly realized that I just don't like typing on this thing. It's fine for URLs and names and passwords and a sentence here and there. But to actually sit down and write a thousand-word review well, there's just no way. I tried many different angles, but in order to hold it in your lap and type, you sorta need to prop it against your belly. Holding it up one handed made my arm kinda tired fairly quickly: unless I'm willing to squish my thumb against the center of the screen. When I do this, the center of gravity shifts and it's much more comfortable to hold, but there's a giant thumb blocking my screen, making it impossible to type. You can cradle it in your arm and type one-handed. That seems like the only way to use it while standing. But I just don't see myself writing anything lengthy. After a day of heavy usage, I felt a little sore. The size and shape is nearly perfect. But all that screen and battery sure feels heavy when it's spread out like this.

But I'll tell you what I like: Having a casual PC at arm's length for a quick lookup of something. Working within the screen size of the iPhone often makes simple internet tasks unwieldy, but provided whatever you need doesn't use Flash, this is a great little web browser. Fast and pretty.

Since the announcement of the iPad, I've wondered what its role could be. My first big question was whether it be a complete replacement PC for "Grandma." Like many of you, I'm occasionally called upon to do little tech support tasks on PCs that do very little, and I was hoping that this might be the solution. After just one day I know this is not going to work for them. The difficulty of using the keyboard. The missing Flash. And the lack of video camera for chatting with the grandkids make this device simply not ready for them.

My other big question is how much of a replacement PC it could be for a power user. Now I can work around Flash and rarely need a camera, but what is clear to me is that a huge percentage of my screen time is spent staring at iChat. While I don't usually need a camera or microphone, my iChat is connected to 4 different networks, and I simply can't do my job without the steady stream of co-worker notes and bot notifications that I rely on. I've yet to find an app that lives in the background and is capable of connecting to the 4 distinct networks that I use. (AIM, SSL'd Jabber and Non-SSL'd Jabber)

I'm not expecting a WoW client or anything, but Chat? Seriously, Apple: You're on iPhone 3.something-or-other and you can't give us a chat client? I can only hope that the end of the exclusive AT&T era means that Apple will no longer be tied to some secret back room deal that forced iPhones to try to shove users to the crap SMS network to pad a telco profit margin despite the fact that our devices are living on a Wi-Fi network.

So, what does Apple need to fix?

  • Lose several ounces. PLEASE.
  • Video Camera
  • iChat
  • User switching (or at least an Anonymous mode)

I used it for a day and a half and think that it will be an excellent couch companion PC. I'm also certain that on planes, long car rides, and vacations it will be a great little machine. The battery life is pretty dang amazing. But this is a 1.0 piece of hardware running 3.0 software. The size/shape is great. The speed is wonderful. And 2 years of Moore's law might make this a device to be reckoned with if Apple sells enough of them to continue heavy development on the software and hardware. This version isn't a replacement PC for anyone yet, but future versions might be. You probably want to save your cash until then.

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iPad Review

Comments Filter:
  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#31735482) Journal
    Considering that the last time he passed comment on an Apple handheld, his prediction was pretty lame [slashdot.org]

    I don't think this is the ultimate device for keyboard-focussed nerds, but (as usual) that's not who Apple is aiming at. I guess we'll have to wait and see how well it really does, but selling 300k in one day, in one country compares pretty well to the 3G and 3GS phones (which sold ~1M in 3 days, in 21 countries worldwide).

    [Aside - not directed at the review]
    perhaps it's just me, but the qualifier "just" in "just a bigger iphone/ipod touch" seems somewhat questionable. Does anyone here want to trade their HDTV for an SD model ? Thought so. With a TV, all you do is view it. On an iPad you'll interact with it - that 5x screen-estate isn't a "just", it's a "crucially", IMHO.

  • iPad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#31735484)

    The lack of Flash is MUCH more noticeable than I thought it would be.

    This is true. Just try browsing the web without plug-ins enabled; you find a need to enable them surprisingly often for Flash. You probably think that you don't visit so many video or flash game sites, but a lot of times slashdot links to articles that have videos, or you're reading about gaming news and it has a trailer or gameplay footage you want to see. However in this case you can't even turn Flash on when you want to.

    After just one day I know this is not going to work for them. The difficulty using the keyboard. The missing Flash. And the lack of video camera for chatting

    So basically there's no good use for iPad. No big surprise there - just blatant stupidity from over-excited Apple fanbois.

  • Location (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Salamander ( 56587 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:47PM (#31735540)

    If you don't have a GPS, it uses wifi-location. So its not ridiculous at all to ask; maybe you should
    have tried it before complaining?

    It works rather well, actually.

  • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:50PM (#31735586)

    His predictions are correct. The first iPods were lame. The (first) iPad is lame.

    He did not say that they will not sell well with a high profit margin.

  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:51PM (#31735610) Journal

    I don't think this is the ultimate device for keyboard-focussed nerds, but (as usual) that's not who Apple is aiming at.

    But he noted that the iPad isn't usable even for grandmas. Lets face it, you have to use keyboard every now and then to use web or to do basically anything. That's not going to change until we have good speech recognition. Also if the iPad weights too much even for a guy without your hands getting sore, how can a grandma keep it in hand?

    Fancy graphic designers and such that like Apple products also need Flash because thats what they develop for and is the de facto standard. But there's no support for Flash or any of the Adobe products. Therefore it's useless for that group too.

    It's not good for business, as theres it weights a lot, doesn't run multiple IM and chat programs at the same time (when you want to login to MSN, you have to get off Skype), and it doesn't support MS Office.

    It's not good for homes as theres no multiple user accounts.

    Who is iPad aimed at then?

  • Good review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dskzero ( 960168 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:52PM (#31735628) Homepage
    The keyword is the point that it isn't a replacement PC for anyone. I sincerely hope people realize that, so the flame wars can move on and debate about something else.
  • by daffmeister ( 602502 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:53PM (#31735636) Homepage

    I don't think this ever will be, or is intended to be, a replacement computer, even for stuff as simple as writing emails. It's intended to be an entertainment device and sometime organiser. Reading the newspaper, watching TV, playing games, finding recipes. Stuff that we did before computers, just an electronic version of such stuff. If there's a big enough market for that, and I think there might be, this will do very well.

  • by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <hector AT marcansoft DOT com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:56PM (#31735680) Homepage

    You do on the iPad, as GPS and 3G go hand-in-hand in the still unavailable 3G model. But Taco was confused by the Wi-Fi location finding system that does work on his non-3G model.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:57PM (#31735714) Journal
    You know, growing up, I used to do archery a lot at summer camp. When ever we would accidentally hit the wrong target, or anything other than the target we were aiming for, we'd cry out "That's exactly what I was aiming for". It was obvious BS that was funny. But people still try doing that like the parent post. If a product doesn't suit your needs then well, it must be intentionally not aiming for you. Its not the products fault it doesn't suite you , its your fault for not being the target!

    Of course, the opposite was equally practised, and even funnier. Sometimes, a friend would hit the bullseye, then it would be required to claim that he was really aiming for the tree. This is more rare to see in tech circles. People are smart enough, and don't have the same sense of humour that kids do to claim it. Usually, when people make the "aiming for" statement its of the first kind: psuedo marketing BS.
  • Re:To sum it up: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:04PM (#31735834) Homepage

    How is a touchscreen input that's approximately the same size going to help?

    You will have all the crampedness of the netbook keyboard without any of the tactile feedback.

    It will be the worst of both worlds.

  • I suppose you're trying to be funny, but let's do an experiment.

    lift your arm up and hold it there for 30 minutes.

    the iPad could weigh zero pounds, but it's still a tablet and so suffers from the "gorilla arm" phenomenon of being impossible to use for extended periods.

    the iPhone would have the same problem, but it's designed to be used for a couple minutes and then put away in your pocket/purse.

  • Re:To sum it up: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bflong ( 107195 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:11PM (#31735958)

    I'm 6'5" and one of my huge hands spans across the entire keyboard on my eee901. I *love* my netbook, and would never trade it in for something like an iPad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:15PM (#31736046)

    Not to mention that GPS does not rely on the cell phone network at all.

    The author of this review clearly does not have an even basic understanding of GPS.

    The author of this comment clearly does not have an even basic understanding of A-GPS.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:18PM (#31736106) Journal

    I use it to define a "jump page" that's crammed full of all the hotlinks I normally use, organized to find them easily

    Yeah, I used to do that, back before bookmarks became a standard feature of every browser.


  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:20PM (#31736132) Journal

    The original flaw was in assuming that nobody would want a device with “no wireless, less space than a nomad”... and it turned out that plenty of people did want a portable MP3 player that lacked wireless and had less space than a nomad.

    I can’t really say I expect the iPad predictions to be very far off base, though. It’s either a large, bulky iPhone or a slim but not very usable laptop. And they didn’t sell out, which tells you something... ideally you’d want them to sell out; if the demand is high you can continue to charge similarly high prices for the next releases. If stores still have the original batch sitting on the shelves after opening week, though, you’re going to have to either drop the price to get more people to buy them or else accept the fact that you’ve found a niche market that is turning out to be smaller than you thought.

  • Location (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:37PM (#31736480)

    My iPad has no 3G, therefore it has no GPS. But applications were constantly asking me for permission to use my location. This seems like an oversight: if you don't have a location sensor, don't ask!

    If you're going to review a product, at least make an effort to understand its functionality and features. The iPad (and iPhone and iPod Touch) are capable of geolocation based on your wifi connection. My iPod Touch (1st gen) is able to locate me within about 50-100 meters of my actual location just from wifi information. It's actually quite impressive.

    Given that this has been the case for quite a long time and is not a new development, there is no excuse for someone reviewing the product for Slashdot to be unaware of it. Also, given that you apparently are unaware of it, it puts pretty much every one of your opinions on the product into perspective - namely, that you are not sufficiently knowledgeable to be reviewing the product.

    In other words, I stopped reading at that point. If I'm going to read a review on a product, I like it to be a vaguely informed view. It has nothing to do with you obviously knocking the device - I read all of Cory Doctorow's review and he blasted the product. I disagreed with the majority of his review, but I read it because it was an informed review. I stopped reading your review because you don't know what you're talking about.

    I know I shouldn't, but I expect better from Slashdot...

  • Re:To sum it up: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lupis42 ( 1048492 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:43PM (#31736636)

    Even then they suck. They're slow, and have horrible battery life.

    And that's where the iPad comes in.

    What, by being slower, and impossible to type on.

    How does that help?

  • by stewardwildcat ( 1009811 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:44PM (#31736640)
    Its perfect to embed into a table at an internet cafe.
  • Re:To sum it up: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:44PM (#31736652)

    Wow way to generalize...

    Clearly not all netbooks are created equal but...

    the standard 1st gen netbook w/ atom 270 and integrated graphics kills the ipad when it comes to performance,keyboard ergonomics, and don't even get me started on the feature-set...and has anywhere from a short to extremely long (8+ hr) battery life...you can choose to buy a smaller battery, larger battery, or 50000 batteries...

    the point is, your statements are flat out wrong unless you're talking about the worst netbook that came out 1.5 yrs ago...

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:47PM (#31736728)

    What if you get an e-mail from a business associate asking for a price of one of your widgets? You would have to memorize what the quantity was, go to your spreadsheet app, and pull that price from the list and memorize it. Then you have to go back and write it in the e-mail. Room for error? I think so.

    That might be how you'd do it. Me, I'd use copy and paste.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:49PM (#31736774)

    though. Many of the people into ereaders are excited about it:
    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=170 [mobileread.com]

    I already know it's not a notebook computer. But a similiar sized Kindle DX casts $489. Yeah, it has a e-ink screen, but the contrast (dark gray on light gray) is awful. But the battery life is fabulous. This has pretty good battery life but tell me how the screen is for reading. Please.

  • by amplt1337 ( 707922 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:51PM (#31736814) Journal

    you have to use keyboard every now and then to use web or to do basically anything. That's not going to change until we have good speech recognition.

    Which doesn't bode well for the iPad, because the last thing you want to do is go around dictating everything on a device that's meant to be used on-the-go, in public.

    Who is iPad aimed at then?

    Apple thinks everything it touches will become gold. So it's assuming -- like all the gushy tech reviewers -- that this is a device that will "make its own niche" or for which people will "discover needs and uses they didn't realize they had." Okay, that's possible I suppose, but people have been talking about this thing for months, and the best case anybody's been able to make for it is as an e-book reader. Seriously guys?

    This device will prove to have been a mistake.

  • by Webz ( 210489 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:53PM (#31736856)

    I've never liked being strapped to a desk. Don't get me wrong, I love technology through and through, but having to sit down to harness it is a real bummer. It's not good for your physical health to be sitting down so much! At least with the iPad there's a larger chance of tapping into some tech from a more natural position like on the couch or at the kitchen table. Or even at the john.

  • by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:53PM (#31736866) Homepage
    Look, I know we all like cool new gadgets, and certainly the iPad is the latest and greatest. As the review points out, it still isn't clear what it is for. My personal main gripe would be that you can't write on it as if it were paper, more specifically a pad of paper. What characterizes flat things about the size of the iPad that have the word "pad" in their names? You write on them with some kind of stylus, be it a pen, a pencil, a piece of plastic, a crayon, whatever. This, of course, implies robust handwriting recognition, which would be truly revolutionary in the form factor and price point of the iPad.

    Watching video and listening to music are both well-covered by other cheaper (and arguably better and more convenient) devices. The author above wishes the iPad were better for email, but that will probably take a few years to get right on the iPad, if they get it right at all. I get the impression that somebody pushed the iPad through the pipeline because they thought it would be a damn cool device, not because it would be ideal for any specific, well thought out use cases. They made it because they could. That seems more like dumb and wasteful consumerism rather than intelligent revolutionary innovation.
  • Re:Yup. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:59PM (#31736982)

    no USB ports, no flash-card reader...these are things that would be very trivial to add from both a cost and engineering perspective, yet are still lacking
    Because adding those things would prevent it from being smooth and sleek. Jobs hates ports on devices for aesthetic reasons and he has final say on design. Thus, Apple products have the bare minimum needed for the device to function. Didn't you ever wonder why so many Apple products have the batteries are sealed inside? If a battery compartment door would spoil the lines, you're dreaming if you expect something as hideous as a USB port.

  • Re:iNough! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:59PM (#31736992) Homepage Journal

    If 1 1/2 lbs is too heavy for the iPad, the JooJoo is going to feel like a lead brick at 2 1/2.

  • Re:To sum it up: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yurtinus ( 1590157 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:11PM (#31737302)
    Exactly - it's all about expectations. If you buy it expecting a laptop, you are bound for disappointment. Sure, it has more pixels than the first laptop I owned, but we've become accustomed to bigger screens and more space so our expectations are pretty up there.

    I bought mine as an internet appliance. In a pinch I have used it for general computing (programming, office work, etc). It sucks in that role, but it's great that it can do it when needed.

    I wouldn't go so far as to tie fine motor control or vision problems - there are plenty of folks who simply aren't comfortable on those keyboards or screens.
  • Re:iPad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azmodean+1 ( 1328653 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:11PM (#31737308)

    As someone who runs FlashBlock on all of my computers, I find this hilarious. I understand that some people want tiny video playing at them all the time, and that's fine, but I have NEVER wanted flash when browsing.

    To be clear, I consider "watching video" to be separate from "browsing", YMMV. Same disclaimer applies for "playing flash games". All other uses of flash I have encountered have been forced on me by the page author not providing an alternative. I have never *wanted* the "enhanced flash experience", I just want the content damnit.

    Also, I'm not defending the iPad, I pretty much hate Apple. I'm just responding to the comment about flash.

  • by znu ( 31198 ) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:12PM (#31737342)

    But we like doing those on a computer.

    You might. There are a lot of people who outright hate the way current computing platforms work. You just don't see this articulated in forums frequented by tech enthusiasts, because tech enthusiasts are, basically by definition, people who like the way computers work...

    And having played with an iPad, I have to say, even a fair number of tech enthusiasts will probably find they like the way this works better. I mean, really, managing window clutter and file system hierarchies, interacting the the computer via a device that provides only a single point of interaction, messing around with software installation and uninstallation, waiting around for the computer to respond, having to sit at a desk (even with laptops) for non-akward ergonomics.

    How good is the user experience with current computing devices, really? Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a little super-responsive nearly zero-maintanence device with 10 hours of battery life?

  • by HermMunster ( 972336 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:13PM (#31737374)

    I wrote several posts here on Slashdot about the usability of this device. Anyone having used an iPod or iPhone to watch a movie or type long sections of text knows that those devices don't cut it for long use. The screen size and the need to constantly hold it or hold it at a specific angle affect comfort. Various programs require different ways of dealing with the device. Software is also part of the comfort level.

    I was watching a site where the publishers were demoing games. What struck me was that the person playing the games had to be quite dexterous in order to accomplish some things (might work for a youthful adult but a young child or the grand parents won't fare well). He distended his fingers and thumbs, he kept having to readjust the position of his hand to keep them on the controls.

    Even the chat clients can become an issue because you have to keep switching out of them to view links that people send. A buddy sends me link to all sorts of sites while we chat, from looking up a product on ebay.com or newegg.com to articles about technology or automotive. I have to copy the link, then close out of the chat, and then switch to the browser, paste the URL (because no way on earth I'm going to type it again). It works even though it is cumbersome.

    I stated that the iPad is a short use device and that it can't be anything else. Even if Apple managed to cut down the weight it would still be difficult to hold and type, especially if you are laying down on your back on the couch. There's no way around it. The weight while holding it with one hand and typing with the other is going to be too much. Laying on the couch with your legs propped up while you watch a movie won't cut it. Sitting up and staring down at it will strain the neck.

    The comfort level will be tied directly to it's success. If you can't use this half-portable device for extended periods without stress then people won't adopt it. Half-portable because it isn't like an ipod or iphone.

    Other things have to be taken into account too. We don't just see the glitzy gimmicky features and jump on them without evaluating the tradeoffs. Meaning that once we get it the novelty wears off and we begin to evaluate how it will impact how we function on a daily basis. A device such as this is expected to be a portable life organizer, so to speak.

    My thoughts beckon from the fact that I find it uncomforable to use my iPhone for extended periods of time. I've tried to watch a few movies. I found it useful on trips or places where I had long waits. At home it was best used as a phone. The battery life on the iPhone doesn't cut it. Having both the iPhone and iPad with non-removable batteries is a complete letdown. The fact is, designing it this way is unnecessary. Considering what is inside the thing adding the ability to remove the battery wouldn't have affected the weight or design much. In fact, using it plugged in with the battery out would have increased the comfort level considerably.

    The success of the device so far is based solely on marketing and frankly nothing else.

  • by bynary ( 827120 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:13PM (#31737386) Homepage

    ...no Firefox allowed in the App store, which is what would REALLY force multi-touch Safari to get more usable.

    Hmmm...I've never used multi-touch Firefox. How is it?

  • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:20PM (#31737536) Homepage

    While it still sounds pretty bad (and second monitor via network is a bad idea) the fact that these clowns couldn't figure out right off the bat that you have to turn off video mirroring is just laughable.

  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:20PM (#31737544)

    But he noted that the iPad isn't usable even for grandmas. Lets face it, you have to use keyboard every now and then to use web or to do basically anything. That's not going to change until we have good speech recognition.

    Or at least until someone invents a keyboard that works without wires, maybe through bluetooth? Nah, that will take centuries, what am I thinking....

    Also if the iPad weights too much even for a guy without your hands getting sore, how can a grandma keep it in hand?

    We're talking about CmdrTaco here, not a regular guy. 1.5 lbs? Get to the gym.

    Fancy graphic designers and such that like Apple products also need Flash because thats what they develop for and is the de facto standard. But there's no support for Flash or any of the Adobe products. Therefore it's useless for that group too.

    Yeah I'm sure you won't be able to read PDFs at all on this thing.

    It's not good for business, as theres it weights a lot, doesn't run multiple IM and chat programs at the same time (when you want to login to MSN, you have to get off Skype), and it doesn't support MS Office.

    Yep, I don't know how anyone can get any business work done without being distracted with multiple chat windows opening on any machine they use. Even photocopiers come equipped with multiple simultaneous chat clients these days; what was Apple thinking! And yeah there's no support for Office, that's why you can read Word and Excel documents flawlessly on the iphone.

    It's not good for homes as theres no multiple user accounts.

    Yes because every home user should also have leet sysadmin skills.

    Who is iPad aimed at then?

    Nobody, following your impeccable logic. I guess you're right, they won't sell any of these things!

  • by justinb26 ( 1783508 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:25PM (#31737682)
    Let's hit a couple points:

    Touch keyboards seem a lot more limiting when you touch type 80+ wpm on a physical keyboard. Grandma's hunt-and-peck speed isn't going to be affected much. There are stands and docks available. I paired a random folding bluetooth keyboard last night with no hassle.

    There are plenty of multi-IM chat programs. Most are not updated for ipad yet, but they work fine for the time being via upscaling. Keep in mind this is a device with 150k+ compatible apps on launch day, plus hundreds of native ones, and most developers NEVER EVEN TOUCHED THE DEVICE before releasing v1 of their ipad software. That fact continutes to amaze me.

    How did you want it to support MS office, that you think it doesn't do so? Obviously you're not talking about file format compatibility through the iWork apps, the third party Office-compatible apps, or published apps via Citrix (not to mention VNC/RDP)? Is the problem that this thing doesn't have a native version of the MS Office suite (on day 1 no less)? Are you really surprised by this?

    Now, the continued outcry over Flash support is just stupid. Flash was never a good solution for online video, it just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Flash games are not exactly crucial to my online experience, but YMMV. Most importantly, the majority of flash apps are NOT MADE FOR TOUCH INTERFACES: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2010/02/20/an-adobe-flash-developer-on-why-the-ipad-cant-use-flash/ [roughlydrafted.com]

    (tl;dr - Flash apps make heavy use of "hover", something that makes no sense on a touch UI (yes, I have a wacom-based tablet and understand how that tech works. that's a pen interface, not a touch interface).

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around this fact: there is now a $500, 10", 1.5lb, .5" thick, slate formfactor, 10 hours battery life, fast, 3d accelerated, multitouch freakin' tablet on the market. It runs an OS built for multitouch. There are over 150,000 apps available on launch day.

    And people are falling all over themselves to complain about it.

    The iPad is something out of Star Trek or HHGTTG, the sort of thing nerds have been dreaming about for decades. Yet there are people for whom the most important aspect of this is the lack of flash (and a camera, and a desktop OS, and it's too heavy, and the bezel's too big, and the app store is evil, and, and, and)...

    Way to really, really miss the point. These are most likely the same people that said the same sort of things about the iPod, the iPhone, the Wii, hell, probably the color tv and automatic transmission, too.

    Bottom line is that the iPad is a glimpse at what the future of (casual) computing is going to look like. If you don't want to get onboard, that's fine, but don't cry when you realize the train has left the station without you.
  • by dhobbit ( 152517 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:26PM (#31737706)

    This device is as revolutionary as the GUI was in 1984. For the next decade the computing industry continued to look at the GUI as a toy. Real work was done in text UI's or at the CLI. We nerds need to realize that the rest of the world doesn't want to depend on us to get their work done. And they don't want to think about the device in their hands. What they want is something that just works 98% of the time. Push the button and its ready to use.

    The average grandma doesn't spend a lot of time typing. They want to keep recipes, look at photos, read email, and do some web browsing. Just what this device excels at.

    The average business user wants to do light note taking in meetings. But really is just scheduling the next event, looking up emails, or reading preexisting docs.

    The average sys ads is sshed to a remote server or working through VNC or some such. Having a netbook or laptop doesn't help me get remote task done faster.

    And for all the above typing tasks I can hook it up a keyboard dock or pair it a one of several bluetooth keyboards I already have.

    Computing is change, this is where the industry is going. Love it or hate it you need to accept it.

  • by lushmore ( 41101 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:28PM (#31737762)

    I gave some thought to why there's no video camera. I mean, it seems obvious that this thing should have a camera, right? And the teardown shows exactly where the camera was supposed to go.

    I bet the software wasn't ready yet. Apple couldn't get the software ready in time for launch so they pulled the camera out. If they had left it in then they would have to open up its functionality to Skype and every other app writer who wants to put out video chat functionality. By putting the camera (in iPad 2nd generation) and the software on the same schedule, Apple makes video chat part of the core functionality of the device and gets to lock out every other video chat app.

    Now the question remains as to why the software wasn't ready, seeing as how iChat would seem to be a fairly easy port to the iPad. Maybe they have something new and cool in mind for video chat? Or maybe there were some carrier restrictions. In any case, be thankful that they couldn't include the camera or right now you'd be at Starbucks trying to read Slashdot on your laptop while listening to some hipster having a video conversation with his hipster friend at the Starbucks on the other side of the street.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:30PM (#31737802) Homepage

    Oh pulleeze. The keyboard on the iphones suck. I can attest to this from personal firsthand experience and really bizarre looking Slashdot posts. Citing the fact that the ipad has a keyboard much like the iphone is only going to be convincing to those that have already been completely converted.

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:34PM (#31737912)

    Also if the iPad weights too much even for a guy without your hands getting sore, how can a grandma keep it in hand?

    We're talking about CmdrTaco here, not a regular guy. 1.5 lbs? Get to the gym.

    But it's 1.5 pounds spread across a large plane; it's not like a tiny dumbbell. So, you've got some torque built up from the lever-action, and you have to use a couple of your fingers to do half of the lifting. Do you regularly manipulate 0.75 pounds with a couple fingers for hours on-end? Wait, don't answer that.

  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:36PM (#31737976) Homepage Journal

    I finally figured it out! You have to tap the vertical margin or the make-believe stack of pages. Tapping anywhere near the center does nothing or goes in to text selection mode. It still does the page curl.

    Gotta love this "intuitive" UI.

  • Re:To sum it up: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArtDent ( 83554 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:39PM (#31738038)

    Huh? I can touch type just fine on my netbook (an IdeaPad S10e). They keys are almost full size, and the feel is great. I've experienced worse with some desktop keyboards. The screwy placement of the right shift key (to the right of the up arrow) took some time to get used to, but I that's not a problem with any other netbook, as far as I know.

    Now if we could just convince some OEMs to replace the horrible little touch pads with trackpoints or touch screens, we'd be in business.

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:47PM (#31738232) Homepage Journal

    This device will prove to have been a mistake.

    Apple must really stop making all these heavily profitable mistakes..

  • by calstraycat ( 320736 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @02:55PM (#31738412)

    While I don't have any empirical data or specs to back up this claim, I strongly suspect the greatest contributors to the overall weight of the iPad are the glass screen and the battery. So, the only way to substantially reduce the weight would be to go with a plastic screen and a smaller battery. If they did that everyone would bitch about scratches and poor battery life.

  • Re:iPad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:03PM (#31738614) Journal

    And the lack of video camera for chatting

    This is one thing I don't really get--the video camera.

    Let's say you've got the video camera. How are you going to position it so the camera sees you. And how are you going to maintain that position for, say, a 5 minute chat?

    Put the iPad on your lap with the camera facing up and you end up with lots of light coming in. So you can't really see the face of the person you're talking to very well. Holding it out at arms length might be better, but could be tiring.

    But, hey, you can always spend an extra $29-$39 for something that will hold it up.

    While the idea of a video chat while on the go sounds cool, I'm not all that convinced it's going to work.

  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:11PM (#31738788)

    I get this, I really do, but I don't see how it is unique to the iPad. This is true for the Kindle, for example. And the Zune. And just about any net-aware appliance I can think of that doesn't run Linux. And the thing is, hackers who want to do something cooler with the device will figure out how, and Apple will probably mostly look the other way like they have with people putting osx on whiteboxes or jailbreaking iphones. They're not going to openly encourage hackers, but they're also not wasting their resources going after them. In the meantime they are building a device to do the things that they think are cool, and they have a really great app store model for developers to create tools to do their own thing with it. Sure, they have stupid PG-13 rules and annoying reviews of all apps, but those who want to write other apps still do, and the damn thing was jailbroken on day one, so anyone who wants a tricked out ipad with naked pics on their apps and whatever else can certainly still have it. And for the rest of us, if we like the apps that we can find at the app store, what's the big deal? Nobody is stopping you from developing anything you want to.

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:19PM (#31738942)

    His predictions are correct. The first iPods were lame. The (first) iPad is lame.

    He did not say that they will not sell well with a high profit margin.

    That is not a prediction, that is an opinion.

  • I have never found back-lit LCD's to be good for reading. The Kindle battery life and comfortable reading, plus wireless that works pretty much everywhere, make it a great device for people who read. I emphasize that because few people actually read. I've read about studies indicating that only 10% of people who buy books read them to the end. I read almost all my books to the end. I like to read, thus I am in the minority of readers.

    Most people like the idea of reading, but rarely actually read. These people are in the majority. They often buy books, but not in the quantity of the people who read. I certainly see them buying more iPads than Kindles, but how many books are going to actually be purchased by them? Kindle owners buy books all the time - a blog I follow linked to a short book being sold by a community member for $4 on Kindle, and a few days later the author thanked the community for downloading and reading his book in measurable volume.

    I think the iPad will be similar to iTunes and the Wii. Most people store their own mp3's on their iPods and the attach rate on the Wii is the lowest of all consoles. So the hardware manufacturer will make a killing, but the content publishers are not necessarily in the same boat. That's why RIAA/MPAA focus more on P2P and game publishers invest in Xbox 360 games.

    IMHO, the publishers that are working to damage their relationship with Amazon are going to be going back, tails between legs, begging for forgiveness. Meanwhile, an entirely new publishing model will be sprouting to compete with them, because the thing we people who read don't like is buying a $500 device that reduces the distribution costs for the publishers, and then still paying the same amount as the printed version. There's a whole new P2P market being created by this foolishness.

  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:26PM (#31739100)

    Yeah, it has a e-ink screen, but the contrast (dark gray on light gray) is awful.

    It also happens to not cause nearly as much eye-strain, as well as working in bright light.

    I read this eye-strain justification a lot, but truth be told, at the end of a work day, there are very few people out there that feel the effects of eye-strain compared to those that don't.

    Sure, there are enough to justify a product that avoids the eye-strain, but its still a minority. Most people still leave work and go home to sit in front of a computer and read blogs, watch youtube, etc for hours without suffering any eye-strain.

  • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:34PM (#31739258)

    Frankly, the requirements for "a device like this" are defined by the user. I would suggest that since almost every operating system on a device with a screen resolution of the iPad supports windowed multi-tasking, it's probably something that is wanted by the user.

    I'll suggest that the typical user probably doesn't know what windowed multi-tasking means, and doesn't see the need for doing more than on thing at a time. Lots of people seem to maximize their apps on Windows, for example, and I've seen advice to design primarily for that.

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:53PM (#31739566) Journal

    The iPad has only one target: to sell.

    Time will tell if it makes its target. I've seen one, and I won't be buying. It's too big for "on the go", I don't want to carry yet another gadget, and it's both too pricey to be a convenience buy, and too limited to be anything more exciting than my Android phone, except that it requires either wifi or an expensive data plan that I can't share with my laptop. It's big enough to be categorized more like my laptop since it doesn't fit into my pocket, but not capable enough to compare well. I can't use it as a remote control, so it doesn't replace my TV remote, either.

    So it's an expensive, half-assed replacement for cheaper devices that do a better job in their respective areas. (But then, I don't have an iPod either. I use (and love) my Creative Zen!)


  • by Kitkoan ( 1719118 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @04:22PM (#31740124)

    Who is the target audience?

    I doubt Grandma/Grandpa would want it. Not because it lacks a camera, but because of the normal aspects that it lacks. I've had to help elderly with computer things and the most common issue I've noticed is they don't like work arounds. Doesn't support flash, so that kills things like Farmville on their Facebook which has over 75 million users. And it's not the only Facebook game that runs on Flash. Telling them they can't play these games that they enjoy is going to be a killer against the iPad for them since they don't use the internet much, And having to quit whatever they are doing to use a second program isn't going to cut it either since they do that all the time on their computer, why can't the iPad? This isn't supposed to be a simple iPhone so the lack of multiple apps isn't going to go unnoticed. The weight will also be an issue since its meant to be held with one hand and the other hand is to click things, and arthritis is not nice to things like that (why most elderly read a book with 2 hands, helps with the books weight and their arthritis)

    As for business, the weight might get to you. The lack of a functional way of entering letters will be a much bigger issue. A business would use this like a notepad and it's just not designed to be used like a notepad. Also custom software will be a huge let down since many businesses use either custom or niche software, and trying to convince the boss to pony up another $100 or so dollars per unit just to make them 'developer' models and load in house built software isn't going to be a good option either (20 units = $2000, that would be a small business when what they already have works great as it is without spending thousands+ more for units and that extra cost). As mentioned about the lack of keyboard, I doubt a writer would want to use this since typing would be a pain to write more then 2 pages when they could be using a netbook that has a USB port to hold onto a backup copy of their current revision.

    Maybe kids want it? Again the lack of flash makes this a unlikely option since I see the bosses kid at work sometimes and when he goes online, he doesn't go to Facebook or Slashdot.org that doesn't use flash. All the kids want to do is go to places like bored.com and play Flash games. Kids what fun things to do at the moment and impulsively, not sit there and think ahead 'oh, maybe I should load some movies to watch in a few hours from now.'. So I doubt kids would want this either. And unlike Dad's iPhone that Daddy already bought games for, I don't see them being able to go on a shopping spree with Daddies credit card and Daddy might not have the time to look at 'this cool, neat game' little Timmy wants at the moment.

    As for '"fancy graphic designers" don't always use Flash', what else are they using? HTML5? Doubtful since unless it's a video like on YouTube, HTML5 just doesn't cut it. This has been noticed with http://www.quakelive.com/#home [quakelive.com] (needing Flash) can play Quake 3 on a browser without tons of loss and massive hardware requirements, where as Quake 2 running on HTML5 [kotaku.com] has lower graphics (needing less power) ran pretty slow when more then a few objects where on screen (watch the video when 2 or more enemies are on screen and see that slow down). These don't happen on Flash, and so people will want to program these games for Flash because it will work better and faster. And doesn't need as many special addons (like WebGL which I doubt is on the iPad). This was fine on a iPhone since it was a mobile smartphone and no smartphone runs Flash. The iPad is a tablet PC and is the only one that can't use Flash, it will be noticed and this is going to been seen and used as a PC, not a smartphone.

  • by Darfeld ( 1147131 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @04:23PM (#31740140)

    Just wait for the iWhatever to hold your pad. Only $500.

  • by Kitkoan ( 1719118 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @04:37PM (#31740446)

    Well, no. But books can't give you instructional tips in audio and video on every step of what you're cooking.

    Neither can the iPad since those videos online are done in Flash.

  • by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:31PM (#31741330)

    I have never found back-lit LCD's to be good for reading.

    Except for the one you're using now, right?

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?