A Real Revolution?


“We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product.”  Steve Jobs unveiled the much-anticipated iPad on January 27 during his latest trademark Keynote presentation.  Consumers expected the tablet to be a huge improvement over the iPod Touch, not just a bigger one. Sophomore and iPhone owner Harry Conrad said, “It’s a good idea, but I don’t think many people will buy it.  It’s basically just an iPod Touch on steroids.”

The iPad’s large screen is obviously aesthetic and perfect for viewing important features.  Movies, e-books, and games will all look amazing on the 9.7 inch LCD.  The size also means the problems of pinching in and frustratingly moving around to find details on an iPhone screen are done away with.  With the combination of laptop, e-reader, and smart phone technology, the iPad is again attempting to reduce the need for carrying multiple gadgets.

So how do the iPad and the gadgets it’s replacing compare?  The iPad is designed to function somewhat like a laptop: be portable and have a variety of applications.  In addition to traditional iPhone/iPod Touch applications, the device is able to handle Apple’s iWork suite, which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. However, the similarities between the iPad and a laptop stop there.  The greatest difference between the two is the lack of a physical keyboard.  The touch-screen keyboard provides poor compensation, as the angle needed to type is awkward.  Wireless browsing is incomplete without Flash capabilities.  Most online videos use Flash, so users will have to stick to the Youtube application.  E-readers simply do not compare with the multiple functions of the iPad.  However, multiple functions do not mean multitasking (it is not possible to use several applications at once).  Moreover, the iPod family will be safe: nobody can put an iPad in their pocket and listen to music on the go.

It’s hard to think of Apple products without thinking of missed opportunities.  With many potential buyers from the Verizon network, Apple has yet to announce an end to the iPhone/AT&T deal.  There is no USB port or user-replaceable battery.  In addition, the basic model lacks 3G capability, while Adobe’s Flash Player is completely absent from each model. Lastly, the device lacks a camera, which may have been used for video chats.

As far as sales are concerned, Steve Jobs feels confident with the 75 million iPhone and iPod touch buyers.  “[These] 75 million people…already know how to use it,” he said.  However, most consumers are content with their current products. Mr. Halkyard commented, “It doesn’t have enough new features.  My phone is more portable and my computer handles software better.  It’s just another device.”

People seeking iPads as replacements for their laptops should wait until more features are added. However, if potential buyers are looking for a sleek device that expands and improves upon the user-friendly experience of the iPod Touch while adding the ability to read books and do a little work on the go, the iPad may be the perfect choice.

At a Glance:

Wi-Fi: Yes

App Store Games: Yes

Camera: No

Battery: Up to 10 hours

Price: $499

Release: The Wi-Fi-only model is now in stores, while customers must wait until the end of April.