The rumors met reality on January 27th as Apple unveiled its iPad tablet. As opposed to the iPhone launch, however, this one was not met with 100% support from the Apple/Mac fan community. In fact, some folks were downright displeased, predicting failure with a capital “F.” Of course, only time will tell, but right now we know all the specs and can at least tell you the pluses and minuses of the device.
Ups and downs
The first thing you need to know is that the iPad is not a small MacBook in tablet form. It’s a big iPhone, except that the only kind of calling you can do is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) with WiFi and a tool like Skype. Lacking a webcam, of course, means voice only, no cool video chats. The unit will run all the iPhone Apps, although it will have its own Apple store.
It’s not a Kindle-killer, either. Amazon’s one-trick pony is perfect for the one trick it does – let you read, even in direct sunlight, with its e-ink technology. When Amazon did its research, it discovered that having color, WiFi, a browser and lots of other doohickeys interrupted people’s concentration on reading. Plus, the iPad has perhaps 8-10 hours of battery time, whereas the Kindle and the Sony e-book readers go 150-200 hours on a charge.
The specifications are at least as interesting for what is missing as what is there. Powered by a special, Apple-designed, 1GHz A4 chip built by PA Semiconductor, the iPad comes with 16, 32 or 64GB of solid state flash storage, but there is no separate graphics chip, so no multitasking – you can do one thing at a time. The color screen is 9.7 inches, but it won’t display most of the video on the Web (except YouTube) because there is no Flash support. With all the Flash on the Internet, this is a total head-scratcher. Neither is there a USB port, just the single Dock Connector, which accommodate special (and, ahem, separately priced) adapters for a USB connection or an SD card reader.
What it does have is: WiFi in the latest 802.11b/g/n variety; Bluetooth, so you can use a wireless keyboard, at least if you’re at a table, instead of the on-screen iPhone-y keyboard; and a 3G version coming out a month after the base model. There’s also a microphone, speaker, headphone jack, digital compass, a few sensors (light, accelerometer, proximity) and A-GPS, “Assisted GPS.”
Just a tad smaller than a regular magazine and weighing 1.5 pounds, the iPad is hardly a shirtpocket take-along. It needs a case so you won’t scratch it, and a data plan with AT&T so you can use the WiFi or 3G. What remains to be seen is, Who will buy this thing? Apple fans with iPhones already shell out to AT&T, so it’s hard to believe they’ll double their monthly bill for a larger iPhone with little added functionality. MacBook Pro rentals at CRE won’t be threatened, since the iPad doesn’t run any Mac software. People who are PC-centric and don’t like Apple in the first place are hardly going to rush out to buy this device, either.
The iPad appears to a number of observers to be the first pure entertainment play from Apple since the iPod. It is not a productivity enhancer, not easy to use as a phone or book reader, has a closed platform that may hinder third-party development and costs from $500 to over $800 in a somewhat bizarre pricing structure. It just may be that Apple has made an expensive toy for jetsetters and tech collectors, but if you see the “Steve Jobs magic” at work again, post a comment and let us know!
In the meantime, for true Apple productivity, CRE has the Mac Pro rentals and laptops, along with convention technology and everything else you need from Apple, H-P and other companies. From office equipment to Audience Response System rentals, our Account Executives have the expertise and the equipment to help you get the job done. Call, send an e-mail or fill out the Quick Rental Quote form and we’ll get right on it for you.
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