Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Surprises and Letdowns: Review on Apple iPad debut

Apple Tablet iPad has been debuted recently, putting an end to the fuzz of rumors. This 9.7" 1.5lb tablet comes with familiar traits of the iPhone but looks over-sized. It supports multi-touch on its large screen. Many of iPhone's apps can run on iPad without conversion. The battery can last 10 hours in general use and a month in standby mode. Apple iPad provides connections via WiFi and 3G tele-network, though USB, video output and Bluetooth ports are missing. However, the surprises are not large screen, long battery life or wide support for iPhone apps, but the new hardware configuration that sustains everything to run smoothly on iPad.

Apple iPad uses a new chip named "A4" run at 1GHz clock frequencies, which the one on iPhone 3GS run at 600 MHz. Therefore it is fairly likely the gaming experience on iPad will be better than iPhone 3GS, meanwhile more elegant apps will be developed to make the most of iPad's performance. It is the beginning for more intriguing apps as well as the potential features for multitasking and flash playback. Although these two features are said to be disabled to keep iPad from stumbling, they are inevitably the most criticized letdowns among Apple's community.

Flash and multitasking are rarely missing on notebooks and even netbooks. They have been indispensible to our web surfing and computing life. Since iPhone insists not to embrace these features and iPad is running on iPhone OS, I doubt iPad will make any difference; however, I also doubt Apple will turn its back at the massive needs in the long term. Something will change in the next version of the OS for iPad, or it will risk the damage of its image striving to meet the needs of everyone. In comparison, I think people are overreacting towards the missing of camera and keyboard. For me, it looks kind of weird to integrate these parts to a tablet, destroying the sleek profile of this elegant device. Another so-called letdown blaming the 4:3 screen format uncomfortable for watching movies. It is true when one really takes iPad as a video device solely, but it is wrong when iPad is designed to use in both landscape and portrait ways. To me, the big letdown is the price for now. If those missing features were fully blown, I would say the price of iPad now is acceptable.

All in all, Apple's new tablet iPad is a piece of fine art but yet to be further improved to meet public expectations. It is good that Apple keeps flourishing its product lines with some conceptive products; however, I wish Apple won't be too self-obsessed to neglect what the consumer needs.

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