Monday, 12 April 2010

Review | Apple iPad

So the iPad is here and a lot of opinions have been expressed, some good and some bad. But nothing anyone ever says about anything really matters when measured up to your own hands on experience, whether what has been said is right or wrong.

Just a jumped up Ipod touch with no flash support? Are a couple of the negative remarks steered in it's direction. So I would like to give my thoughts on this much revered and or much denounced device.

Having had one in my chubby paws for the last few days ( and pretty much nothing else) I have been able to build a picture in my mind as to what this device is trying to achieve and ultimately where it is heading. The Ipad should be a bit all things to everyone. If it manages to deliver all your portable device needs then that's a bonus, but you shouldn't approach it believing that's what it's out to achieve. So let's get on with my review.

From a media player point of view I believe it really delivers. Don't get me wrong. From a portability aspect it's never going to replace your Iphone or Ipod, but what it does do, it does extremely well. The screen is rich and vivid and so long as you have the desired video media correctly formatted it will display it with incredible clarity. The interface is of course as you would expect from Apple. Clean and highly intuitive. And if, as the end user, your willing to put a lot of effort into maintaining your media library via iTunes, the Ipad has no guilt in incorporating all your album covers and information into the interface in a way that compliments that effort.

The safari web browser is of course not feature rich in OS3 but again it's the simplicity that is part the experience. A theme that I will often come back to in my thoughts is where the Ipad stands up against other devices that attempt the same thing. In the matter of web browsing, again the Ipad delivers. With a good Internet connection the Ipad is a dream device to surf. The pinch and expand interface is quite simply effortless and when measured up to most net books and other tablet device, they are quite simply clunky in comparison. So no flash support! Well to defend this feature shortfall I need to address it from two angles. Firstly there is of course the argument that flash is just a CPU hogging plugin that stifles your browsing experience rather than enhances it. And from Apples point of view this is certainly correct. They deride the software so much they design their portable devices to ignore it completely in favor of better performance and sustained battery life. But less face facts here. What are the mainstream flash using sites out there? Of course Youtube. But this is addressed via a separate app. And oh yes, the myriad of free access porn sites, which let's face it, is better at home on your PC rather than on your portable device where it's more likely to offend ( or amuse ) your fellow commuters. In respect of the others then refer to my next point.

The second angle that absolutely shouldn't be ignored here is where Apple now stands in the portable device market. A point we as 2nd hand retailers ignore at our peril also. So if your standing at your tills deriding Ipad or any other portable Apple device because of it lack of Flash support then allow me to throw a bit of market data your way. Over 2/3 of all portable browsing devices are Apple devices. This means that advertisers, web designers, content suppliers etc, are rapidly dropping flash or making sure they provide Html 5 alternatives. Not to do so now would be commercial madness.

Apps! Well quite simply Apple is the king of this hill. It's still early days for the iPad but if the iPod touch/iPhone is anything to go by then we know we will be drowning in Apps in no time. And with the Ipads rich display, a good game is even further unleashed. Ok it's no PC, and for the hard core gamer it's not a measure. But again let's face facts here. Most of us are casual gamers. The iPad delivers here also.

Ok. So you can tell from what I've written I'm pretty sold. Of course it still falls short in many areas. No camera, lack of multitasking etc. OS 4 will no doubt address the latter along with many other things. But Apple is a business above all and no doubt a camera will come on later models. So it's a question of being patient from the end user point of view. I' think I'm quoting Steve Jobs here when he says. For many features we are often the last to join the party. But when we arrive we bring the best liquor.

I want to conclude by pitching the iPad up as a useful business device. I for one can easily visualize how the iPad can benefit and enhance the way I do my job. General reports, document and spreadsheet creation are highly adaptable to the iPad. Using an electronic device not too dissimilar from a clipboard holds a key attraction for me. In addition the email client is, despite lacking some configurable features, the best I've ever used on any portable device.

So those are my initial thoughts and I could no doubt go on all day about it. I hope you all start getting your hands on them very soon. I love gadgets. The iPad has certainly been a highlight.

Roy Kindred
CeX Towers

Sent from my iPad
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